A personal injury lawyer, also known as a plaintiff lawyer or trial lawyer, is a type of civil litigator who provides legal representation to plaintiffs alleging a physical or psychological injury as a result of the negligent or careless acts of another person, entity or organization.
Personal injury attorneys specialize in an area of law known as tort law which includes private or civil wrongs or injuries, including defamation and actions for bad faith breach of contract.
The main goal of tort law is to make the injured party whole and to discourage others from committing the same offense.
Personal injury lawyers help plaintiffs receive compensation for their losses, including loss of earnings capacity (due to an inability to work), pain and suffering, reasonable medical expenses (both present and expected), emotional distress, loss of consortium or companionship, legal costs and attorney fees. Personal injury attorneys also work to safeguard clients from being victimized by insurance companies and the legal system.
Types of Personal Injury Cases
Any case or claim that involves an injury to the body or mind falls under the umbrella of personal injury law. Some of the most common types of cases handled by a personal injury lawyer are:
Animal Bite Injuries
Nursing Home Abuse
Slip and Fall Accidents
Spinal Cord Injuries
What does a personal injury attorney do?
Typical tasks include investigating claims; screening potential clients and evaluating the merits of their case; gathering evidence; formulating legal theories; researching case law; drafting pleadings, motions and discovery; interviewing and deposing witnesses; preparing for trial; advocating at trial; and counseling clients.
Personal injury attorneys often juggle large caseloads, tight deadlines and demanding clients. However, many lawyers find the most rewarding aspect of personal injury practice is helping injured victims and their families seek justice through the legal system.
Since many personal injury lawsuits are extremely complex, personal injury lawyers may specialize in certain niche types of cases. For example, personal injury attorneys who handle medical malpractice may specialize in breach births; personal injury attorneys who routinely litigate motor vehicle accidents may specialize in ATV rollover accidents.
Personal injury lawyers pursue the same path of training and education as every lawyer; they must earn a law degree and pass a written bar examination. Personal injury attorneys can also become certified as a specialist in civil trial advocacy by completing a specialty certification program accredited by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, a non-profit organization accredited by the American Bar Association to provide board certification for attorneys.