What is Personal Injury? Personal Injury Law Basics

What is Personal Injury? Personal Injury Law Basics

Were you recently injured in an accident caused by another party’s negligence?

Did a family member get hurt after using a defective product?

Was someone you love harmed by another party’s intentional wrongdoing?

All of these situations—and many others—may be reasons to file a personal injury lawsuit. By filing a personal injury claim, you may be able to receive financial compensation for your losses.

An experienced personal injury lawyer, licensed in both Illinois and Iowa,  will be more knowledgeable about filing a personal injury claim in Iowa or Illinois.

Personal Injury Law Basics

What is personal injury law, and what are the personal injury law basics? Generally speaking, personal injury law is an area of the law that allows an injured party to file a civil lawsuit against the party (or parties) responsible for the injuries. Most personal injury cases arise under either a theory of negligence or strict liability.

With negligence, a person can be liable for another party’s injuries simply by failing to do something or by acting carelessly. There is no need for an intention to harm. With strict liability, which is common in product liability lawsuits, proof of a design, manufacturing, or marketing defect may be required. But each state has its own personal injury law. As such, it is necessary to work with a personal injury lawyer who has experience handling personal injury claims in your location.

Common Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits

The following are common reasons that people file personal injury lawsuits:

Elements of a Personal Liability Claim

Most personal liability claims that arise under a theory of negligence will require a plaintiff to prove the following:

  • Defendant owed plaintiff a duty of care;
  • Defendant breached the duty of care;
  • Plaintiff got hurt; and
  • Defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the plaintiff’s injuries.

People owe a duty of care to others in numerous scenarios. For example, when a motorist gets behind the wheel of a car, she owes a duty of care to everyone else on the road. Similarly, property owners owe a duty to prevent unreasonable hazards on their property to visitors. Since there are so many different types of personal injury claims, it is important to work with an attorney to determine the specific elements you will need to prove in your case.

Statute of Limitations in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Each state has  specific statute of limitations for filing personal injury claims. The statute of limitations is the amount of time a plaintiff has from the date of the injury to file a civil lawsuit. If a claim is not filed within that time window, the claim can become time barred.

Under Iowa law, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is two years. Similarly, under Illinois law, the statute of limitations for most types of personal injury claims is two years.  However, there may be situations when government is involved and the time limit may be as little as a year. 

Contact an Iowa or Illinois Personal Injury Attorney Today

Do you have questions about filing a personal injury lawsuit? One of the experienced Illinois and Iowa personal injury law attorneys at our firm can get started on your claim today. Contact VanderGinst Law to learn more about the variety of personal injury law services we provide to plaintiffs in Iowa and Illinois.


The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or the State of Illinois.