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Definition - What does Action mean?

Personal injury actions are formal complaints or injury cases filed in court. A personal injury action may be filed if a claimant is injured due to the negligence of another person or entity and is seeking to recover compensation in the form of monetary payments for their loss. The goal of the personal injury action is to restore the plaintiff to their original position, as opposed to a criminal charge or case that is used to punish the defendant.

How much will I win for my personal injury action?

Compensation for personal injury actions will vary according to the type of case, the amount of injury or loss, the state’s laws, whether the plaintiff is responsible in part or wholly for their own injuries, and whether the statute of limitations to file the action has expired.

What type of damages can I win for my personal injury action?

Compensatory damages may be paid for special damages and general damages. Prior to payment the court or insurance company will calculate the total value of the claim and determine both monetary (special damages) and non-monetary (general) losses.

Common monetary losses can include medical expenses such as doctor’s visits, hospital stays, rehabilitation, and medication. Future medical costs can also be included. Compensation can also include current and future lost wages. If the claimant is disabled and unable to return to work this will also be considered in the calculation. Common non-monetary losses include pain and suffering (i.e. loss of enjoyment of life, anger, depression, and fear).

Personal injury actions and punitive damages

Most personal injury actions do not allow the claimant to receive punitive damages, but there are exceptions. For instance, if a claimant has been injured due to the gross negligence of another person and the court decides the defendant needs to be punished for their egregious behavior, they may decide to award punitive damages to the plaintiff. If punitive damages are awarded most states limit the payment to less than ten times the amount of compensatory damages.

Should I file a personal injury action?

Not all injuries or losses are the fault of another person’s negligent actions. In fact, people are injured all the time and no one is to blame. In order to file a personal injury claim a person must be able to prove certain elements of their injury case. Specifically, they must be able to prove the following:

  • The defendant owed them a duty of care.
  • The defendant’s actions were a breach of that duty.
  • The breach was the proximate cause of their injury.
  • The defendant did, in fact, suffer injury.

If any element cannot be proven through a preponderance of evidence or the plaintiff waits too long to file their injury action, the plaintiff will not win their injury claim.

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