Common Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits

If you have suffered physical injuries due to the negligent acts or failures of a third-party, then California law may entitle you to recover damages. These damages are meant to compensate you for the various losses that you have experienced as a result of the injuries at-issue. For example, personal injury damages may be paid out to cover lost wages, past and future medical expenses, emotional trauma, pain and suffering, and more.

As the negligence of a defendant can lead to physical injuries in a wide variety of circumstances, there are - correspondingly - many different types of personal injury lawsuits and practice areas. Skilled personal injury attorneys know how to navigate the unique difficulties of each type of injury lawsuit, from motor vehicle accident cases to slip-and-fall premises liability cases.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of five types of personal injury lawsuits. Whether or not your injury claim neatly fits into one of these categories, you may be entitled to litigate your claim and recover damages.

Let's take a look!

Motor Vehicle Accident

In the personal injury world, the subcategory of motor vehicle accident lawsuits is quite varied compared to other types of lawsuits. Incidents involving motor vehicles may implicate drivers, pedestrians, passengers, and other third-parties, such as a public or private entity that undertakes to design, build, and maintain a road and/or traffic signals.

Even within the motor vehicle accident category, litigation can differ substantially depending on the particular circumstances of your case.

For example, if you are a pedestrian and are injured due to a collision at a crosswalk, your case will likely involve multiple defendants (the driver, the entity that designed and maintained the crosswalk, etc.). You will likely not only assert that the defendant-driver was negligent and therefore caused the collision, but also that the defendant-entity in charge of the crosswalk was negligent in designing, implementing, or maintaining the crosswalk such that a dangerous condition was created.

By contrast, if you are a driver involved in a motor vehicle accident with a public bus driver, your case will focus on the negligence of the driver in contributing to the collision at-issue. As the driver is an employee of the city, there will be unique issues involving public liability as well, and further, you may want to implicate further negligence on the City for negligent hiring or supervision of the driver.

Premises Liability

Premises liability covers all incidents that occur due to the dangerous condition of a particular piece of property. Dangerous conditions can include third-party behavior, if the behavior was predictable enough that the property owner/operator knew or should have known that such behavior could have resulted in injuries to the plaintiff.

In California, premises liability claims require that the plaintiff prove:

  1. that the defendant owned, operated, or otherwise controlled the property at-issue;
  2. that the defendant was negligently created the dangerous condition, failed to correct the dangerous condition, or failed to warn the plaintiff of the existence of the dangerous condition; and
  3. this negligence resulted in injuries to the plaintiff.

What constitutes a premises liability claim?

For example, if you are shopping at a local department store, and then you slip and fall on some standing water, you may have a claim against the store owner/operator. You will have to show, however, that the water should have been cleaned up (you will likely have to prove that the water was standing for an unreasonable amount of time without having been cleaned, or without there being a warning sign).

Negligent Hiring and Supervision

Negligent hiring and supervision lawsuits are quite unique, and implicate some interesting elements. In a negligent hiring and supervision lawsuit, the plaintiff is - generally - injured due to the negligence of a third-party, and the plaintiff thereafter asserts that the employer of the third-party is also liable, for failing to exercise reasonable care in hiring and/or supervising the negligent employee.

Essentially, the employee must be shown to be incompetent for the type of work they were hired to do, and the employer must not only have known about this incompetence (or should have known about it), but should have either supervised the employee to prevent a risk to others, or should have fired the employee.

Let's run through an example to clarify.

Suppose that you are injured in a motor vehicle accident by a pizza delivery driver. You consult with an attorney, who begins to investigate the case. It's revealed that the employer may have negligently hired the driver. At the time of hiring, the driver had their license suspended numerous times, and had a history of collisions, tickets, and poor driving behavior. You could likely show that the driver was unfit for the work they were hired for, and that the employer knew or should have known about this. The employer is therefore at least partially liable for your injuries.


There are numerous types of personal injury lawsuits. A skilled attorney knows how to tailor litigation strategy to the circumstances, so as to maximize your chance of success at trial (and to secure a good settlement, if possible).

To schedule a free consultation with an experienced California personal injury attorney, call the Law Offices of Brian O' Grady at (650) 318-6131. Attorney Brian O' Grady has a long track record of success in helping his clients secure damage awards for their injury claims. He also values open and honest communication with clients, and will address any questions or concerns you may have.

We look forward to speaking with you!