Personal Injury Lawyer – Career Overview:
Personal injury lawyers 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
- Auto Accidents
- Aviation Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Boating Accidents
- Brain Injuries
- Burn Injuries
- Construction Accidents
- Defective Products
- Insurance/Bad Faith
- Medical Malpractice
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Spinal Cord Injuries
- Wrongful Death
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?:
Personal injury lawyers often juggle large case loads, 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.
Personal Injury Lawyer Skills:
Personal Injury Lawyer Salaries:
Personal injury lawyers usually represent clients on a contingency basis, in which the attorney's fee represents a percentage (typically 30%-40%) of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved. This arrangement means that the plaintiff does not pay a fee unless the lawyer recovers money on his behalf.
Since litigation is on the rise and represents the bread and butter of many law firms, the employment outlook for personal injury attorneys is excellent. An uncertain economy, stricter regulation and company growth topped the reasons cited for anticipated increases in litigation in a recent litigation trends survey. However, tort reform - proposed changes in common law civil justice systems that would reduce tort litigation and cap damage awards – could potentially reduce the number of claims filed and the amount of damages recovered by plaintiff attorneys in the future.