Accident and injury lawyers, often called “personal injury” lawyers, deal with civil litigation matters involving torts. These attorneys work with a variety of clients who have suffered injuries due to accidents caused by the negligence of others. Here is a broad overview of the kind of work thay do
Accident and injury lawyers do not represent plaintiffs or defendants in criminal matters. Instead, they represent plaintiffs who are bringing lawsuits in civil court. Plaintiffs who win their cases may receive:
Money awarded to a plaintiff as reimbursement for medical bills, loss of income or property, emotional distress, etc.
When the defendant is found to have been egregiously careless, juries may award punitive damages to the plaintiff. These awards can be quite large, well into millions of dollars.
Attorneys that work with personal injury cases are specialized in an area of law called torts. The word “tort” comes from the French “twisted, or wrongful.” Torts may be separated into three broad categories:
These are instances when someone deliberately acted in a way that caused another person injury. For instance:
The biggest volume of tort cases are in the negligence category. These cases involve injuries caused by negligence. Four elements must be present in order to prove negligence:
a) Duty of care: The legal obligation of an individual that requires that he maintain a standard of reasonable care while engaging in any acts that could harm other people.
b) Breach of duty: When a person fails to take reasonable care or exhibits unreasonable conduct during an activity that may cause harm to others.
c) Proximate cause: The main cause of an injury.
d) Damages: To prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that damages occurred and that those damages would have been reasonably foreseeable at the time.
Some law firms specialize in particular types of torts, which may include:
Due to the nature of personal injury claims, many plaintiffs are unable to pay for an attorney up front. Instead, many claims are handled on a percentage basis: plaintiffs who win their civil suits will pay a percentage of the awarded damages to their attorney.
Attorneys who specialized in personal injury cases have complex and often varied cases. Here are some facts about their work: