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What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
Personal injury lawyers represent clients in civil actions related to injuries. Criminal charges against a person who injures someone are handled by prosecutors, and if you’re charged criminally for injuring someone, you need to find a criminal defense lawyer.
If you or someone close to you is seeking compensation for an injury — or if someone is suing you for an injury they claim you caused — personal injury lawyers are the best attorneys to represent you.
Personal injury lawyers are already somewhat specialized, but most tend to focus on just one of the many case types that are under the personal injury umbrella.
Types of Personal Injury Law
There are some attorneys who specialize in personal injury cases. These lawyers will typically have a practice that includes premises liability — holding the owner of a location liable for an injury caused by a condition they should have repaired — assault and battery claims, and, in some instances, worker’s compensation cases.
Most personal injury law firms, work on one specific type of personal injury case. By focusing on one specific practice area, these firms are better able to learn the nuances of their chosen case type and provide the best outcome for their clients.
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were over 5 million police-reported auto accidents in 2020 with an estimated 2.28 million injuries resulting. There were also nearly 12,000 deaths resulting from car accidents.
With this many injuries, it’s no wonder that many personal injury attorneys choose to focus exclusively on traffic-related injuries. Taking on a client’s personal injury claim against the insurance companies and negotiating settlements or taking the case to trial is a full-time job for thousands of lawyers.
In fact, there are certain law firms that specialize even further. There are big rig truck accident law firms and lawyers who only represent clients in motorcycle accidents.
All doctors and hospitals have to carry medical malpractice insurance. The reason for this is that when a medical professional makes a mistake or otherwise takes an action that harms a patient, they are likely to face a personal injury lawsuit.
Medical malpractice attorneys specialize in dealing with malpractice insurance providers and have knowledge about the standard of care doctors are expected to follow. Many malpractice attorneys will specialize in different areas of medical malpractice, such as birth injuries or nursing home abuse.
According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 400,000 patients experience some type of preventable harm every year. While all of these errors may not give rise to a claim of malpractice, “medical errors in hospitals and clinics result in approximately 100,000 people dying each year.”
If the actions of medical professionals caused you or a loved one injury or led to their wrongful death, make sure to look for an experienced medical malpractice lawyer to represent you.
When a product is designed or manufactured in a way that makes it inherently dangerous, it can often lead to injury. Being injured by a poorly designed product often leads to a product liability lawsuit seeking compensation for the injury.
A product liability lawyer specializes in getting compensation for those injured by dangerous products that have been allowed to reach the market. These types of torts — the legal term for an act that causes injury that courts make people pay for financially — are obviously quite different from fall accidents or automobile crashes and require a different skill set.
Personal injury lawyers often represent victims of accidents, whether their injuries are from a defective product, a motorcycle accident, a botched surgery, or another form of negligence
What to Look For in Personal Injury Lawyers
The most important characteristic to look for in a personal injury attorney is experience with your specific type of injury. As we’ve seen, a personal injury lawyer could easily spend an entire career working on one type of case.
A personal injury lawyer with 30 years of experience sounds great, but if all that experience is in birth injury medical malpractice, they may not be suitable to your lawn mower product liability case.
Once you find a personal injury attorney with experience handling your case type, there are several other characteristics that the best personal injury lawyers share.
If you have a strong case, your lawyer will likely be well-compensated for representing you. Therefore, you should be able to discuss your case and see if it’s a good fit — and if you want the lawyer representing you — without having to pay. A free case evaluation is standard practice in personal injury law.
Track Record of Success
When considering an attorney, you should make sure that they not only have experience with your case type but that they also have favorable outcomes. While most personal injury cases end in settlements, your potential lawyer should have a history of favorable and fair settlements. You should be able to check testimonials from former clients to make sure they got a satisfactory outcome.
You should have an idea of the fee structure and anticipated timeline of your case from your first meeting with an attorney. Many personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis — they get a percentage of your compensation when you receive a settlement or judgment.
No matter how they bill, you should know what to expect. For example, are there any upfront costs? Should you expect an update in weeks or months?
You should feel listened to by the people who will be working on your case, and they should make sure you’re kept up-to-date on your case from the very beginning.
Finding the Right Personal Injury Lawyer
How you feel when first meeting your potential lawyer is a strong indicator of what it will be like working with them going forward.
If you don’t know where to start in your search for an accident lawyer or other personal injury attorney, our team at LawFirm.com can help. If you have a case, contact us today and we can put you in touch with experienced personal injury attorneys who can discuss your case and help you move forward in pursuing compensation for your injuries.
FAQs About Personal Injury Lawyers
How much does it cost to hire a personal injury lawyer?
Often, hiring a personal injury lawyer won’t involve any upfront fees or costs. Most work on a contingency basis, so you would not pay them anything for their services or for court fees unless you receive compensation for your injury.
Because they only get paid a small percentage of your compensation, contingent fee lawyers work hard to get you the most compensation possible.
Why do I need a personal injury lawyer?
Personal injury lawyers have experience that can prove invaluable in getting you the help you need when you’ve been hurt.
Most likely, your injury is one you’ve only suffered once. Whether it’s a motorcycle accident or a traumatic brain injury from a slip and fall at a grocery store, it’s probably a once-in-a-lifetime event. For an experienced personal injury attorney, however, it’s something they’ve seen and worked on dozens or hundreds of times.
This means that they have a sense of what medical bills you may face in the future and how your injury may impact future earning potential. Your lawyer has experience with the amount of pain and suffering typical for your injury and the compensation they can get for it.
On top of that, your lawyer has experience dealing with the bureaucracies involved. Whether it’s the courts, the police, or the insurance companies, your lawyer will have years of work with these people and institutions that can lead to a faster and more favorable resolution than you could get on your own.
How do I find top personal injury lawyers near me?
There are a lot of ways to find lawyers near you. You can reach out to a local bar association, seek recommendations from friends and family, or simply do a Google search. No matter how you find your attorney, don’t hesitate to look at reviews and gather information about them before agreeing to representation.
If you need help finding the right personal injury attorney, contact us at LawFirm.com to see if our team can put you in touch with an attorney with the experience and expertise you need.
Is there special training for personal injury lawyers?
Technically, anyone licensed to practice law in your state can represent you in any case.
In reality, however, you should find an attorney who specializes as much as possible in your exact type of case. While there are no requirements to represent someone in a personal injury case — outside of being a licensed attorney — there are many certifications and recognitions for personal injury lawyers.
In many states, for example, completing a certain amount of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) earns an attorney certification in personal injury law. Practicing in personal injury for a length of time, typically ten years or more, will also be recognized by some state bar associations.
If a lawyer you’re considering tells you they are certified or a “personal injury specialist,” ask them what that means. While classes on personal injury law are probably helpful, they’re no substitute for experience and results.