Personal injury attorney

A personal injury attorney acts on behalf of injured parties who lodge claims for physical and psychological pain or harm done. Normally the party lodges a claim against a third party which may include the government, municipal authority, another person, or a company. The idea for the claim is to gain compensation or retribution in some form. Personal injury attorney jobs thus entail working with civil cases regarding damage to a person, his or her rights, name and or property.

Although the personal injury attorney jobs can include work in any legal field as they are qualified to handle all types of law cases, they normally focus on work related injuries, vehicle collisions, damage caused by faulty equipment and products, medical related faults, slipping, falling or getting hurt in a public place or a premise as the result of for instance, a hole in the floor, broken lift etc.

Responsibilities involved in personal injury attorney jobs

They have to file claims, research cases and litigate cases in court. More often than not settlements are reached without ever going to court. They have to draw up legal letters and agreements and provide their clients with advice on matters regarding civil law suits in terms of injuries or harm sustained.

The lawyers have to conduct interviews with injured parties to assess their cases and to identify the cause of the problem. They build a case around the information gathered from an interview. The work entails a lot of research and negotiation. People skills, litigation abilities, and an eye for detail are attributes required for personal injury attorney jobs.

Ethical obligations

Their ethical obligation is to get compensation for the losses sustained on behalf of their clients. This may include the admission of evidence, oral arguments, and legal procedures. They must comply with all legal requirements for client and lawyer confidentiality and act in an ethical manner. They must be loyal to their clients without judgment.

Study

In order to get personal injury attorney employment, the person must have passed the bar examination in the USA and if in the UK must have passed 11 courses approved by the Law Society. See our sections on places to study and what to study to become a lawyer. In addition to the bar examination in the USA, the person must also have passed the Multi-state Professional Responsibility Exam. They must also qualify in a course approved by the ABA for certification in a specialist area if they want to specialize in specific areas.

Personal injury attorney employment path

Once they have passed the regulations as set by their country they can take on any case without having experience in the field. Ethically spoken, they will normally acquire the assistance of a more experienced attorney to ensure that the best interests of their clients take priority. Most of the attorneys focus their attention on particular areas as this ensures that they can become well versed in that specific field to the best interest of clients.

The categories in personal injury employment are as follow:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Wrongful death
  • Accident claims
  • Injuries sustained at the workplace
  • Aviation or boat accidents
  • Product liabilities
  • Personal injuries in public places
  • Sickness as the result of a product or company.

Self employed

They may choose to set-up a practice or join a law firm as a junior partner or as an associate. Sole proprieties can also be set-up and hold several benefits for the clients who for instance, obtain more attention and normally have to pay less than would have been the case if the attorney was part of a large law firm.

The sizes of legal practices generally vary from one to twelve attorneys who each specialize in a specific area and can thus offer a wider range of legal services. Large legal firms often have up to fifty attorneys to handle cases in all law fields. The largest legal firms with 60 or more lawyers offer a large pool of expertise although working in such a firm may mean years before a person gets to partnership level.

Income

The fee structure is based on type of work, time used, expertise required, costs incurred and difficulty of the case. They can charge hourly rates or flat rates. They can also require a contingency fee where the attorney receives part of the compensation awarded to the client if the case is successfully handled on behalf of the client. Most of the lawyers charge the latter according to every hour spent on the case where a percentage is paid before legal steps are taken.

Personal injury attorney employment is not for the faint hearted, but if you are willing to go the extra mile for a client and base your fees on success rate, you will have a large client base and a full case load.