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The term is most commonly used to refer to a type of tort lawsuit alleging that the plaintiff's injury has been caused by the negligence of another, but also arises in defamation torts. Damages include bodily injury, intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), and negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED).
The most common types of personal injury claims are road traffic accidents, accidents at work, tripping accidents, assault claims, accidents in the home, product defect accidents (product liability) and holiday accidents. The term personal injury also incorporates medical and dental accidents (which lead to numerous medical negligence claims every year) and conditions that are often classified as industrial disease cases, including asbestosis and peritoneal mesothelioma, chest diseases (e.g., emphysema, pneumoconiosis, silicosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and chronic obstructive airways disease), vibration white finger, occupational deafness, occupational stress, contact dermititis, and repetitive strain injury cases.
Depending upon the intent or negligence of a responsible party, the injured party may be entitled to monetary compensation from that party through a settlement or a judgment. In the United States, this system is complex and controversial, with critics calling for various forms of tort reform. Attorneys often represent clients on a "contingent fee basis" in which the attorney's fee is a percentage of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved, with no payment necessary if the case is unsuccessful. Legal aid from the government may not be available; for example it was largely abolished in England in the late 1990s and replaced with arrangements whereby the client would be charged no fee if her or his case was unsuccessful.
Damages are categorized as either special or general. In torts, special damages are measurable costs which can be itemized such as medical expenses, lost earnings, and property damages whereas general damages include less measurable costs such as pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and emotional distress. Personal injury torts result in both special and general damages.
The amount of compensation for a personal injury will primarily depend on the severity of the injury. Serious injuries (such as broken bones, severed limbs, brain damage) that cause intense physical pain and suffering receive the highest injury settlements.
Aside from compensation for injuries, the injured person may get compensated for the lifetime effect of the injuries. An example, a keen cricketer suffers a wrist injury which prevents him from playing cricket during the cricket season. This can be compensated for, over and above the award for the injury itself. This is called loss of amenity, and the award for loss of amenity is part of the claim for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
Time limitation 
In England and Wales, under the limitation rules, where an individual is bringing a claim for compensation, court proceedings must be commenced within 3 years of the date of the accident, failing which the claimant will lose the right to bring his or her claim. However, injured parties who were under the age of 18 at the time of their accidents have until the day prior to their 21st birthdays to commence proceedings. A court has the discretion to extend or waive the limitation period if it is considered equitable to do so. Another exception is if the accident caused an injury, as an example industrial deafness, then the three-year period will start from when injured party knew or ought to have known that he or she had a claim.
In the United States, each state has different Statutes of Limitations - laws that determine how much time you have to file a claim. In the state of Oregon, for example, most car accident injury claims must be filed within two years of the date of the injury. And, just like it depends which state you are filing a claim in, it also matters which type of personal injury claim you are filing. Rape claims, for example, often have a much longer statute of limitation than other injuries.
Lawsuit and payment 
Payments will be through a settlement agreement or a judgment as a result of a trial. Settlements can be either lump-sum or as a structured settlement in which the payments are made over a period of time.
In insurance in the United States, personal injury in the sense of "bodily injury" to others is often covered by liability insurance such as auto insurance. Therefore an insurance company will provide a legal defense to the defendant and may settle with the plaintiff (victim).
Additional damages for mental injury are less clearly covered, as the insurance policy typically states that it covers only bodily injury. For example, in general liability as of 2001 a minority of courts included emotional distress within the definition bodily injury.
In insurance "personal injury" as typically defined does not include bodily injury damages and instead refers to mental injury damages, particularly as a result of defamation, false arrest or imprisonment, or malicious prosecution; for example, the Insurance Services Office standard general liability form has a section providing this coverage. Similarly, some home insurance policies include personal injury coverage.
Despite the general distinction between bodily injury and personal injury in insurance contracts, auto insurance known as personal injury protection (PIP) does cover medical expenses from bodily injury.
See also 
- Association of Personal Injury Lawyers
- Big Apple Pothole and Sidewalk Protection Committee
- Pain and suffering
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