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6 Common Types of Lawsuits and How They Work - Sophia Belnap - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog

6 Common Types of Lawsuits and How They Work

Although there are many different types of lawsuits, many people aren't able to differentiate among them. Here are six of the most common types of lawsuits and how they work.

  1. Personal Injury

A personal injury case occurs when one person suffers harm due to an accident or injury, and another person may be responsible for causing it. A personal injury can either be physical, such as a broken arm, or psychological, such as anxiety or PTSD. However, it's important to understand that personal injury is distinct from property damage. For example, if you were in a car accident that caused damage to your vehicle but not the passengers, you would file a property damage lawsuit as opposed to a personal injury lawsuit.

If the prosecution can prove that the defendant is legally responsible for the personal injury, the defendant can be awarded economic or noneconomic damages. While economic damages can pay for monetary losses such as medical bills, noneconomic damages cover other losses such as emotional distress, pain or suffering. 


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  1. Criminal

A criminal case occurs when an individual has violated public codes of behavior and has therefore committed a crime. For this individual to be convicted, the jury must prove that he or she is guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt." The burden of proof is higher in criminal cases because the defendant can be faced with more severe penalties if convicted, such as jail time or fines. This differs from a civil case, in which the most common penalty is usually monetary compensation. A Seattle criminal lawyer can help represent defendants by examining witnesses and convincing the jury that the prosecution has failed to meet the burden of proof.

  1. Workers' Compensation

Because employees are legally required to create a safe work environment for their employees, you can file a workers' compensation lawsuit if you get hurt on the job. A few common examples of workers' compensation claims include:

  • Slips and falls
  • Machinery accidents
  • Overexertion
  • Workplace violence
  • Exposure to chemicals
  • Struck by an object

Although the laws vary by state, workers' compensation can cover hospital and medical bills, rehabilitation and disability payments.

  1. Medical Malpractice

You can file a medical malpractice lawsuit if you believe that a doctor has treated you improperly. Medical malpractice occurs when a healthcare professional harms a patient by failing to provide the appropriate standard of care, which can include:

  • Surgical mistakes or unnecessary surgery
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Improper medication or dosage
  • Failure to diagnose or incorrect diagnosis
  • Premature discharge
  • Misreading laboratory results

To win a medical malpractice lawsuit, the patient must prove that he or she had a relationship with the doctor, the doctor behaved in a negligent manner and this negligence directly resulted in injury. Although the statute of limitations varies by state, it's typically two years from the date of the malpractice.

  1. Product Liability

If you suffer an injury from a defective product, you can file a product liability lawsuit. These products may have been manufactured or designed improperly, or they could have been labeled with inadequate instructions or warnings. In the case of Liebeck v. McDonald's, a woman accidentally spilled McDonald's coffee onto herself and suffered third-degree burns. Not only was she awarded $640,000, but this lawsuit also revealed that McDonald's served their coffee 40 degrees hotter than other restaurants, which was clearly a hazard to their customers.

  1. Wrongful Termination

An employee can sue an employer if they believe that they were wrongfully terminated from their job. A few examples of wrongful termination include being fired for:

  • Race
  • Religious beliefs
  • Political beliefs
  • Being a whistleblower
  • Retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment or a hostile work environment

If the employee has been wrongfully terminated, they can receive damages such as lost pay and benefits.

Understanding different types of lawsuits is important if you ever find yourself in a tricky legal situation. These six lawsuits are among the most common in the United States.

Publish Date: June 23, 2021 2:24 PM

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