When is an injury not enough to justify a personal injury lawsuit?

Charlotte Personal Injury Attorney Matt Arnold answers the question: “What can you sue for in a personal injury case?”


Typically, when we discuss a personal injury case we hear a lot of gruesome details about the harm that was done to the plaintiffs. Horrible injuries, including broken bones, head trauma, burns, amputations and many other terrible things are often involved. Though severe personal injury cases grab headlines given their shock value, there are many other personal injury cases and claims that never rise to such a level. Ordinary car accidents occur every day and it is not unusual for the injuries to be relatively minor. If you are fortunate enough to be involved in one of these relatively minor personal injury incidents, how do you know when you have been injured enough to file a claim? To learn more about the subject, keep reading.


Knee-Xray-Charlotte-Injury-Lawyer-Mooresville-Workers-comp-Attorney-225x300First, we should discuss the underlying basis for personal injury lawsuits. These cases exist to allow injured victims an opportunity to collect compensation from the person (or persons) who are responsible for causing them harm. Does that mean you can sue and win money for any kind of injury? Not quite. Just because someone hurt your feelings, does not mean you have a cause of action. A personal injury suit exists to allow the plaintiff to recover compensation for damages. And damage is the key word here. You must be able to demonstrate that you have been harmed in some way and that the harm you suffered can be quantified in a way that allows for compensation. If your harm is either theoretical or so minor as to make valuation impossible, it is unlikely you will have a successful personal injury case.


A good example of this in practice recently occurred in Pennsylvania, where the state Superior Court ruled that a man who suffered a bone bruise was not injured seriously enough to justify a personal injury claim based on negligence. The case began nine years ago when the man was 12 years old. His mother was involved in a car accident while he was riding in the back seat. The accident was not especially serious and the boy bruised his knee. At the time, he said he felt some pain and began wearing a knee brace. As he outgrew the brace, he did not bother getting another one and appeared to carry on with his life just fine.


In terms of harm suffered, he says that his knee bruise was serious enough that he was forced to take breaks while playing sports or sometimes stop altogether. He also claimed that the injury impacted his ability to walk and perform household chores. The court noted that despite these apparently serious sounding results from the injury, there was little evidence to point to that demonstrates such severity. The last time the boy saw a doctor about knee pain was in 2011. Today, he is a member of the Naval Reserve and has not had his service impacted by knee issues. Additionally, he recently had an independent medical examination which showed that any pain he may be experiencing is likely from his own very active lifestyle, not from the car crash almost a decade ago.


As a result, the trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, tossing the case based on a failure of the plaintiff to show that his injuries were enough to justify a personal injury tort claim. The Superior Court agreed, deciding that his injuries did not constitute a serious impairment of his bodily function. The Court determined that there was little to no impact on his normal daily activities. The Court noted that the man never contradicted the independent medical examination results and thus failed to show how the knee bruise has caused any lasting harm worthy of compensation. Without the proof that the plaintiff was harmed in some way, the case was not deemed to have risen to the level necessary to support a personal injury claim.


If you or someone close to you has been injured, contact an experienced personal injury attorney today who can help you receive the compensation to which you may be entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC for a free consultation, call at 704-370-2828 or click here for additional resources.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.






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