Personal injury cases are legal disputes that arise when one person suffers harm from an accident or injury, and someone else might be legally responsible for that harm. A personal injury case can become formalized through civil court proceedings that seek to find others legally at fault through a court judgment or, as is much more common, such disputes may be resolved through informal settlement before any lawsuit is filed.
Plaintiffs have a limited time in which to file a lawsuit. Generally, the period of time dictated by a statute of limitations begins when the plaintiff is injured or discovers the injury. Statutes of limitations are established by state law and often vary by type of injury. Unlike other areas of the law that find their rules in statutes (such as penal codes in criminal cases), the development of personal injury law has taken place mostly through court decisions and remain the main source of the law in any legal case arising from an accident or injury.