Understanding Legal Differences Between Personal Injury and Wrongful Death

Accidents happen, this is a known fact. Sometimes accidents can be both painful and tragic, but regardless, they are not a welcomed experience in any case.

Though the terms “personal injury” and “wrongful death” have basic, understandable definitions, in the legal world these terms can be a bit more confusing as they’re often tied along with other legal jargon that the common person typically doesn’t understand.

Here, we’ll unpack the legal understanding behind both personal injury and wrongful death in order to give you a clearer picture, especially if you’re seeking the process of legal counsel for wrongful death or personal injury.

Personal Injury

Nobody likes to get hurt. Injuries take us away from living our lives to the fullest, healthiest potential. You have to move slower, lift less, miss work or school in some cases, and you cannot enjoy the physical activities you’re typically used to performing.

Unfortunately, though we may often be the sole cause of our injuries, sometimes another party causes us to be injured. This is when we need to decide whether or not to seek out legal help to aid in acquiring compensation for our personal injuries.

Personal injury (in legal terms) must involve proof of negligent behavior regarding the at-fault party.

A personal injury claim is a legal document filed by the party who suffered the injury, and the sufferer may be eligible for the following compensations:

  • Punitive Damages
  • Medical Expenses
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Lost Past and Future Wages

The amount of compensation the injured party receives is typically related to the significance of the injury sustained. In other words, if someone ran into you and you bumped your head, you could consider filing a personal injury claim, however, your compensation won’t be nearly as great as if you were in a car accident which resulted in hospitalization.

Wrongful Death

Death is a fact of life, and sometimes (if not always) death comes when we least expect it. If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to wrongful death, perhaps you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim. Again, like personal injury, wrongful death lawsuits come wrapped in legal terms and stipulations which aren’t regarded as common knowledge.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim filed by the survivors of the victim. Like personal injury, wrongful death must be proven by negligent behavior on behalf of the accused party.

In the case of wrongful death claims, these are usually filed after a criminal case has been lost or instead of pressing criminal charges. Generally speaking, wrongful death claims are filed in order to compensate the departed’s family, typically to help with outstanding medical expenses or funeral costs.

Wrongful death compensations typically include (but aren’t limited to) the following:

  • Loss of Care, Comfort, and Companionship
  • Funeral Benefits
  • Loss of Future Earnings
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Medical Expenses
  • Financial Support (Can include educational expenses)

In the case of wrongful death, unlike personal injury, wrongful death claims utilize the preponderance of evidence to prove the accusing party’s warrant for compensation instead of adhering to the typical, “innocent until proven guilty” approach.

Seeking Counsel

Depending on the nature of your claim, an attorney who specializes in personal injury only is going to be useful only for a personal injury case. However, several law firms stand ready with numerous attorneys who all specialize in various aspects of personal injury.

Types of personal injury can range from basic injuries to injuries sustained at the workplace, (often considered “on-the-job” injuries or workman’s compensation claims), automobile accidents, big rig accidents, and commercial or residential injury claims.