What Do Personal Injury Lawyers Do?
January 5th, 2018
It’s probably self-evident that personal injury lawyers represent people who have been injured. However, that doesn’t fully explain what a personal injury lawyer does, what type of cases they handle, or how they can benefit you if you’ve been hurt.
What Type of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?
Some of the most common types of personal injury cases include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall cases
- Dog bites
These and other personal injury cases are based in negligence. To establish liability and win a judgment in favor of the injured party, the personal injury lawyer must establish that:
- The defendant had a duty to the plaintiff
- The defendant breached (failed to fulfill) that duty
- The plaintiff was injured as a result of that failure
Personal injury attorneys also commonly handle certain types of cases that don’t strictly fall within the personal injury classification. The most common of these are:
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
These causes of action are governed by different laws, and so the evidence necessary to establish liability differs. For example, an employer need not have been negligent for a worker to successfully pursue a worker’s compensation claim.
In some cases, more than one type of claim may come into play in the same case. For example, a person who is injured by falling materials on a job site will generally have a workers’ compensation claim, but may also have a negligence claim against the company whose employee dropped the load, or a product liability claim against the manufacturer or a faulty piece of equipment that contributed to the accident.
The interplay among possible claims may seem complicated, but an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to sort out and explain the different liabilities, and will know how to assemble each type of claim on your behalf.
How Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?
When an injured person consults with a Texas personal injury attorney, the first thing the attorney will do is listen to the injured party’s story and ask questions. This will help the attorney identify any possible responsible parties. Often, the person who has been hurt won’t have enough information to make this determination.
For example, if the injury occurred as the result of a car accident, the victim may not realize that people other than the driver of the other vehicle may share responsibility. Some possibilities include the registered owner of the car that caused the accident, the driver’s employer, or a local bar that served the driver too much alcohol.
The personal injury lawyer can also:
- Give the injured party an educated estimation as to the likelihood of success and the damages that may be available
- Ensure that all deadlines and technical requirements are met
- Serve as a buffer between the injured party and unscrupulous insurance company representatives
- Assemble evidence on behalf of the injury victim
- Identify, interview, and prepare witnesses
- Locate, hire, and work with experts, including:
- Medical experts
- Economic experts
- Accident reconstructionists
- Serve discovery motions and assess the strength of the defense case
- Take depositions from defense witnesses and experts
- Negotiate for a favorable settlement of the case
- Prepare the case for trial
- Select the best jury available based on knowledge and experience
- Present your case clearly, compellingly, and in accordance with the rules of civil procedure
- Use motions and objections to limit or exclude evidence presented by the defense where possible
- Make a persuasive closing argument to the jury
If some of the tasks described above are unfamiliar to you—if, for example, you don’t know what it means to serve discovery motions, or how one might use an economic expert in a personal injury trial—that may be the best illustration of the value of a personal injury lawyer.
When you’ve been seriously injured and are recovering and rebuilding, the last thing you need is to take on responsibility for learning not only the substantive issues relating to your personal injury claim, but the many strict procedural requirements associated with any civil lawsuit. Fortunately, with a seasoned personal injury attorney on your side, you won’t have to. Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. are here to help.