A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who provides legal representation to those who claim to have been injured, physically or psychologically, as a result of the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, company, government agency, or other entity. Thus, personal injury lawyers tend to be especially knowledgeable and have more experience with regard to the area of law known as tort law, which includes civil wrongs and economic or non-economic damages to a person’s property, reputation, or rights.
Even though personal injury lawyers are trained and licensed to practice virtually any field of law, they generally only handle cases that fall under tort law including, but not limited to: work injuries, automobile and other accidents, defective products, medical mistakes, slip and fall accidents, and more.
The expression "trial lawyers" can refer to personal injury lawyers, even though most cases handled by personal injury lawyers settle rather than going to trial and other types of lawyers, such as defendants' lawyers and criminal prosecutors, also appear in trials.
A personal injury lawyer has numerous responsibilities in serving his or her clients. These responsibilities encompass both professional and ethical rules and codes of conduct set forth by state bar associations where the lawyers are licensed. Once licensed to practice law by their state bar association, lawyers are legally permitted to file legal complaints, argue cases in state court, draft legal documents, and offer legal advice to victims of personal injury.
Also referred to as a plaintiff lawyer, a personal injury lawyer is responsible for interviewing prospective clients and evaluating their cases to determine the legal matter, identify the distinct issues rooted within the plaintiff’s larger problem, and extensively research every issue to build a strong case. The ultimate professional responsibility of a personal injury lawyer is to help plaintiffs obtain the justice and compensation they deserve for their losses and suffering through advocacy, oral arguments, client counseling, and legal advice.
Personal injury lawyers must also adhere to strict standards of legal ethics when dealing with clients. While the guidelines vary according to state, the basic codes of conduct state that a lawyer must knowledgeably evaluate legal matters and exercise competence in any legal matter undertaken. Moreover, personal injury lawyers owe their clients a duty of loyalty and confidentiality and must work to protect their clients’ best interests.