The idea of personal injury in American law covers a lot of ground. Some clients are surprised to learn just how many issues might be addressed by a personal injury lawyer beyond things like slip-and-fall incidents and car accidents. Let's look at three less common sorts of cases that are included in personal injury law.
At first blush, you might assume this sort of case would fall under workers' compensation claims. There are, however, a handful of situations where personal injury law offices might be better positioned to represent someone.
First, not all workplace accidents are the product of something linked to one's employer. An employee of an electrical contracting firm, for example, might be hurt while another contractor's employee was moving materials around. In that scenario, the case is going to be a personal injury claim filed against the other contracting firm, property owner, customer, or general contractor.
Secondly, some parties that aren't other people's employees may have no recourse but to pursue personal injury claims. Folks contracted on 1099 arrangements, for example, usually have no recourse to workers' comp. Similarly, individuals who were visiting the site, such as interested investors, will have to file claims if they were hurt.
Exposure to Chemicals or Biological Agents
The presence of chemicals or biological agents in any spot you frequent or where you live may be grounds for hiring a personal injury attorney. Exposure claims can involve things that are currently there, such as chemicals being emitted by a factory near a neighborhood, or operations that are long gone, such as a toxic waste dump that was decommissioned 50 years ago. Biological agents may include things like pathogens in drinking water, mold growth in a house, or even a virus that was transmitted at a medical facility due to poor containment measures. Some products can lead to exposure claims, with asbestos and lead among the most well-known.
Loss of a Pet
A claim involving a pet may also be considered a form of personal injury. This is especially the case when it involves cruel behavior, where an emotional distress argument is fairly easy to make. The state of Washington even recognizes what's called malicious injury of a pet, a concept applied when someone willfully harms or kills another's pet.
Generally, these cases require that the defendant either acted willfully or with wanton disregard. Otherwise, the case would require some form of contractual negligence, such as something involving poor care of the animal at a kennel.
For more information on personal injury cases, reach out to a personal injury attorney in your area.