Personal Injury

What constitutes as a Personal Injury?

If you have suffered an injury due to the negligent actions of another, you may be eligible for personal injury compensation. However, with the many different areas of personal injury law, it can make it difficult when trying to define personal injury. Read on to find out more about personal injury law and what is considered in a personal injury case.

What is a Personal Injury?

Personal injuries refers to a physical or psychological injury, usually sustained as the result of the wrongdoing or negligent actions of another. As personal injury law is very broad, there are many different types of injuries which constitutes a personal injury.

Types of Personal Injuries

Injuries caused by motor vehicle accidents

Injuries caused by accidents among cars, motorbikes, boats, trains or other motor vehicles may constitute as a personal injury. This can include injuries such as:

    • Head injuries
    • Spinal injuries
    • Burn injuries
    • Loss of limbs
    • Whiplash
    • Severe stress or anxiety
    • Death

Injuries caused by working

A work-related personal injury occurs when a worker has suffered injury, illness or a reduced working capacity as a result of the course of their employment, such as during work activities or in their working environment. This can include injuries such as:

    • Physical injuries such as bodily injuries, strokes or heart attacks
    • Psychological injuries such as severe stress and psychological conditions
    • Diseases caused by your work, such as cancer
    • Pre-existing conditions made worse by your work, such as asthma

Injuries caused by medical negligence (or medical malpractice)

A personal injury arising from medical negligence occurs when a healthcare professional causes injury to a patient under their care through an act or omission. This act or omission, such as treatment or a failure to provide treatment, falls below the acceptable standard of practice in the Australian medical community. This can include injuries such as:

    • Injuries caused by a healthcare professional’s medical treatment or surgery of which they did not exercise reasonable care or skill
    • Injuries resulting from a healthcare professional giving the patient their incorrect prescription or medication
    • Injuries resulting from a healthcare professional failing to consider all of a patient’s symptoms or medical history and, as a result, failing to provide a correct diagnosis
    • Injuries resulting from a healthcare professional correctly diagnosing the patient’s condition, but not in a timely manner
    • Injuries resulting from the healthcare professional failing to warn the the patient of all the risks of treatment and, had the patient known of the risks, would not have gone ahead with the treatment and therefore suffered an injury
    • Injuries arising from a faulty medical product or device

The injured party may have been a driver, passenger, pedestrian or witness.

Injuries sustained in public places

Injuries sustained in a public place, due to the fault of another party, may constitute a personal injury. This may include injuries such as:

    • Slips, trips or falls in a public place (such as on footpaths, supermarkets, swimming pools etc)
    • Residential injuries
    • Sporting or recreational injuries
    • Schoolyard and playground injuries
    • Animal injuries (such as dog bites or attacks)
    • Amusement park injuries
    • Aviation or boating injuries
    • Injuries due to defective products
    • Food poisoning
    • Physical assault
    • Sexual assault

Injuries caused by Asbestos

Injuries sustained as a result of exposure to Asbestos may be considered as a personal injury. This can include diseases such as:

    • Asbestosis
    • Mesothelioma
    • Pleural plaques (also known as pleural fibrosis)
    • Lung cancer

Compensation for your Personal Injury

Where you have suffered a personal injury, you may be eligible for compensation. The aim of compensation is to return the injured party to the position they were in prior to sustaining the injury. How much compensation you receive will depend on your individual situation and circumstances, and are calculated based on the amount of harm or loss suffered.

You may receive compensation for:

  • Past and future medical treatment and surgery expenses
    This may include hospital fees, doctors fees, cost of medication etc
  • Cost of care and assistance provided by a professional, or by friends and family
    Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to seek assistance from other people to help with household duties
  • Home modification expenses
    Applicable in cases where your injury may require you to make modifications to your home in order to accommodate your injuries, such as installing a ramp
  • Loss of past and future earnings
    This may include time off work, loss of overtime or additional hours, or even a loss of a potential promotion
  • Pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of life expectation
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