A personal injury lawyer represents people who have been harmed by negligent parties and fight for the compensation they are owed. If someone has died because of someone else’s actions, a personal injury lawyer may also represent the family members of the deceased.
Personal injury lawyers in Houston or anywhere else are typically involved in cases such as car accidents, medical malpractice, and defective product claims. Their primary goal is to ensure their clients receive fair compensation for their injuries or loss. The job description for a personal injury lawyer can be long and includes a wide range of duties in serving their clients.
A personal injury lawyer must at least hold a bachelor’s degree, but many earn a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree. A J.D. is the standard degree for lawyers. Some lawyers also choose to earn a Master of Laws (LL.M.) degree, which allows them to expand their knowledge in a specialized field such as tax law, environmental law, or international law.
Every state requires lawyers to pass a Bar Examination, and some states require attorneys to pass additional study and review courses before taking the Bar. Each state’s Bar Examination is different, but they all focus on aspects of business law, criminal law, and civil law, to name a few.
In addition to the education and credentials required, the following skills are essential for succeeding as a personal injury lawyer:
- Effective communication skills – necessary for building trust with clients and working with insurance companies and medical professionals.
- Negotiation skills – for ensuring clients receive the appropriate compensation and finding common ground.
- Research skills – ability to find information on laws, precedents, and case studies.
- Analytical skills – useful in determining the cause of an accident and the evidence necessary to support the client’s claim.
On any given day, personal injury lawyers are responsible for a wide range of duties, which include the following:
Personal injury lawyers are responsible for interviewing clients in order to understand the details of the case and determine a strategy for negotiating a settlement or representing them at trial. Because personal injury lawyers typically work on a contingency fee, it is important they thoroughly investigate the merits of a client’s case and the likelihood of success. In some instances, there may not be enough evidence to support a client’s claim, so it is important for personal injury lawyers to perform their due diligence before pursuing any legal action.
Communication is a key skill needed for lawyers and is crucial for understanding their client’s case, identifying any risks or adverse outcomes, and working out a strategy for settling with an insurance company or taking the case to court. Lawyers are also expected to keep their clients informed on the status of their claim and communicate clearly during all stages of the process. They will also make sure their clients understand their rights and the fair compensation that can be expected.
Once a personal injury lawyer accepts a client’s case, they will need to gather evidence in order to support the claim. Common pieces of evidence include a police report, medical documentation or photographs of injuries. A lawyer may also interview witnesses and gather statements. Additional evidence, such as camera footage of the accident or photos of property damage may also be gathered.
Evidence collected by a personal injury lawyer can help establish who is responsible for the accident and determine the extent of the damages. Medical bills, reports, disability documentation, can also be used as evidence in order to support a client’s claim. A lawyer will often advise their client to seek medical diagnosis and treatment to ensure sufficient support for their claim.
In some instances, an individual’s personal injury claim may be denied by their insurance company, and they will need to give advice and advocate for appealing this decision. Personal injury lawyers are responsible for communicating with insurance companies and medical providers to collect records for use in supporting their client’s claim.
Because most people are inexperienced with negotiating with insurance companies, but personal injury lawyers are used to it, and it is a crucial part of their job. Responsibilities include reviewing policy details and protecting their client from any actions that may jeopardize their claim, which can include giving a statement to the insurance company.
In addition to insurance companies, a personal injury lawyer will often need to negotiate with the other party’s attorney when negotiating a settlement. These tasks can include preparing legal documents such as motions, briefs, or settlement offers.
A crucial aspect of the negotiation process is not only what compensation is appropriate for the short-term but how the injury may impact their client’s life years down the road as well. When clients are dealing with the emotional and financial stress of their situation, a personal injury lawyer can provide the unbiased and objective lens necessary during the negotiation process.
Another responsibility of a personal injury lawyer is the drafting and sending of demand letters. Demand letters serve to notify the party the client is seeking damages from, usually an insurance company, that legal action is being taken in order to receive compensation. Injury claims usually involve monetary compensation due to medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering.
If an insurance company or other party refuses to settle, a personal injury lawyer will often prepare a complaint against the defendant on behalf of their client. Responsibilities at the stage include filing court documents and representing clients during court proceedings such as trials or hearings.
A lawyer also helps ensure the proper forms, language, and formatting are used prior to submitting documentation to court. When a personal injury case does go to trial, a lawyer helps their client navigate court procedures and ensures everything proceeds smoothly.
If you or a loved one are in need of legal assistance due to a personal injury caused by another party, contact Warren Allen LLP Attorneys at Law. Our team of dedicated personal injury attorneys will help you get the representation and compensation you deserve.