What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

How an attorney advocates for your needs and wishes

By Tim Kelly, J.D. | Reviewed by Canaan Suitt, J.D. | Last updated on April 6, 2023

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Personal injury lawyers are licensed legal practitioners representing clients who have been injured by other persons or entities (such as businesses or organizations).

Let’s say you were in a car accident and the driver of the other vehicle was at fault. You decide to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover the cost of your medical bills. In these instances, an experienced personal injury lawyer is essential. Your attorney will provide vital legal advice, file the lawsuit, and guide you through all stages as the suit navigates its way through the legal system.


But we’ve only scratched the surface of what a personal injury attorney can do for you. Keep reading to find out more.

What Types of Cases Do Personal Injury Lawyers Handle?

Personal injury attorneys work in tort law, one of the more complicated practice areas. As you might expect, this area typically involves accident cases where one person (the plaintiff) sues the allegedly responsible party (the defendant) for damages.

No two accident cases are alike, and personal injury cases come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties. Here are some of the more common types of personal injury cases that lawyers handle:

  • Wrongful death lawsuits. These are cases where the injured party did not recover, and their loved ones are now filing a personal injury lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
  • Motor vehicle accidents. In this type of case, accident victims file a personal injury claim against the party or parties they deem responsible for the car accident. Note that two litigating parties can accuse each other of causing the accident.
  • Slip and fall accidents. These accidents make up part of a practice area known as premises liability. This is where a visitor to a property incurs serious injuries and sues the owner of that property. An example would be a wet floor in a grocery store that isn’t marked with a caution sign.
  • Medical malpractice. There are times when medical treatment is inadequate. When a patient’s medical care aggravates a patient’s pain and suffering, that patient might have a medical malpractice case on their hands. There are attorneys in personal injury law specializing primarily in litigating in and around the healthcare industry.
  • Defective products. This covers an area of personal injury law known as product liability. Here, the plaintiff has used a product and alleges a defect in that product caused their injuries. Injury victims can sue the party responsible for the defect and any businesses that later touched the product in the stream of commerce.
  • Property damage. Some personal injury cases don’t even refer to physical injuries. In these cases, the damage can be to one’s property, such as their home or car. Here, the plaintiff seeks financial compensation from the at-fault party to repair the destruction allegedly caused by the defendant.

What Are Some Duties of a Personal Injury Lawyer?

A personal injury attorney plays many roles and has many responsibilities throughout the life of a lawsuit. Here are a few:

  • Provide free case evaluations. One of the easiest ways attorneys secure clients is by providing free consultations. These are sit-downs between accident victims and attorneys working at personal injury law firms. An attorney can hear the facts and advise whether the victim has a case.
  • Discuss attorney fees. Experienced personal injury attorneys will discuss payment early on. Whether they work on a retainer or contingency fee basis, don’t hesitate to discuss your attorney’s financial compensation as early as possible.
  • File the personal injury claim. The attorney files the actual claim with the court as well as any appropriate motions and injunctions during the case’s lifespan.
  • Gather evidence. As the attorney prepares for a potential trial, they will gather evidence on behalf of your case. Your legal representation will review documents and evidence such as medical records and video recordings – anything that can be of use in a trial.
  • Work with the insurance company. Attorneys will work with a party’s insurance company to determine the maximum level of financial compensation you should be entitled to.
  • Negotiate settlement offers. The majority of cases in the US do not go to trial. Instead, most cases are settled out of court before ever reaching trial. A great personal injury attorney will be versed in negotiating settlement offers and will work to secure the best outcome possible.

Is It Worth Getting a Personal Injury Lawyer?

With medical expenses being what they are, it may cost you more in the long run not to have capable legal representation. Personal injury cases can bring resolution to injury victims, making them whole again through adequate financial compensation.

Search the Super Lawyers directory for an experienced personal injury attorney who can afford you the best chance of securing a favorable outcome. 

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