According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accidental injury is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., resulting in around 39.5 visits to primary physicians and 24.5 million emergency department visits each year, as well as more than 173,000 deaths. The most common causes of accidental injuries include unintentional falls and motor vehicle accidents. These two causes alone result in nearly 80,000 deaths alone.
If you have been injured in an accident, you probably had someone tell you to hire a lawyer in order to obtain compensation for the expenses your injury caused. The type of lawyer you need to hire to help you obtain compensation after an accident is a personal injury lawyer.
What Is Personal Injury Law?
Personal injury law is an area of law in which individuals who have been injured or have lost a loved one due to an accident that was caused by the reckless or careless actions of another person can seek compensation from the responsible party. Personal injury lawsuits can either be settled through a compensatory agreement between the claimant and the at-fault party’s insurance provider or through a legal trial in which the court determines if the claimant has proven the defendant’s liability and awards damages accordingly. The term damage in the personal injury arena means a payment made in compensation for harm done.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
As reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 36,000 people are killed in traffic-related accidents in the U.S. each year, and more than two million are injured. The individuals most often injured in motor vehicle accidents are the occupants of passenger vehicles. Some of the most common driving behaviors that result in fatal and injury accidents include speeding, alcohol impairment, and distracted driving.
The majority of car accidents in the U.S. are the result of human error. This error can be in the form of failing to stop at a stop sign, failing to properly maintain the vehicle so that it would be safe to operate on the roadway, or following too closely and failing to realize that the vehicle in front of you has slowed or stopped. The error can also be the result of alcohol impairment, fatigued driving, distracted driving, or even road rage.
Other, less-common causes of car accidents include defective auto parts and road defects.
Commercial motor vehicles, particularly semi-trucks, are a major cause of fatal and injury accidents on U.S. roadways. According to the federal agency that oversees the trucking industry, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more than 5,000 people are killed and around 120,000 are injured each year as a result of truck-involved motor vehicle accidents. Semi-trucks are massive vehicles, often weighing 20-30 times more than the average vehicle on the roadway.
This size causes a number of issues that increase the risk of accidents, including:
- Significant blind spots
- An increased distance needed to safely stop the vehicle
- Wide turns
- A high center of gravity, which makes the vehicle prone to rolling over
- A high ground clearance that can trap smaller vehicles between the bottom of the truck and the roadway.
Motorcyclists are more than 27 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than the occupants of passenger vehicles. The risk of injury and death is greater due to motorcycles lacking the protective features of four-wheeled vehicles, including a protective frame, seat belts, airbags, and the stability that having four wheels rather than two can provide.
On average, a pedestrian is killed in the U.S. every 88 minutes, according to the NHTSA. A quarter of all pedestrian accidents occur in the evening hours when individuals walking along the roadside are less visible to motorists. Nearly half of all pedestrian accidents involve alcohol impairment either on behalf of the pedestrian or the motorist who struck him or her.
Slip and Fall Injuries
Slip and fall injuries are the most common type of premises liability claim. Premises liability is a subsection of personal injury law that deals with the responsibility that property owners have to ensure that their property is free from hazards that can cause injury to guests.
Dog bites are another form of a premises liability claim. While Nevada does not specifically have state laws addressing liability for dog bites, the law does allow individuals to file personal injury claims against owners whose dogs:
- Have a history of aggression
- Have been classified as a dangerous or vicious dog
- Belong to owners who are in violation of multiple municipal dog laws
Catastrophic injuries are those that permanently impair an individual’s ability to work or live independently. Types of catastrophic injuries are as follows:
Traumatic Brain Injuries
The brain is responsible for controlling all of the bodily functions and involuntary responses but has only a limited ability to heal itself after injury. Traumatic brain injuries result from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body and can result in permanent deficits such as memory loss, the inability to communicate, or the inability to control one’s emotions.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves extending from the base of the skull to the waist that acts as a messenger between the brain and the rest of the body. Like the brain, the spinal cord has limited ability to heal after injury. Generally, spinal cord injuries result in loss of sensation and function below the injury site, or paralysis.
Other Serious Injuries
Other injuries can be considered catastrophic if they result in permanent disability, including broken bones, amputated limbs, and severe burns.
After an accident, individuals can pursue compensation from the at-fault party for both the economic impact of the injury as well as how the injury has impacted the individual’s quality of life. Because catastrophic injuries result in the inability to work or live independently, the impacts are often enormous. Some of the expenses and impacts you can be compensated for include:
- Medical expenses
- Wage loss
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
Let Our Team Serve You
Pacific West Injury Law is devoted to the cause of helping individuals who have been injured by the reckless or careless actions of others obtain the compensation they deserve for the expenses and impacts their injury has caused. If you’ve been injured in an accident in any of the above-listed practice areas, our experienced personal injury lawyers are ready to explore your legal options with you. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (702) 602-4878.