The roots of personal injury law run all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman times, when legal processes were introduced to allow citizens to plead grievances against a guilty party.
To help them to present their case, plaintiffs were permitted to enlist the aid of a companion who was knowledgeable about local laws. Although traditionally these early examples of personal injury lawyers were not allowed to accept money for their services, this rule was often overlooked, and was eventually abolished by the 1st century AD.
In the centuries that followed the fall of Rome, personal injury lawyers began sprouting up in other nations, and “attorney” came to be a recognized and trusted professional in many cultures. By the 1600s, many civilizations had introduced some sort of legal system that allowed victims to pursue compensation for losses that resulted from the negligence or wrongdoing of another.
Early forms of workers compensation claims became slightly more common in the years following the Industrial Revolution, when lawmakers drafted legislation designed to protect workers from powerful corporations.
In the 1900s, the case of Donoghue vs. Stenson resulted in important changes to personal injury law, helping to set the stage for personal injury lawsuits as we know them. In the infamous case, the plaintiff, Mrs. Donoghue, became ill after accidentally consuming a dead snail found in the bottom of a bottle of ginger beer. The manufacturer was charged with negligence for failing to uphold safety standards—thus, the principles of common law negligence as we know them took root.
Personal Injury Law Today
Personal injury laws have continued to evolve over the last century or so, as new laws are enacted and the different types of injuries facing the modern-day individual grow and change shape. However, the fundamental principles remain the same—when you are harmed by the actions of another, you have a right to fair compensation for the losses you suffer as a result. The purpose of such laws are to hold the guilty party accountable, to help prevent others from being harmed in the same scenario, and to provide the victim with the compensation they need and deserve.
Under contemporary personal injury laws, victims seek compensation for a variety of damages, including:
Medical costs. This could include past and future bills and expenses for doctor’s appointments, trips to the ER, ambulance rides, and medication.
Lost wages. If your injuries prevented you from working, you may be able to recover damages representing the amount of past and future wages you would have earned had you not been injured.
Pain and suffering. In many cases, you may be able to obtain compensation for past and future pain caused by your injury. The amount you receive may depend on factors such as the severity and longevity of your injury.
Emotional hardship. Similarly, you may be able to pursue compensation for the mental and emotional repercussions of an injury, such as anxiety, grief, shock, and humiliation.
Loss of companionship. If a loved one was killed due to the negligence or recklessness of another, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim for loss of companionship, guidance, and comfort.
Personal injury laws exist to protect the interests, health, and emotional well-being of all. If you or a loved one was injured or harmed due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another, you should stand up for your right to fair compensation for the grievances you have suffered. Consult with a personal injury lawyer, who can guide you through the legal process with compassion and integrity.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Braxton is a trial lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who has devoted his 15-year career to the practice of personal injury law. As lead trial attorney for The Injury Law Firm of South Florida, Jeff has litigated thousands of cases and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, an exclusive group of attorneys who have resolved cases in excess of one million dollars.