Personal injury law covers a wide range of situations, from simple slip-and-falls to complex product liability claims. With that many kinds of injuries and the millions of plaintiffs and defendants, personal injury law is bound to evolve over time.
As the law changes, it can affect the liability of parties, the number of lawsuits, and the average amount plaintiffs can recover for certain injuries. Here’s a look at five recent trends in personal injury law, and how they might affect your claim.
1. Homeowner Liability for Dog Bite Claims Dramatically Increased, Study Finds
Over the last decade, the number of dog bite claims against homeowners, and the average payout for those claims, has been skyrocketing. Are there more bad dogs out there? Or just bad owners? Either way, courts are putting a tighter leash on pet owners.
2. Study: Payouts Are up in Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
While medical malpractice claims as a whole are down, the average payout for those claims is up. This could be because new tort reform laws are making it harder to file claims, meaning only the best claims are surviving the procedural process.
3. Study: Apology Laws Don’t Decrease Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
The popular belief that an earnest “I’m sorry” from a doctor can smooth over medical treatment errors or unsatisfactory outcomes turns out not to be true. States that enacted laws prohibiting physician apologies from being used against them later in court have not seen a dip in lawsuits, and instead are seeing more lawsuits in some cases.
4. Construction Deaths and Injuries Are on the Rise in NYC
It’s never a good thing to see a spike in injuries and deaths. Construction is not the safest profession, but the majority of Empire State construction fatalities are happening on non-union work sites guilty of code and safety violations.
5. West Virginia Counties Sue Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis
The opioid epidemic is nationwide, but few states have been hit as hard as West Virginia, where drug manufacturers allegedly sent close to 40 million doses of opioids to a county with just 96,000 residents. Liability for drug companies could be changing based on these and other numbers.