What Does ‘Personal Injury’ Actually Mean?
A personal injury is a physical or psychological injury that is caused by another person or organisation. Under Canadian law, those who suffer a personal injury are entitled to recover compensation for their damages.
Personal injury explained
The defining factor of a personal injury is that damage is sustained to a person’s body or mind, rather than to their property or reputation. Also, this damage is the fault of another individual or organisation.
Imagine, for example, that you cut yourself with a knife because you are not concentrating. Although you have sustained a physical injury, no one else is at fault. Therefore in legal terms, you have not suffered a ‘personal injury’.
But what if you cut yourself because the knife is defective? In this case, fault lies with the manufacturer. This does amount to a personal injury, because you have been injured as a result of the manufacturer’s negligence.
Another example is if you fall asleep at the wheel and crash. If so, fault lies solely with you. But what if another drive falls asleep and ploughs into you? Again, you have been injured through no fault of your own, meaning you have suffered a personal injury.
Personal injury and the law
The law in Canada recognises that those who suffer a personal injury deserve some form of justice. The harm cannot be undone, so instead, the law offers financial compensation to reflect the damage that has been caused.
The purpose of this compensation is to provide redress for your pain and suffering – both physical and mental. It is also intended to recuperate your financial losses. This allows you to recover your lost wages and pay for the cost of medical treatment.
To get compensation for a personal injury, it is necessary to make a personal injury claim. The claim is brought by the injured person, known as the ‘plaintiff’. The person or organisation alleged to be at fault is the ‘defendant’.
Personal injury claims fall under the category of tort law.
Examples of personal injury
There are many ways in which a personal injury – and in turn, a personal injury claim – might arise. Some common examples include –
- Motor vehicle accidents – including bus accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and passenger injuries
- Slips and falls – on private or public property
- Negligent care – of children, the elderly or other vulnerable members of society
- Dog bites – where the owner fails to keep control of their dog
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
- Food poisoning
- Airplane accidents
What to do if you have suffered a personal injury
If you suspect you have suffered a personal injury, you should act quickly. You only have two years to make a personal injury claim in British Columbia. If you wait too long, you will not be able to get compensation.
Your first step is to contact our Vancouver personal injury lawyers. We offer a free consultation. This gives you the chance to find out if you have been the victim of a personal injury, and whether you have grounds to make a claim. Once you have this information, you can decide what you want to do next.Go back to Blog