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People make mistakes. That’s an inescapable fact, but sometimes they lead to preventable personal injury accidents. For example, distracted driving resulted in over 680,000 car crashes in the US in 2020. Slip and falls are the third leading cause of preventable injuries, with many incidents due to slippery floors.
The real tragedy is most of these accidents are preventable, provided people take reasonable care of themselves and others. Unfortunately, many people act irresponsibly or recklessly, creating dangerous situations.
Ten Most Common Personal Injury Accidents
While accidents are part of life, the law has no tolerance for those that occur due to negligence, malice, or fraud. Here are the ten most common accidents where victims are generally entitled to file personal injury claims.
1. Car accidents
Around 13 vehicular collisions happen in the US every minute. Many of these accidents are due to driving under the influence (DUI), overspeeding, and fatigued driving. While you may be under a lot of stress, you need to stay calm after an accident. Take the following essential steps:
- Get to safety and check for injuries.
- Call 911 for medical attention even when feeling fine, as some injuries can take a while to show symptoms.
- Call the police.
- Gather evidence and document the incident when able (pictures, videos, witness accounts,
- Exchange information with the other motorist.
- Notify your insurance company.
- Call a car accident lawyer.
2. Motorcycle accidents
Only 3% of all registered vehicles in the U.S. are motorcycles. Yet motorcyclists account for nearly 14% of all traffic fatalities in the country. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) believes motorbikes are more dangerous than cars because they are less stable and offer less protection.
Common causes of motorcycle accidents include DUI, speeding, mechanical problems, the weather, poor road conditions, and left turns. Motorcycle accidents can result in hidden injuries, so getting medical attention is wise, even if you feel fine.
3. Workplace accidents
Every industry poses unique threats to public safety. These include the risk of infection in hospitals, injuries from falling objects on construction sites, and exposure to toxic chemicals in factories.
After a workplace accident, getting medical attention and informing the employer about the incident is essential. You should also know more about workers’ rights. A victim of workplace accidents does not need to establish fault to receive workers’ compensation. However, they require evidence of the employer’s liability if they sue for personal injury.
4. Premises liability
Premises liability applies to accidents occurring on someone else’s property. It may be a private home or commercial premises.
These accidents include dog bites, slips and falls, parking lot potholes, etc. In a premises liability case, the victim can be a trespasser, an invitee, or a licensee.
An injured trespasser cannot file a claim unless the property owner deliberately tried to hurt them. An invitee can file a claim if injured within specific types of properties. For example, a customer slips and falls on a slippery floor in a restaurant. If the restaurant owner provided a warning of the hazard involved, such as a “Wet Floor” sign, they might not be liable.
A licensee, such as a house guest, can also file a claim against the homeowner for their injuries. However, they will need to prove that the property owner knew about the hazard but did not warn them about it.
5. Medical malpractice
Cornell Law School defines malpractice as “the tort committed when a professional fails to properly execute their duty to a client.” Medical malpractice is specifically malpractice in healthcare, where over a million patients fall victim to medical errors yearly. These can range from misdiagnoses to wrong prescriptions to device malfunctions.
Each state has its requirements for a valid medical malpractice claim. However, in general, a claimant has to prove that the defendant failed to provide the proper standard of care. They also need to prove that failure led to their injury and caused significant damage to their health and well-being. Some examples of this include constant pain, temporary or permanent disability, etc.
6. Product liability
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recalls about 300 products yearly. Many consumers are unaware of any issues with these products and continue using them.
As what Grey Smoke Media claims, everything is designed but only a few are designed well. Product liability cases can stem from defective product designs or defects in the manufacturing process. It can also result from the manufacturer’s failure to warn consumers about the product’s risks. A claim can fall under one of the following categories:
- Negligence. A negligence claim requires proof that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care. This may be by selling products with design or manufacturing errors or failing to warn consumers of a product’s dangers.
- Strict liability. A product found to be unreasonably dangerous and causes injury is enough to hold the responsible parties accountable. Establishing fault or intent of the liable party is not necessary to claim damages.
- Breach of warranty. A breach of warranty claim arises from a party violating their own guarantee of defect-free products.
7. Aviation accidents
Flying is the safest means of long-distance transportation today, but accidents still happen for various reasons. Among others, these can include the following causes:
- Mechanical failures or malfunctions
- Design defects
- Human errors (pilot, air traffic controller, ground or air crew)
- Mid-air collisions
- Weather disturbances
Aviation accident claims can also involve different types of aircraft. These include commercial, private, corporate, military, or helicopters. Filing claims usually involve one of the following laws:
- Federal Tort Claims Act. The Federal government is generally immune from suit. Still, when a Federal Aviation Agency (FAA) employee causes an aviation accident, this law allows the victim to file a claim.
- Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act. This law requires the person, agency, or company behind the aircraft to set up a phone line where victims’ family members can call for information. It also requires them to show a list of the victims, first to their loved ones and then to the public. Lastly, this law obliges the responsible party to transport the victims’ family members to the accident site.
- General Aviation Revitalization Act. GARA limits the applicability of civil actions against manufacturers of some aircraft. Specifically, you cannot file a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of an aircraft with less than 20 seating capacity.
8. Maritime accidents
Maritime law, sometimes known as Admiralty Law, governs accident claims at sea. The various laws under maritime law allow maritime workers and passengers to seek compensation for accidents under specific circumstances.
Maritime law generally allows passengers of cruise ships and other commercial sea vessels to get compensation for personal injuries at sea. It does not matter if the shipowner or crew members are at fault.
For maritime workers, the following four laws may apply:
- Maintenance and Cure. While not precisely a law, maintenance and cure are part of maritime common law. Maintenance refers to the seaman’s daily living costs, excluding those not considered necessary for running a household. Cure refers to medical expenses incurred during the victim’s recovery from the injury.
- The Jones Act. Employers are usually liable for work accidents regardless of fault. But under the Jones Act, the worker must prove that the employer had been negligent, thus causing the accident.
- The Longshore and Harbor Workers’ Compensation Act. This law covers most people who work in a maritime occupation. The exception is when they are eligible for state benefits and compensation, such as small vessel workers and office workers.
- Death on High Seas Act. Any maritime worker who dies while more than three miles from the shores of the US comes under this law. Claimants can only be the victim’s spouse, child, dependent relatives, or representatives.
9. Fires and explosions
The National Fire Protection Association responds to one fire every 23 seconds. In 2021, over 1.3 million fires led to 3,800 civilian deaths and 14,7000 injuries. When someone is hurt or dies in a negligent fire or explosion, they can seek damages from the at-fault party.
Negligence is usually at the core of fire and explosion claims. However, these cases get unique treatment as they require special investigative processes to establish causation. For example, suppose the accident happened outdoors. In that case, investigators must perform the probe as quickly as possible to prevent weather-related degradation of evidence.
There can be various causes of negligent fires and explosions. These include improper storage of flammables, motor vehicle accidents, overcharged batteries, and more. The injuries and health risks they cause can also vary, ranging from burns to suffocation to disfigurement and even death.
10. Beauty salon accidents
Every year, over 100 million Americans go to beauty salons, where accidents are common occurrences. These accidents can affect both customers and employees, from chemical burns to severe hair dye allergies to bacterial infections. Victims can sue for damages if they determine that negligence caused the accident.
Sometimes, a victim may also have a claim against parties outside of the beauty salon. Suppose a hairdryer malfunction ends up burning a customer’s scalp. The customer may file a lawsuit against both the salon owner and the equipment manufacturer. However, the claimant must first prove that the employee or the manufacturer failed to meet reasonable standards of care.
Know Your Rights in Personal Injury Accidents
Statistics show that personal injury accidents happen all the time in various forms. Most civil cases end in settlements, including personal injury cases.
Accident victims usually receive compensation for their economic and non-economic losses, whether through their insurance or in court. Victims may also receive punitive damages if the court finds the defendant guilty of gross negligence or actual malice.
If you are a victim of one, you should know your rights. A personal injury attorney serves as your guide in the process and helps you get compensation.