What is a Personal Injury Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in an accident, you may need the help of a personal injury attorney. This type of lawyer provides legal services to people who have been physically or psychologically injured due to another’s negligence. A personal injury attorney is sometimes called an accident attorney since they help people seek damages after accidents happen.
A personal injury attorney can help you file a claim for compensation against the person, business, government agency, or other entity whose negligence resulted in your injury. This type of attorney fights on your behalf and handles any negotiations or court proceedings so you can recover fair compensation for your injuries.
Kind of Law a Personal Injury Attorney Handles
Personal injury attorneys primarily practice tort law, a type of civil law. Tort law is intended to provide compensation for proven harms, such as the injuries suffered from an accident. While some personal injury claims make it to civil court, many settle out of court.
Your personal injury attorney is involved throughout the legal process and can help strengthen your personal injury claim. Personal injury attorneys handle various claims, including those involving:
- Traffic accidents
- Slip and fall injuries
- Workplace injury claims
- Injuries from defective products
Car and Truck Accidents
Car and truck accidents are common and can leave you or a loved one with serious injuries. Personal injury attorneys represent people who have been hurt by the negligence of other drivers. They can help you file a personal injury claim in civil court and can investigate and gather evidence for your case.
Your personal injury attorney takes on powerful insurance companies on your behalf, who are often reluctant to pay. They will represent you if your case goes to civil court and negotiate on your behalf during the settlement process.
Uber and Lyft Accidents
With the increased use of rideshare companies such as Lyft and Uber, new legal questions have emerged about determining fault and negligence in these cases. There are fewer safeguards in place to protect riders than taxi and bus companies offer.
Personal injury lawyers understand the complicated liability process and help people injured in rideshare accidents get fair compensation. Your attorney handles all communications with insurance company lawyers and fights to protect your rights.
Motorcycle riders face a higher risk of injury than drivers of cars since their body is more exposed. Negligent drivers who fail to yield to motorcyclists or simply drive distracted can cause serious accidents and injuries. Even minor motorcycle accidents can result in hospitalization and significant medical expenses.
A personal injury attorney holds negligent drivers accountable and ensures you are compensated for your financial losses after an accident. They gather evidence to support your claim and represent you legally in court and through settlements.
Drivers must give pedestrians the right of way but often fail to yield. Speeding, failing to stop for school busses, and distracted driving are common forms of driver negligence resulting in pedestrian accidents.
Getting hit by a car is a horrible experience that requires extensive medical care, time off work, and incurs countless other expenses, such as attendant care. If you are a pedestrian suffering from injuries caused by a negligent driver, a personal injury attorney can help you seek justice.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Many slip, trip, and fall accidents are preventable if property owners take reasonable action to keep walkways and high-traffic areas on their premises free of hazards. Unfortunately, negligence happens, and you can suffer injuries as a result. Businesses and property owners who fail to mark hazards or properly maintain their buildings or grounds can be liable for resulting injuries.
Slip and fall cases often require a detailed investigation into the injury’s circumstances and evidence proving fault/negligence. In California, slip and fall accidents may result in a premises liability claim. This type of case is typically brought to litigation and presented to a jury in court. The property owner may try to pin some of the blame on you, which is why you need a strong legal defense.
How Much Does a Personal Injury Attorney Cost?
Reputable personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning they won’t get paid unless you receive compensation.
Approximately two to three weeks following judgment, you pay your personal injury attorney the agreed-upon fee from the check you receive for your settlement amount. This fee is typically a percentage of the compensation you receive. The portion of your contingency fee can vary, as each law firm determines its fees. Personal injury attorneys charge on average 33%, meaning you pay them this percentage of the compensation you’re awarded.
There can also be other costs associated with your case. These expenses can include fees from filing your claim, expenses for document retrieval and preparation, and costs to hire outside investigators or expert witnesses for your case. You can discuss what added services and costs to expect for your case with your attorney.
Before hiring a personal injury attorney to take your case, make sure you understand their fees and additional expenses. You and your personal injury attorney should agree to all terms and sign a written agreement.
How Do You Become a Personal Injury Attorney in CA?
Personal injury attorneys in California receive extensive education before they can practice law.
- Post-Secondary Degree: Attend a college or university and typically major in pre-law, political science, or another social science concentration.
- LSAT: After completing their Bachelor’s Degree, they take the Law School Administration Test, also known as the LSAT, to qualify for admission to law school.
- Law School: Law school requires three years of legal studies. All students take the same courses during their first year. These include torts and civil procedures, along with legal research and writing classes. Second year classes build off this, but students have more freedom to choose courses based on their interests. Students participate in moot court and law review during this year. The third year involves more preparation for their career, including clinical work. Check to see that your personal injury attorney took a civil litigation course in law school. Once they graduate from law school, the attorney earns a Juris Doctor (JD).
- Bar Exam: In California, they have to pass the California Bar Exam, which covers laws and legal topics specific to the state. All lawyers must pass the same bar exam, no matter the type of law they’re interested in practicing.
- MPRE: They also have to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE), which measures their understanding of standards of professional conduct. After completing all educational and exam requirements, they can practice law in California.
Choosing a Personal Injury Attorney
Many people choose a personal injury attorney based on the recommendations of friends, family, or colleagues. Others research law firms using client testimonials and reviews. Find out what former clients liked about a specific personal injury lawyer and if there were things they didn’t like about the experience.
Most personal injury attorneys offer free consultations, allowing you to meet them without the obligation of hiring them. This is an excellent way to learn more about their experience and what to expect if you decide to work with their firm.
A personal injury lawyer with experience handling cases like yours who can answer your questions and provide relevant information during a consultation is an excellent candidate to represent you.
Are Personal Injury Attorneys Worth Hiring?
A personal injury attorney is worth hiring in most cases. If your claim is small, your injuries are minor, and the fault and evidence are clear cut, you may not need an attorney. But the factors in your case could be more complicated than they first appear, and a personal injury attorney may be able to get you a larger settlement than you could get on your own.
A personal injury lawyer is worth hiring if you’re dealing with a more serious injury or a complicated case. It will be hard to manage your claim independently, and you won’t have the resources an attorney can provide to investigate and gather evidence.
A personal injury attorney’s knowledge of the law and experience gives you a stronger argument against negligent parties and insurance companies. Plus, you won’t pay a dime until they help you receive compensation.
How Shirvanian Law Can Help
If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, a personal injury attorney can help. Consider The Shirvanian Law Firm, a full-service litigation law firm that handles various personal injury cases. Our approach centers on communication, transparency, and efficiency.
We understand the importance of keeping you informed on the status of your case and communicating with you about all significant developments as they arise. Our legal team takes a compassionate approach, understands your difficulties, and helps you feel comfortable discussing your case.
We’re also committed to efficient and cost-effective methods that maximize your results. Our law firm has a solid reputation in the Southern California legal community and among our former clients. We work hard to help our clients recover the compensation they deserve after an accident. Contact us today for a free consultation of your case.