When people think of injury law, they often picture things like car accidents and slip-and-fall incidents. The civil tort of personal injury, though, covers a lot more ground than just one person being directly harmed by another person's actions or failures. Let's take a look at two other ways a person might be held liable for harming someone.
When you go to a medical practitioner for advice or help, you expect them to be a competent professional who will make their best effort to provide excellent care. There are a variety of reasons why that may not end up being the case.
Notably, most medical issues, even very adverse ones, don't meet the standard for medical malpractice. At the core of the law's expectations for doctors, nurses, and other practitioners is the idea that their actions line up with what someone else in the field would consider reasonable. Even if a doctor used a somewhat-outdated surgical technique, for example, a medical malpractice attorney wouldn't be quick to jump on that if it was clear that other doctors found it more old-timey than irresponsible.
Medical professionals, however, do have to meet high standards for their conduct. They need to maintain their skills after they get out of school, and they need to ensure they're in a condition to provide care. As horrifying as it is to contemplate, a doctor or nurse may even do something malicious that would justify a lawsuit.
Losing someone close to you is, in the eyes of the law, a form of harm that you suffer, too. It's worth noting that the relationship between a claimant and the deceased has to be very close. Spouses have the right to seek compensation, as do parents of dependent children. Likewise, dependent children can seek compensation for the loss of a parent. Folks with other types of relationships, such as siblings or business partners, will struggle to convince the court.
Damages may be awarded in wrongful death cases for a variety of reasons, including loss of companionship, parental guidance, and earning capacity. A wrongful death attorney might also pursue money to cover what the deceased dealt with before passing, including medical bills and pain and suffering.
Just like with injury cases, wrongful death claims may be brought for reasons of negligence or maliciousness. This covers everything from the failure of a business to provide a safe space to intentional acts like murders.