In the legal sense, personal injury is a type of tort or civil wrong where harm is caused to one individual because another individual failed to use reasonable care. Personal injury law overlaps quite a bit with litigation law. The law recognizes a tort as grounds (legal reasons) to sue the offender in order to recover for losses caused by an injury or other type of harm, including psychological. This is referred to as recovery for damages and may involve expected future losses in addition to actual present losses. Some of the damages one may sue for are reasonable medical expenses, property damages, pain and suffering, loss of earnings capacity, emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, and legal costs and attorney fees. The main goal of tort law is to make the injured party whole again and to discourage others from committing the same offense.
With personal injury law, liability is a key factor. Liability is determined by showing that the individual who caused the harm did so because of a failure to exercise reasonable care. Further, it must be shown that it was foreseeable that this failure could result in the injury or harm that did occur to the other party. A finding of reckless or negligent action may result in a judgment of liability. There are various defenses to a claim of liability. For example, if the injured party knew that the activity in which he was engaged when he was injured was dangerous, the other party may assert assumption of the risk, claiming that the injured party bears all the responsibility for his injury. Other defenses are pre-existing condition and intervening causes.