What’s the Difference Between an Accident Lawyer and a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal Injury Law
The short answer is that these terms are used synonymously in our legal world. Personal injury law is the area of law that deals with all types of physical and mental injuries to a person. This is compared to cases where a business interest is harmed or another property interest is harmed.
For example, if you are safe and sound inside your house and someone runs into your car which is parked in your driveway and you do not even know until the following morning, that is NOT a personal injury case since you had no impact or involvement with the wrongful conduct.
Property Damage Claim vs Personal Injury Claim
However, if you had been standing next to your car or inside of it when the impact happened and you had any impact from the collision, however slight, that transforms the case from a pure property damage claim into a personal injury case.
Personal injury includes many different types of cases but all have one common trait, injury to a person. In particular, the category of personal injury cases would include medical malpractice, maritime collisions, plane crashes, automobile collisions, injury from a defective product, injuries while working, disability claims, dog bites, fall cases, civil rights cases involving injury, and many others. As you can see, the common thread with all personal injury cases is a legal wrong by one person or entity which causes an injury to another person.
Accident lawyers, in contrast, are a specific type of personal injury lawyer. So falling under the umbrella of personal injury law, is the more particular area of accident law. Accidental injury includes any injury occasioned by the accident or negligence of the at-fault party.
When you hear the terms accident lawyer or personal injury lawyer, you are hearing terms that are generally used to refer to the same type of lawyer, one handling cases involving injuries to people from another negligence.
What is Negligence?
Negligence is simply the failure to use reasonable care, whether driving or manufacturing a product. The law imposes a duty to act reasonably when your actions can affect the safety of others. When a person or entity fails to use reasonable care and that failure causes them to be involved in an accident that results in injury to a third person, then accident law is the appropriate classification of that type of case.
Injuries from Intentional Acts
Not every injury case is the result of an “accident”. Sometimes, injuries are caused by intentional acts or by the violation of a statute that occasioned by conduct that was not just unreasonable but was reckless or wanton (more than rolling through a stop sign, driving 80 mph in a 25 zone, and blowing through a stop sign). This can hardly be described as an accident and therefore referring to it as an accidental injury would not be appropriate. Still, it should be understood that many use the terms accident lawyer and personal injury lawyer because most personal injuries are the result of accidents.
A huge percentage of car wreck cases are the result of negligence or accidents compared to those that are the result of intentional acts or reckless driving.
If you have questions about a personal injury or accidental injury case, please feel free to contact us on the web at zarzaurlaw.com or call us at 855HIREJOE.
Joe Zarzaur is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney whose firm is dedicated to promoting community safety since 2007. ZARZAUR LAW’S AREAS OF PRACTICE: Serious Personal Injury, Product Defect, Auto Accidents, Cycling Accidents, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Products Liability, Wrongful Death, Community Safety, Boat and Jet Ski Accidents, Slip and Fall Injuries, and more. Licensed in Alabama and Florida.
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