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The 14 Most Common Types of Personal Injury Cases

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People are injured in accidents every single day. Oftentimes, these accidents and the corresponding injuries are the result of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. As a society, we often place our safety in the hands of others. As such, there are many situations in which someone is responsible for an accident that causes harm to someone else which can result in a personal injury claim.


What Constitutes a Personal Injury Case?

In order to have a valid personal injury case, the following 4 elements of negligence must be true:

  • The other person owed you a duty of care
  • The other person breached that duty of care
  • The breach of duty caused the accident
  • You suffered damages as a result of the accident

A breach of duty of care can be active, passive, unintentional, or deliberate. Defendants in personal injury lawsuits can include negligent property owners, drunk drivers, underqualified doctors, and corrupt manufacturers, just to name a few.


The Most Common Types of Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury law is a category that encompasses a vast array of different situations. This category is further broken down into more and more specific types and specializations. Some of the most common and well-known types of personal injury claims are discussed below.


Motor Vehicle Accidents

Perhaps the most common type of personal injury cases is those involving motor vehicle accidents. In 2018, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documented at least 6.7 million auto accidents throughout the country. That volume of car accidents in the US resulted in 36.5K traffic fatalities in 2018 [1]. For those living in Los Angeles, this may come as no surprise. Personal injury claims for motor vehicle accidents most often involve property damage claims as well.


Car Accidents

When people think of motor vehicle accidents, they generally think of car accidents. With cars being the most common vehicles on the road, there are many ways in which an accident can happen. Minor accidents often result in injuries such as whiplash and other soft tissue damage. Moderate accidents can result in things like lacerations from broken glass and facial injuries from the steering wheel or air bags. Major accidents can result in injuries that are much more severe, disabling, or even fatal. A qualified car accident attorney can help sort through all of the variables and collect the necessary information to handle your specific case the best way.


Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accidents are some of the more severe accidents seen on the road. Going at high speeds with limited protection can result in major injuries from a collision. The state of California has the most motorcycles in the country with nearly one million registered [2]. That number does not even account for riders traveling from other states. Three of the top five causes of motorcycle crashes involve collisions with other drivers. A personal injury claim for a motorcycle accident may also be against the city due to the increased danger of things like potholes.


Truck Accidents

Accidents involving commercial trucks can also be some of the most serious due to their size and the fact that they are usually on freeways and highways with much higher speed limits. Personal injury claims for these cases can therefore be more involved due to the extent and cost of necessary treatments. These accidents also often involve large companies that have high insurance policy limits but are prepared to fight liability. Personal injury claims against truck drivers are often due to things such as:

  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving under the influence
  • Underqualified drivers
  • Poor truck maintenance
  • Poor load securement
  • Carelessness


Pedestrian Accidents

A pedestrian accident can be dangerous no matter what speed the car is going, especially if the pedestrian suffers any kind of head or abdominal injuries. In many pedestrian accidents, the driver is often the one at fault as pedestrians usually have the right of way [3]. The most common reasons behind a pedestrian accident are:

  • Speeding
  • Poor visibility
  • Poorly designed or maintained crosswalks and sidewalks
  • Drunk drivers
  • Distracted drivers

If you are ever struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, it is important to get the driver’s information, seek medical attention, and speak to a lawyer.


Bicycle Accidents

Bicycles face many of the same dangers as motorcycles. A lack of protection, poor road maintenance, decreased visibility, and the carelessness of other drivers who do not respect a bicyclist’s presence on the road all present increased risk of serious bicycle accidents and injuries. There are specific traffic laws pertaining to the rights and responsibilities of bike riders. As with pedestrians, many accidents occur when a driver does not respect the right of way.


General Negligence

In our everyday lives, we all have a responsibility to behave in a way that does not pose a danger to the people around us. When someone’s actions, whether careless or reckless, create hazards and cause accidents that bring harm to others, they need to be held accountable.


Medical Malpractice

There are many ways in which a medical provider might breach their duty of care to their patient in a way that results in an injury. This can include:

  • Prescribing or administering the wrong medications
  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose
  • Ignoring or improperly treating a condition
  • Leaving surgical instruments inside the body
  • Damaging other organs during a surgery
  • Improper post-op care
  • Not running appropriate tests
  • Neglecting patients’ basic needs

In any of these situations, a victim of malpractice may have a viable lawsuit on their hands. Medical malpractice cases are generally complex and a specialized lawyer is recommended to seek adequate compensation for any sustained injuries or damages.


Product Liability

When someone is injured due to a defect in the design or manufacturing of a product, or because of a lack of proper warning labels, they may have a personal injury claim for product liability. These defects can occur because of carelessness such as not noticing an error or not realizing a product needed a warning label. Or they can be more deliberate such as choosing to use dangerous materials because they are cheaper or skipping safety precautions to cut costs. Cases involving major companies have made national news and resulted in major settlements for a large number of personal injury victims.


Wrongful Death

A wrongful death claim is brought by the next of kin or estate representative of someone whose injuries resulted in their death. These claims can be particularly common among medical malpractice and motor vehicle accident cases. Compensation in a wrongful death case can cover:

  • The victim’s pain and suffering
  • The family’s emotional distress
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Medical costs related to the injury
  • Loss of income for financial dependents
  • Loss of companionship for loved ones

Only one wrongful death claim can be filed per victim. If multiple people have a right to file the claim, they must all be combined into one. Additionally, the state of California does not allow punitive damages for wrongful death claims unless the defendant is also convicted of felony homicide for the same death.


Workplace Accidents

Depending on the job type and environment, workplace injuries can occur in a variety of ways. These injuries may be the result of a single accident, repetitive actions causing strain on the body over time, or exposure to toxic materials on the job. Sometimes, an employee may have a claim for psychological harm caused by the work environment. However, unlike other types of personal injury claims, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering cannot be recovered under workers’ compensation. If you are injured at work, it is important to notify your employer and complete an incident report if possible.


Premises Liability or Slip & Fall Accidents

Property owners have a responsibility to ensure the safety of those they invite onto that property. If they do not, they may be vulnerable to a premise liability claim. One of the most common types of premise liability cases is when a business owner neglects to remove or warn against slipping and tripping hazards. Injuries can also occur when property is poorly maintained which creates hazards such as loose railings, exposed nails, and damaged parking lots. These injuries can range from minor to severe and even the minor injuries can have long-term consequences if not treated properly.


Animal Bites and Attacks

The majority of animal attack claims in personal injury cases tend to involve dogs. Oftentimes, victims are children who do not understand how to properly interact with animals and do not recognize signs of aggression or warning. When an animal injures someone, the owner of that animal is liable for the injury. Most homeowners’ insurance companies will have policies regarding dog bites, but many have limits and conditions such as breed restrictions. An animal attack claim does not necessarily need to involve a bite. Injuries sustained while trying to escape an attack and emotional distress from the ordeal may also be covered.


Construction Accidents

It is estimated that while construction workers account for only about 4% of the country’s workforce, they account for approximately 20% of workplace fatalities [4]. Over the past century, efforts have been made to constantly improve safety conditions within construction work including the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Constructions accidents are often caused by factors such as:

  • Faulty equipment
  • Lack of protective gear
  • Trip/Slip/Fall hazards
  • Electrocution
  • Inadequate training
  • Violating regulations

Getting injured on the job requires an experienced personal injury or worker’s compensation lawyer to defend the injured party. This is due to the complexity of these types of claims caused by the introduction of workers’ compensation.



While the majority of personal injury cases are the result of an accident, there are many that are the result of the intentional infliction of harm. Some civil assault cases involve actions taken in the heat of the moment such as altercations that become violent, while others are more premeditated and deliberate. Regardless of the motivation, there are very serious injuries that can be sustained from an assault, and it is important to seek medical attention and legal advice as soon as possible.


Types of Injuries Sustained in Personal Injury Cases

Injuries sustained in an accident can range from insignificant to catastrophic. The problem is that sometimes injuries do not present themselves right away, which is why medical attention is always recommended. The following are all common injury types that can be sustained in an accident.


Head and Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are especially dangerous. Not only because brain damage can have major disabling or even fatal consequences, but also because major damage and minor damage often feel the same at first. If you have suffered any kind of blow to the head, it is impossible to be certain of the level of damage without a professional medical assessment. Even if the immediate assessment finds no major damage, the doctor will still give you a list of symptoms to watch out for that may develop over the next few days. Common head injuries in personal injury claims often involve:

  • Concussions – Damage caused by the brain making impact against the inside of the skull.
  • Hematoma – Damage caused by blood clotting outside of blood vessels.
  • Skull Fractures – Damage caused to the bone surrounding the brain.

Common symptoms that may develop from TBI can include:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Head Pain
  • Impaired Hearing
  • Impaired Speech
  • Impaired Vision
  • Mood Changes
  • Nausea



Rapid jarring movement of the neck can cause damage to the soft tissues and is colloquially referred to as whiplash. This term however encompasses a number of injuries including but not limited to:

  • Cervical Sprain
  • Herniated Discs
  • Muscle Strain
  • Nerve Root Damage
  • Torn Ligaments

These are also often referred to as hyperextension or myofascial injuries and are ranked with very minor severity at Grade 0 and the highest major severity at Grade 4 [5]. Unfortunately, people often underestimate the consequences of soft tissue damage, which can be lifelong if not treated properly. Especially in an area as vital as the neck where minor injuries can become easily exacerbated into much more serious damage.


Broken Bones & Fractures

Broken bones are serious and painful injuries ranging from hairline fractures that may be difficult to diagnose to compound fractures that pierce the skin. Even the most minor breaks can have a lengthy recovery time and disrupt your ability to perform everyday tasks. Sometimes, rather than a fracture in the bone itself, the joints may become dislocated. If not treated immediately and properly this can cause severe long-term damage. Medical care for any kind of skeletal damage can be expensive due to imaging and equipment costs in addition to any physical or occupational therapy that may be needed later on.


Electrocution, Burns, or Drowning

There are many types of injuries that can have a long and complicated recovery process or make the victim susceptible to more damage.

Electrocution – Injuries caused by electric shocks can range from minor surface burns to fatalities depending on the circumstances. The human body runs on electricity. Similar to how a power surge can burn out a lightbulb or cause devices to malfunction, being electrocuted can burn out nerves and cause the heart to stop.

Burns – The primary function of skin is to protect the rest of the body. Burn injuries result in losing one or more layers of skin tissue in the affected area. One of the most common complications caused by burn injuries is infection. There is also a high probability of discoloration, scarring, and disfigurement. More severe burns may require skin grafts or result in permanent damage to the nerves in that area.

Drowning – Inhaling any amount of liquid can be dangerous, but especially in large quantities. It can be difficult for the lungs to expel all of the liquid which can cause them to become damaged or weakened. Prolonged coughing fits can cause damage to the throat and even induce headaches or vomiting. It is also possible for infections or illnesses such as pneumonia to develop.


Spinal Cord Injury & Paralysis

The primary concern with back injuries is spinal damage which can often result in paralysis or death. The spinal cord is a cornerstone of the nervous system; it is what connects the brain to the rest of the body. Consequences of spinal damage can include impairment or loss of:

  • Fine motor skills
  • Gross motor skills
  • Sense of touch
  • Temperature regulation
  • Respiratory system functions
  • Digestive system functions
  • Reproductive system functions


Loss of Limbs & Dismemberment

With accidents involving heavy machinery such as motor vehicles and industrial equipment, there is a higher risk of dismemberment. Digits, extremities, and even entire limbs may be severed from the body or crushed. There are also situations where other injuries from an accident may result in a surgical amputation being necessary due to massive infections or other complications. In medical malpractice cases, a negligent lack of diagnosis or delayed treatment could result in an amputation that would not have been necessary otherwise. There have even been instances of surgeons removing the wrong limbs by mistake.



Dismemberment, scaring, and any other permanent alterations to someone’s appearance can have a serious negative impact on many levels. These injuries often result in chronic pain, numbness and impaired mobility in the affected area. Emotional distress and decreased self-esteem contribute to a reduced quality of life. Also, scar removal treatments, skin grafts, prosthetics, and other medical care related to disfiguring injuries can be extremely expensive.


Internal Bleeding

Injuries caused by blunt force trauma, particularly to the head or torso, carry a risk of internal bleeding. This is particularly dangerous, not only because of the severity of the injury itself, which can be fatal if untreated, but because it is often easy to miss. Things like shock and adrenaline can prevent a victim from feeling pain, and there may be no external signs beyond some bruising. This is one of the many reasons that accident victims are encouraged to seek medical attention immediately after an accident.


Effects of Accidents & Injuries

Injuries sustained in an accident can impact a person’s life in a myriad of ways.

Economic Damages:

  • Medical Expenses – Medical care is costly, and many injuries can require long term treatment.
  • Loss of Earnings/Earning Capacity – An injury could prevent a person from being able to go to work or perform their job functions effectively, resulting in lost wages.

Non-economic Damages:

  • Pain and Suffering – Accidents and injuries can result in a great deal of both physical and emotional pain and reduce the quality and enjoyment of a person’s daily life.
  • Loss of Consortium – Damages that can be claimed by the spouse of the victim for damage to their marital relationship.


What Can Be Recovered in a Personal Injury Claim?

Damages that can be added to a personal injury claim for compensation include but are not limited to:

  • Ambulances
  • Imaging
  • Medical Devices
  • Lost Wages
  • Household Services
  • Emotional Distress
  • Post Traumatic Stress
  • Depression
  • Loss of Enjoyment
  • Loss of Consortium


Contact Mesriani Law if You Have Suffered a Personal Injury

There are many reasons why it is usually better to have a personal injury attorney handling your claim. When you are injured, your energy should be focused on healing, and navigating the legal process alone is daunting and stressful. There is also a finite amount of time in which you can make a claim due to the statute of limitations. Our personal injury lawyers are dedicated to the best interests of our clients and have the knowledge and experience to ensure you are compensated fairly. Our office is in Santa Monica and we provide legal representation to all of Los Angeles and Southern California. If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, call Mesriani Law Group today for a free consultation.



[1] https://www.nhtsa.gov/traffic-deaths-decreased-2018-still-36560-people-died

[2] https://www.iihs.org/api/datastoredocument/bibliography/2225

[3] https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/handbook/california-driver-handbook/laws-and-rules-of-the-road/

[4] https://blog.dol.gov/2022/05/11/the-connection-between-unions-and-worker-safety

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4753964/


Types of Personal Injury FAQs

What are the 5 most common types of personal injury cases?

There are many different types of accidents and incidents that can result in a personal injury claim. Some of the most commonly seen kinds of personal injury cases are:

• Motor Vehicle Accidents
• Slip and Fall Accidents
• Medical Malpractice
• Workplace Accidents
• Product Liability

What is the difference between personal and physical injury?

Physical injuries are a specific category under the broader umbrella of personal injury. As a legal term, ‘personal injury’ applies to all kinds of injuries suffered as a result of an accident. Physical injuries, also referred to as bodily injuries, are things such as broken bones, internal bleeding, and soft tissue damage. Other types of personal injuries include emotional distress and psychological damage.

About the Author
Rodney Mesriani
Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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