Common Practice Areas for Personal Injury Lawyers

Friday, July 6, 2018

Common Practice Areas for Personal Injury Lawyers

Written by Malman Law, reviewed by Steve J. Malman.

Personal injury law is a broad category that involves various areas of torts. When you are injured by someone’s negligent, intentional, or unprofessional acts, you have the right to hold them accountable through a personal injury lawsuit for their actions and the injuries they cause.

These injuries can come in many forms and from numerous incidents such as a car accident, slip and fall accident, motorcycle collision, or even medical malpractice. When you suffer an injury, you need to hire an attorney who can represent you against the defendant (the party that injured you) or the insurance company.

Some attorneys practice in numerous areas of personal injury law, while others focus on a specific section of these types of cases. Therefore, when you are looking for an attorney, you need to consider the types of accident and neglect cases they take on and if they fit your injury claim.

What Common Case Types Do Chicago Personal Injury Lawyers Take?

Personal injury law can break off into smaller categories, and these categories also hold various accident types and claims.

Vehicle Accidents

Vehicle accidents can involve two passenger vehicles, a vehicle versus a semi-truck, or even a vehicle versus a pedestrian or cyclist. These accidents are the most common type of claim that an injury attorney will handle, and they may be simple or complex, depending on the situation.

In a trucking accident case, for example, you may have multiple parties involved in the claim. These parties can include the truck driver, their employer, the company that owned the truck, and even the company engaged in the truck’s maintenance. In a two-vehicle crash, you may only have the two parties involved.

Vehicle accidents can also include the more complicated issues that lead to a vehicle accident, such as:

  • Drunken driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Reckless driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorists

How Does an Attorney Help in a Car Accident?

Car accidents might seem straightforward – until you get to negotiating with insurance companies. The primary goal for the insurance company is to reduce how much they pay. After all, they run a business. And like any business, they want to protect their bottom line.

Insurance companies are notorious for offering lower settlements than what the victim deserves. When you work with an attorney, they ensure you receive a fair settlement for items like:

  • Medical expenses (including any future medical costs you might have from your injuries)
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of earning capacity – when you are disabled and cannot work
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice involves medical professionals (e.g., physicians, chiropractors, dentists, psychologists, nurses, medical assistants, and other healthcare workers). When a professional causes injury, the legal system allows you to hold them, and sometimes their employer, liable for those injuries.

Medical malpractice can occur in numerous ways:

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis – The art of diagnostics is not easy. However, physicians are held to a higher standard. If they fail to diagnose you correctly or delay the proper diagnosis because of their negligence, you may have a malpractice case against them. For example, a physician determines a diagnosis without running the appropriate tests. Had they run the indicated tests, they would have come to a different diagnosis. You suffer injuries because of this misdiagnosis and therefore may hold the physician liable.
  • Surgical Errors – Surgical errors are surprisingly common and include everything from leaving objects inside the patient to causing injuries during surgery to operating on the wrong side.
  • Medication Errors – Medication errors include things like prescribing the wrong medication, dispensing the wrong dosage, administering the wrong medication, failing to inform a patient, or prescribing a combination of drugs that cause a dangerous interaction.
  • Improper Treatment – Sometimes, the right diagnosis is made but the wrong treatment administered. A doctor might use a treatment not indicated or use an ineffective treatment that forces the patient’s condition to worsen.

If the patient can prove that there was a relationship between the action and the injury, that the healthcare worker had a duty of care, and that the duty of care was breached – the patient might have a malpractice case.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ compensation laws protect workers in the United States. Each state employs laws that require employers to carry proper insurance and dictates how an employee may seek benefits when they are injured during regular employment.

Workers’ compensation is not the same as filing a civil lawsuit. Instead, attorneys are hired to ensure the employee’s benefits are received and that the insurance company does not unjustly deny a claim.

Not all injury attorneys practice in workers’ compensation, because it is a complex area of the law and sometimes may include a private third-party lawsuit, depending on the circumstances of the injury.

Typically, an attorney will help any worker, including:

  • Construction workers
  • Factory workers
  • Union members
  • Railroad workers
  • Truck drivers

Product Liability

Product liability is a unique area of the law. In this case, you are not holding a private party responsible for your injuries or illness. Instead, you are holding a company responsible. Companies have a duty to the public to ensure that their product (regardless of what the product might be) is safe before releasing it. That includes performing tests, conducting in-house quality control, and removing unsafe products once they are identified.

These claims often involve consumer products like:

  • Motor Vehicles
  • Toys
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Food and Drink Products
  • Prescription Medications
  • Power Tools

Product liability claims come in three general forms:

  1. Design Defect – Design defects mean the product was defective from the concept. Even with proper manufacturing, an inherent flaw exists that causes injury or death.
  2. Manufacturing Defect – Manufacturing defects mean the product has a safe design, but something went wrong during the manufacturing process. This might mean a defective component or faulty wiring. Not all items are flawed, but typically a batch will have these defects and cause injuries.
  3. Marketing Defect – Marketing defects involve how the product is marked or how warning labels were provided to consumers. Inadequate warning labels that result in injury or a product marketed for a use it was not originally approved for all fall under this category.

Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect

Nursing homes have a duty to care for their residents. That includes ensuring they have a safe environment, remain hydrated and nourished, avoid accidents, and the administration of medications or medical care when necessary.

Nursing homes today are overbooked and understaffed. Some fall well below the state standards for safety, which results in serious injuries or deaths.

Common issues that require an attorney’s assistance include:

  • Physical, emotional, or mental abuse by nursing homes and their staff
  • Sepsis
  • Fractures
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Bed sores
  • Wrongful deaths
  • Clogged feeding or breathing tubes
  • Unreasonable use of restraints
  • Financial exploitation
  • Sexual harassment

Premises Liability

Premises liability is a concept in personal injury law where the victim was injured by a defect or unsafe condition present on an owner’s property. In these cases, the property owner, management company, or even a tenant might be liable for the injuries caused.

Premises liability cases typically involve:

  • Slip and falls
  • Snow or slippery walkway conditions
  • Inadequate maintenance
  • Negligence security
  • Dog attacks
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Elevator or escalator injuries
  • Fires
  • Water leaks or floods
  • Mold
  • Chemical exposure or toxic fumes

Premises liability accidents happen anywhere, including on commercial and private properties. For example, you might slip and fall on an icy sidewalk in a neighborhood or slip on a wet surface in a grocery store.

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when someone’s negligence leads to the premature death of a loved one. All the practice areas mentioned above can funnel into wrongful death, because these acts can take a life.

Attorneys that offer services in wrongful death cases hold parties responsible for causing the premature death. They also ensure loved ones receive compensation for their losses. These accidents and incidents that might lead to a wrongful death case include:

  • Car accidents
  • Workplace injuries
  • Construction accidents
  • Defective medication or products
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Surgical errors
  • Medical malpractice

Typically, a wrongful death case will require that the victim suffered injuries that would have resulted in an injury claim had they survived. Each state has unique laws regarding wrongful death cases, who can file the claims, and how compensation is distributed to loved ones. Therefore, it is best to involve an attorney so that you do not have to try and decode these complex laws yourself.

Injured? Consult with an Attorney to Explore Your Options

If you or a loved one suffered from injuries and you believe that you have a valid claim, speak with a personal injury attorney. The team at Malman Law can meet with you for free to discuss your case. Also, there is no risk in hiring our attorneys because we only collect if we succeed and you receive compensation.

Schedule your free consultation today at 888-625-6265 or request more information online.

Steve Malman

Malman Law’s founder Attorney Steven Malman has over 30 years of experience handling personal injury, nursing home, medical malpractice, truck accidents, car accidents, premises liability, construction, and workers’ compensation cases in Chicago, IL.

Years of experience: +30 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active and authorized to practice law—Last Registered Year: 2024

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