A personal injury attorney is a lawyer who provides legal representation to someone who claims to have suffered a physical or psychological injury as a result of the carelessness or bad actions of another person, company, or government agency. Personal injury lawyers are especially knowledgeable in the area of law known as tort law. Tort law includes civil wrongs (in English and Welsh law) and economic or non-economic damages to a person’s property, reputation, or rights. Examples would be a wrongful death case against a drunk driver who killed someone in an accident, or loss of wages for someone injured at work.
Even though personal injury attorneys are trained and licensed to practice virtually any field of law, most only take cases that fall under tort law. They generally only handle cases such as work injuries, car and other accidents, defective products, medical mistakes, or slip and fall accidents.
The phrase “trial lawyers” can also refer to personal injury lawyers, even though most cases handled by personal injury lawyers are settled out of court rather than going to trial. And other types of lawyers, such as defense lawyers and criminal prosecutors, also appear in trials.
A personal injury attorney has numerous responsibilities in serving his or her clients. These responsibilities include professional and ethical rules and codes of conduct set forth by state bar associations where the lawyers are licensed. Once licensed to practice law by their state bar association, personal injury lawyers are legally allowed to file legal complaints, write legal documents, argue cases in court, and offer legal advice to people who are injured.
These lawyers must also adhere to strict standards of legal ethics when dealing with clients. While the guidelines vary according to state, the basic guidelines state that a lawyer must evaluate legal matters and exercise competence in any legal matter undertaken. Moreover, personal injury lawyers owe their clients a duty of loyalty and confidentiality and must work to protect their clients’ best interests.