What Types of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

If you have suffered injuries caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions, you may have the right to compensation through a civil action. It’s important to understand the type of personal injury case you may have so that you can seek the legal representation you need. 

Not all personal injury lawyers handle all types of cases. Many specialize in a certain area of personal injury law or specific types of cases. Here are the types of cases personal injury lawyers can handle.

Basic Types of Personal Injury Cases

Basic Types of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injury cases fall under the category of tort law. A tort is a civil wrong that causes someone to suffer harm or loss and results in legal liability for the responsible party. 

Personal injury cases generally fall into three categories based on the type of tort law. Here’s a brief overview of each:

  • Negligent Tort: This is the most common type of personal injury case. These cases arise when someone fails to exercise reasonable care or caution and causes someone else harm. Examples include car accidents and medical malpractice.
  • Intentional Tort: As the name implies, intentional torts occur when one person harms another with deliberate actions. These cases hinge on proving that the act was intentional, not just careless. Assault is the most common example. 
  • Strict Liability Tort: In these cases, someone is held liable for the harm of another without actual negligence or intent to cause harm. Defective products and dangerous medications are common examples. 

The area of tort law affects your case because it determines the elements you must prove to recover compensation. 

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Traffic accidents are one of the most common types of personal injury cases. Common examples of personal injury cases involving traffic collisions include: 

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Uber accidents

Because these cases fall under negligent tort law, your case requires proving the elements of negligence: 

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care, 
  • The defendant breached this duty, 
  • The defendant’s behavior was reasonably related to and directly caused your injuries, 
  • You suffered injuries due to the defendant’s behavior

Negligence per se is a legal concept that often arises in personal injury cases involving traffic accidents. Under this legal theory, someone’s behavior is automatically deemed negligent if they violated a law or statute designed to prevent the kind of harm you suffered. Speeding or driving under the influence are common examples. 

If you can prove negligence per se, or a violation of a safety statute, you do not need to prove the defendant owed you a duty of care and breached it. 

Premises Liability

Under South Carolina premises liability law, property owners can be held liable for certain injuries and even crimes that occur on their property. 

Invitees, like customers in a store, are owed the greatest duty of care under the law. Property owners have a legal duty to find and fix or warn about dangerous conditions. Licensees, like social guests, have a lower duty of care. Property owners must use still reasonable care to avoid harm to the guest and warn of any concealed dangers the owner knows about. 

Common examples of premises liability cases include: 

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Negligent security

Premises liability is a very complex area of law, especially when it comes to different duties owed to different classes of people. 

Product Liability

If you are hurt by a defective or dangerous product, the manufacturer, seller, or distributor may be held strictly liable or liable for negligence. Strict liability means that negligence or intentional wrongdoing are not required to hold the defendant liable. South Carolina also allows cases based on negligence, breach of warranty, or misrepresentation. 

Three kinds of defects may be the basis for a product liability case: 

  • Manufacturing defect: The product was designed properly but not manufactured correctly. 
  • Design defect: The product was defective by design and did not work as safely as reasonably expected. 
  • Marketing defect: The user was not warned of dangers the manufacturer should have anticipated. 

Product liability cases can involve defective products or dangerous drugs.

Dog Bites

Dog owners in South Carolina and even property owners can be held strictly liable if their dog bites or injures someone under SC Code § 47-3-110. This law applies if you are in a public place or lawfully on private property as a guest, with an implied invitation, or on the job. 

There are two primary exceptions to this strict liability rule: provocation of the dog or the victim was trespassing. 

Medical Malpractice

A medical malpractice claim is brought against a health care provider whose negligence caused you injury. This includes physicians, surgeons, nurses, chiropractors, pharmacists, and other health care professionals. Claims can also be brought against hospitals, healthcare practices, and other entities. 

Medical malpractice cases are usually based on negligence. To prove your case, you must show that you were injured because the healthcare professional failed to exercise the degree of skill and care expected of an average practitioner in similar circumstances. This usually means a breach of the prevailing standard of care that would apply in your case. 

Medical malpractice cases are notoriously complex. They usually require substantial evidence, including expert medical testimony.

Workers’ Compensation

Some lawyers only handle one aspect of workplace accidents: potential third-party liability claims. The most common avenue for financial relief after a workplace injury is workers’ compensation. 

Workers’ compensation allows injured workers to recover money for medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages. This no-fault system bars workers from filing a lawsuit against their employer, even if they were negligent. Compensation is also limited to specific forms of benefits without compensation for pain and suffering and other losses. 

Injury lawyers can help injured workers file or appeal a claim and ensure they receive the full benefits they deserve.


Victims of assault and other violent crimes have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against their perpetrator. This type of intentional tort case allows you to recover compensation through the civil court system, whether or not the perpetrator is charged with a crime or convicted.

Wrongful Death

Most personal injury cases involve injuries you suffered personally. Wrongful death cases are brought by the estate of someone who died as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional action. If the decedent could have filed a personal injury lawsuit if they had lived, their death may result in a wrongful death action. 

Many states allow surviving family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit. South Carolina makes the administrator or executor of the estate responsible for pursuing the claim under SC Code § 15-51-10. Any damages recovered are awarded to surviving family members. 

A wrongful death action can allow family members to recover compensation for funeral expenses, lost financial support and benefits, loss of the decedent’s care, experience, and protection, and more.

Set Up a Free Case Review With a Rock Hill Personal Injury Attorney

Do you believe you have a personal injury case? If you or a loved one have suffered serious injuries, Elrod Pope Accident & Injury Attorneys is here to help. Contact our law office at 803-324-7574 for a free case review with a Rock Hill personal injury lawyer. We will review your legal options and what we can do for you.