What is a Personal Injury? 

Personal Injury Lawyer

On your regular morning drive to work you realize you have to park a little way away from your job’s front entrance. Cautiously you get out of your vehicle and lock the doors. Your work building is only about a block away, it’s easily visible from where you’re standing. The only thing keeping you from entering the building is a two-way street in front of the office. Steadily looking from left to right you see there are no cars and decide to cross the street. Despite your precautions a car ends up crashing into you. This is an example of personal injury. 

To start with, what exactly is personal injury? Personal injury is a legal term used to describe any injury inflicted to a person’s body, mind, or emotions. In the example above the vehicle injuring the pedestrian is an example of bodily injury. Depending on the circumstances it could also apply to injury of the mind and to emotional injury as well. However, it’s important to keep in mind personnel injury cannot be applied to the damage of one’s property. It only applies when dealing with damage to a said person. So, if a person’s possession(s) were harmed or altered in a negative way, such as possible damage done to the vehicle for example, would not be accounted for by personal injury law but could be an example of property damage in legal terms.  

When considering the legality of personnel injury many factors come into play. One of them being statute of limitations. Meaning in the state of Texas any civil action for personal injury must be filed within two years of the incident, if not charges cannot be pressed against the defendant. Texas law also states that again a claim for personal injury may not be filled unless a person’s body, mind, or emotions were injured in the incident. This does not include property damage. Interestingly enough there are absolutely no exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for personal injury, whether it be because of negligence or intentional tort. To gain a better understanding of this concept intentional tort can be defined as any wrong that has resulted from a deliberate act by one person onto another. There are many cases dealing with personal injury law which also deal with intentional tort.

One of the most famous examples of personal injury law is Liebeck V. McDonald’s, otherwise known as “The Hot Coffee Case”. This case stands out because it set a precedent for personal injury law. Unlike many other personal injury cases this was one of the first to get widespread media coverage. The incident which started it all occurred sometime in 1992 when 79-year-old Stella Liebeck was severely burned by a McDonald’s coffee that had spilled onto her lap. The water used to make the coffee was well over 180 degrees Fahrenheit, this caused Mrs. Liebeck to have third degree burns on her thighs and genital area. The medical bills were extremely expensive as it took two years for her to be fully healed from the burns, although they left scarring. On August 18th of 1994, Mrs. Liebeck and her attorneys sued McDonald’s for the damage their coffee had done to her. In the end McDonald’s was forced to pay Mrs. Liebeck around 480,000$ after the case was over.       

From what personal injury is, to the statues, and finally a case dealing with personal injury, this type of law has a wide variety of factors which are dragged into it. After doing my own research I’ve learned not only about the Liebeck V. McDonald’s case but others which have been similar to it. Despite what most people think about whenever it comes to court proceedings which typically includes criminal cases, personal injury is a part of civil law. This differs personal injury from other kinds of law such as criminal law. 

If you have questions about a personal injury case, contact a personal injury lawyer, like the office of the Brandy Austin Law Firm, for more information.