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An injury lawyer is one who makes available legal services to people with claims of having been injured, physically and/or psychologically, due to the negligence of someone else, a company, a government agency or any other entity. The part of law called tort law is the primary area where injury lawyers practice. Some examples of the usual claims made with regards to personal injury include accidents from falls and slips, traffic collision accidents, workplace injuries, professional malpractice and defective products.
Injury lawyers are also referred to as trial lawyers. This does not mean that they are the only lawyers that appear in trials. Criminal prosecutors as well as defense attorneys equally appear in trials. Injury lawyers are called trial lawyers even though most of the claims end up being settled without recourse to court hearings. You may read this article for more.
Founded On Equity
Any legal system’s corner stone should be equity. It is expected that a situation that resulted in physical injury or financial loss (pecuniary injury) by the acts or negligence of another person calls for fairness in compensations. This is what drives the law on personal injury; the goal being to right wrongs that one has caused to another.
In cases like these, injured parties have claimants’ attorneys to act on their behalf, while the person or group accused of having a hand in the loss – by causing or worsening it – has defendants’ attorneys to come in for their defense. In a situation where the defendant is a carrier of an accident or malpractice insurance, a personal injury suit will involve the carrier and/or insurance company as part of the defendants during the proceedings.
A lawyer who works in this field will have a range of clients which will include private individuals, medical practitioners, employers and local authorities. The claimant’s lawyer begins by a collection and verification of the claims. The next thing to be done is a documentation of the injuries that occurred, then going on to calculate and record the expenses that resulted due to these injuries. With these calculations and estimations, the lawyer then draws conclusions on the lost time and income brought about by the injury and goes ahead to work out adequate or compensation due to the claimant. Furthermore, in a case requiring medical intervention, there will be need to go through medical reports and be ready for further checks as the case demands to further ascertain the facts supporting the case.
Defense Attorneys Seek Grounds to Shift Blame
While all the above efforts are being made, the defendant’s lawyer tries to see how the liability and subsequent compensation demanded from the accused can be reduced. S/he also looks into the possibility and to what extent the claimant might be culpable in the accident. The intention of this being to ensure that the amount to be paid in compensation and the fee for the trial, in the case of a guilty verdict, is minimal. Often, the lawyer would request an out-of-court settlement when possible, but at other times court proceedings are the route to settlement.
Qualities of An Injury Lawyer
An injury lawyer needs remarkable skills in people management. Daily working with so many types of people, it becomes very necessary that the counsel does not lose empathy or the ability to show and sustain genuine interest in the course of resolving the client’s problem. To be successful in this, a great deal of patience should always be kept handy. You can learn more about these qualities here: https://www.allaboutlaw.co.uk/stage/areas-of-law/personal-injury-law.
As with every field of human endeavor, this area of law is constantly being updated with new regulations and legislations. An attorney in this field is therefore expected to continually be abreast of relevant developments in that field. There is equally a necessity to be very knowledgeable in medical matters as a lot of personal injury litigations come from issues pertaining to medical practice. The capacity to familiarize oneself with issues that arise from medically-related claims is very necessary.
As is expected from anyone involved with thorny complex disputes, creative thinking is not just a plus, it is basic. To your creative thinking, other necessary additional qualities would be top rate negotiation and communication skills. All these requirements are on the assumption that the personal injury counsel has done due diligence in developing familiarity with laws pertaining to malpractice liability, insurance and professional negligence.
Attorneys get their fees in various ways which includes contingency fees, flat rates, and hourly rates. In quite a lot of countries, injury lawyers prefer the option of contingency fees; this is at times termed if-come fees. It is an arrangement where the lawyer is only due for compensation if the client’s claim is successful. If not, no fees will be paid by the claimant.
In certain jurisdictions, or by reason of retainer agreements between attorneys and clients, the legal fees amount could vary depending on the following conditions:
- If a case gets to be settled before the filing of the lawsuit.
- If is settled after the filing of the suit but before it goes on trial.
- Whether the lawsuit goes on trial.
For instance, the retainer agreement reached might make provisions for the lawyer to receive a contingency fee of 33% if the case is settled before the filing of a lawsuit, or a contingency fee of 40% if the case is settled after the lawsuit has been filed but before it comes up for trial, or a contingency fee of 45% after the lawsuit goes on trial.
The high litigation cost makes it rarely obtainable for injury lawyers to receive their fees on hourly arrangements. On the other hand though, defense attorneys, who are there to contest claims of injury, have their remuneration usually calculated by hourly counts.
Fees will usually be the product of agreements. For instance, in the case of car accident related losses, the plaintiff and the car accident lawyer will decide on what the fees would be.
Ethical and Qualitative Representation
A personal injury attorney is expected to provide conscientious representation to the claimant of injury. In this case, their utmost professional task is to see that the plaintiff gets due and just compensation for the losses suffered. This duty of the attorney is governed by rules and ethics. In the United States of America for instance, lawyers are under the regulation of behavioral codes put in place by bar associations of states.
These associations have the power and responsibility for disciplinary actions against erring lawyers guilty of the violation of ethical or professional regulations. States usually demand that every contingency agreement between a lawyer and her client must be put in writing. States also have the power to place limits to the maximum percentage that can be charged as contingency fee at the instance of recovery.
Criticisms of this Field Of Law
The practice of personal injury law has not been without criticism. Critics of this area of law always claim that litigations lead to an increased cost in services, production and in the general cost of doing business. The medical and insurance fields being major areas of litigations, critics of attorneys who are involved in claims of injury in the area of medical malpractice accuse them of being behind the growing healthcare cost. This they say is due to the number of litigations and settlements. They also accuse them of being responsible for driving medical doctors out of the medical field and as a result creating doctor shortages.
In the same way, they believe that car insurance is higher due to the job of the car accident lawyer.
Defenders of attorneys involved in representation of claimants of injury in these fields, especially the medical field, on the other hand, argue that such accusations are not substantiated. They say that there is insignificant evidence linking accepted tort reforms with defensive medicine or costs of medical liability. Furthermore, a bi-partisan study done in Texas showed tort that reforms do not have any impact with regards to a reduction in the cost of medicare. You can get the full gist here.
Injury law is a necessary and welcome development in dealing with the outcome of how individuals deal with one another, how individuals and groups deal with each other, or how groups deal with other groups. The presence of this field of law ensures that individuals and groups behave more responsibly knowing that careless and negligent behavior could turn out to be very expensive. Lastly, knowing that the state could ensure the righting of unjust behavior helps people to stay away from exacting vengeance themselves; a response that could get out of control and throw the society into chaos.