Slate’s Law Blog

What Counts as a Personal Injury?

Personal Injury Lawsuit

If you recently got hurt because of another party’s negligence or intentional act, or if you got hurt after using a defective product, you might be thinking about filing a personal injury lawsuit in order to seek financial compensation for your losses. Yet you might be unsure about what counts as a personal injury when it comes to your eligibility to file a claim. For example, does any type of injury count, or does the injury have to be severe? Can you file a claim regardless of where the injury occurred, or are there other laws in place that can limit injury claims for injuries that happen in certain places? Our experienced Santa Fe personal injury attorneys can provide you with more information.

Severity of the Injury Can Affect Your Case

Generally speaking, any injury that you sustain in which another party may be legally responsible will count as a personal injury under the law, assuming that you are able to file a lawsuit based on where and how the injury occurred. However, you should know that the severity of your injury can affect your claim and, ultimately, your potential payout. If you were involved in a car accident and suffered relatively few injuries except minor scratches that are likely to heal without medical attention, it may not be in your best interest to move forward with a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver since the amount of time, effort, and money that will need to go into the lawsuit may not be recouped even if you win the case.

To be clear, when you file a personal injury lawsuit, you will be seeking compensatory damages. This type of damages award can compensate you for economic (i.e., direct) losses such as medical bills and lost wages, as well as for non-economic losses, such as pain and suffering associated with the injury. You should always weigh the amount you might be likely to receive if you win your case with the various costs of filing the lawsuit.

Where and How the Accident Happened Can Affect Your Ability to File a Lawsuit

Where and how your injury occurred does not have any specific bearing on whether the harm you sustained “counts” as a personal injury, but those factors do affect whether you can file a lawsuit based on the injury you suffered.

First, if you got hurt while you were working, even though you may have sustained a serious injury, you may not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit under New Mexico workers’ compensation law. The New Mexico workers’ compensation system provides an exclusive remedy for workplace personal injuries that occur as a result of employer or employee negligence. If a third party caused your workplace injury, however, you may indeed be able to file a injury lawsuit in order to seek additional compensation.

Next, if your injury occurred in a place where you may have assumed the risk of that injury—either impliedly or expressly—even though you suffered a personal injury, you may not be eligible to file a lawsuit. A lawyer can assess your case to provide you with more information.

Contact Our Santa Fe Personal Injury Lawyers

If you have questions about a personal injury case, an experienced Santa Fe personal injury attorney at our firm can assist you. Contact Slate Stern Law for more information.