A personal injury lawyer is one who predominantly practices in the field of law pertaining to the injury of a person or property, which encompasses physical, mental or injury to the person’s right, even. Mostly involving law of torts, a personal injury lawyer specializes in dealing with cases relating to insurances, personal/life insurance, medical claims, auto insurance, industrial accidents, workmen’s compensation, employment issues, breach of duty, negligence, defamation, etc. Hence, a personal injury lawyer also known as the plaintiff lawyer could be representing his client or the victim of an injury for not just physical impairment or mental distress but also infringement of his rights against a person, company, organization or a government authority for economic and non-economic compensation and damages.
A personal injury lawyer, fundamentally and essentially focuses on getting compensation for the victim of injury, and might get the case settled out of court with an adversary rather than going to trial, as a speedier way of procuring justice and relief to his client. The cases where a mutual settlement is not reached, a lawsuit follows, wherein the expertise of such a specialist is useful. A lawyer’s knowledge and command over the law, his control and handling of the situation and of course his inter-personal relationships add weight for purpose of settlement.
It is understood legally, ethically and morally that the duty of a personal injury lawyer includes:
1) Meeting prospective clients personally to appraise the state of affairs
2) Confidentiality, even if he chooses not to take up the matter
3) Counseling of client, suggesting the best legal methods to be adopted for speedier justice
4) Assess and evaluate, whether the client has a legal right and has it been infringed, whether the injury to the victim is due to personal negligence and if he is entitled to the compensation.
5) Study of the technical, legal, personal and practical aspects of the case and backing them with thorough research to build a foolproof case
6) Filing a legal complaint on behalf of the victim and drafting necessary legal documents.
7) Advocacy and submitting oral arguments when the case does go for trial
8) Speedy relief and justice by way of compensation both monetary or an order for a specific relief
In cases of physical impairment due to the victim’s trauma, financial issues and distress, a personal injury lawyer’s understanding of the law makes him a better judge of the situation and hence he can aid the victim better in getting the adequate compensation, which the victim would otherwise choose not to claim, or would not be aware of the procedure to make the claim. In cases of mental duress, for instance a defamation case, the personal injury lawyer acts as an armor, protecting the reputation and rights of the client from further damage, etc. Protecting the right and best interest of the victim or client is the foremost duty of such a lawyer and he is expected to act and do everything within his means to achieve such an objective.
Every country has different personal injury laws. There are even a code of ethics, rules and regulations for the practice of a lawyer in this particular field. Though specialization in a particular law is not required to practice as a personal injury lawyer, but it is a prerequisite to be a graduate in law. In some countries passing of certain ethical tests is required to practice as a trial or personal injury lawyer.