What is a personal injury lawyer?

Have you ever heard an attorney describe himself as a personal injury lawyer? Did you wonder what that meant?

A personal injury lawyer is one who focuses his practice on the field of law known as torts. A tort is a wrongful injury to a person or his or her property.

Attorneys who focus on torts usually deal with cases of wrongful injury to a person as opposed to property. So a personal injury lawyer is one who focuses his practice on the wrongful injuries to persons.

There are three categories of torts: negligence, intentional torts, and strict liability.

Negligence is the failure to act as an ordinary, reasonable, and prudent person in excercising due care in a given set of circumstances. Negligence does not require any intent or purpose to cause the resulting harm. For example, a driver of a car may be careless in operating the motor vehicle and cause injuries to a passenger. The driver did not intend to cause accident or the injuries. However, the law of negligence will hold him liable for the injuries sustained by the passengers as well as property damage.

Intentional torts are actions expressly designed to injure another person or that person's property. With intentional torts, there is a purpose or intent to perform the action that causes the resulting injuries. An example is a person who throws a punch at another. Because he had the intent or purpose to cause harm, he is liable for any resulting injuries. He may intend only to cause pain, but he would be liable for a broken nose.

Strict liability makes a person liable for injuring another without regard to negligence, intent or fault. Because the person engaged in a particualar activity, for example keeping a wild animal, he is held responsible for any injuries to persons or property caused by that activity. The most important type of strict liability is products liability, a rule under which the manufacturer or seller of an unreasonably dangerous or defective product is held liable for injuries the product causes.

Personal injury lawyers may limit there practice to certain types of cases. One personal injury lawyer may do negligence cases but decide not to handle product liability cases. Another may decide to handle automobile accidents but not slip and falls. It depends on the attorney and the focus of his or her practice.

Personal injury attorneys are sometimes called trial lawyers even though they may settle more cases than they try.

If you've been hurt in an accident, a personal injury attorney can help you decide what to do. Here are some top reasons for hiring a personal injury attorney.

1. They have experience assessing claims. Personal injury attorneys have handled hundreds of cases like your and can tell you at the outset whether yours is a claim worth pursuing.

2. They offer no fees if you don't recover. Most personal injury attorneys offer a contingency fee, which means that if you do not win your cases, you do not owe any attorney's fees. Depending on the attorney and the state, you may be responsible for certain fees such as copying costs or expert witness fees.

3. They can be objective. A personal injury attorney can be more objective about your case than you are and can help you avoid making a rash decision. You may be tempted to take a quick settlement offer but your attorney may counsel you that it is best to wait for a more appropriate offer.

4. They have experience working with other lawyers. Personal injury attorneys work with other attorneys on a daily basis and can most effectively deal with opposing counsel.

5. They have experience with insurance companies. Personal injury attorneys also deal with insurance companies on a regular basis and are familiar with their tactics. You attorney will not feel pressured to accept an inadequate settlement amount.

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