What is a Personal Injury Lawyer and When Do You Need One?
A personal injury lawyer has many names and wears many hats. We are called Plaintiff’s lawyers, negligence lawyers, product liability attorneys, tort lawyers, medical malpractice lawyers, injury lawyers, claimant’s lawyers and accident lawyers. Lawyers that represent victims of accidents or incidents where bodily injury is sustained range from cases involving car crashes, slip and falls, product failures , medical malpractice and negligent security cases. There are lawyers that represent victims of injuries caused by cigarette smoking. There are lawyers that specialize in cases involving defective automotive tires. There are lawyers that specialize in aviation disasters. Some lawyers have found a niche in pharmaceutical cases where drugs or medicines have caused harm. Still other lawyers specialize in cases involving injury and harm caused by criminal acts. Some lawyers do maritime cases involving cruise ships and vessels. The list goes on and on. What all of these lawyers have in common is that they represent individuals, not companies and the representation take place after the individual has suffered a physical or emotional injury or death.
Personal injury lawyers practice in civil, not criminal law. While occasionally, a case involving a civil harm or wrong can include a criminal component such as a DUI or criminal act that causes the harm, the majority of these claims are brought in an area of law known as tort law. A tort is a civil wrong. Claims can be brought in state or federal court, depending on the jurisdiction. The one common denominator that all injury lawyers must have, to be effective and competent, is an understanding of the nature and extent of their client’s injuries. In my view, this part of the practice is essential.
The victim of an accident that causes them injury or an incident of any kind that causes them harm needs to know what their legal rights and duties are. Personal injury lawyers are well versed in this particular area of law. A competent personal injury lawyer will provide, at no charge, a consultation to an injured person to evaluate their case, understand the facts and circumstances and guide them with reasonable expectations and outcome predictions. It is the job of a personal injury lawyer to fully and completely investigate, understand and be able to explain the unique nature of their client’s case. Every case is different. There are no two Plaintiff’s personal injury cases that are exact because every client is unique. No personal injury case has an absolute set value. Oftentimes, the value is determined by the facts of the case and extent of the harm. It is the job of the personal injury lawyer to maximize their client’s recovery by developing those facts, exploring all possible sources of recovery, and presenting their client’s unique case in the way that makes it most valuable.
In a case with significant injuries and damages, a thorough personal injury lawyer will not only meet with the client to discuss the case but meet with the client’s physicians and healthcare providers. The lawyer will meet with family members, friends, co-workers and other witnesses to the facts of the injury and damage suffered by the client. It is the lawyer’s job to gather all relevant information, evidence and data so that the attorney can offer the best advice and counsel and the client can make the best decision possible. With proper goals and expectations, the lawyer can present the case in the light most favorable to achieving a result that is in their client’s best interests.
The lawyer must know the medicine. They must fully and completely understand what their client has experienced, why they experienced it, when they experienced it and what the effects of that experience, injury or condition can be. It is incumbent upon a lawyer to read the medical records and fully and completely become conversant with them. An unprepared lawyer is the client’s worst enemy. A lawyer must understand the economic impact of their client’s situation in addition to the physician impact. Not only must the lawyer know how much the medical bills and financial losses are from the past but also what those future damages will be. Oftentimes, this requires that the lawyer retain an expert witness versed in vocational rehabilitation, economic analysis, forensic accounting, physical medicine and rehabilitation or other disciplines in order to accurately project the client’s future damages. Courts have rigid evidentiary standards for the admission of evidence. Not only must the lawyer be intimately familiar with the rules of evidence and civil procedure, but the lawyer must understand how their client’s damages, losses and harms can be presented in order to meet these rigid evidentiary requirements and standards of proof.
The lawyer that sits in their office all day with their feet on their desk settling cases with no real understanding of the facts do their client a true disservice. They oftentimes under value a case and overlook significant elements that make a case worth far in excess of the quick, pre-suit settlement they achieve. Many times, especially in the more significant cases, it requires comprehensive litigation in order to fully develop the case and prove to the defense the merits and value of the claims. Sometimes even that doesn’t work, and the case must be presented to a jury for determination of its true value. The trial lawyer that handles injury cases understands this fact and fully understands the type of preparation and expense the proper handling of an injury claim requires.
When a person is injured because someone is careless or has failed to follow basic safety rules and obligations, a claim can and should be made to redress that wrong and put the client back in the position they would have been in but for that mistake, error, or negligence. That is the job of a personal injury lawyer; to restore the client to the position they were in before the harm occurred or to make them whole for the damages, loss and harm they suffered.
If you or a loved one have suffered injury or damage as a result of a careless person, company or entity, Jeffrey R. Davis, P.A. is a personal injury law firm that specializes in injury claims. We take the time to learn about our client’s case, understand the medicine and spare no expense in proving that our client is entitled to compensation. Our phones are answered on a 24-hour basis and we are bilingual. Our firm has more than 30 years of experience represent only persons injured in accidents – we do not represent insurance companies. Please call us at (305) 577-3777 for a free case review.
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