At Lawyer Legion, we created a directory of personal injury attorneys. You can search our directory by state, city, or zip code. Find a list of profiles for different personal injury attorneys in a particular city or state near you.
The profiles have information on the attorney's membership and leadership in legal organizations related to personal injury, speaking engagements at quality CLE seminars, and participation in specialty certification programs for civil trial law.
When you call the personal injury attorney you can ask important questions such as:
Personal injury attorneys investigate the facts of the case, calculate the damages, give legal advice and seek to maximize the amount of any settlement on behalf of their client.
Read this article to learn more about how to find the best personal injury attorney for your particular type of lawsuit, how much personal injury attorneys make, what the attorney charges and questions to ask the attorney during the initial consultation. Seek out the services of an experienced lawyer to find the best legal advice for your type of personal injury or accident claim.
When a person has been wronged by another party, the United States legal system allows that person to seek justice in civil courts. If the wrong stems from an agreement between the parties, then there is a contract dispute. If, however, there is no existing agreement between the parties, then the civil action is called a "tort."
Torts are commonly called "personal injury law." Most tort claims require a showing of a duty owed to the Plaintiff, a breach of that duty by the Defendant, a showing that the breach caused the damages, and a showing that damages actually occurred.
Unlike criminal law, which requires statutes explicitly forbidding acts, personal injury law is often derived from "common law." The common law comes from the judicial tradition that evolves over the years.
State and federal statutes have an effect on personal injury, but decisions are often based on principles espoused by the legal system. Louisiana, where the law is derived from the state's code, is the exception.
The plaintiff, or person filing the lawsuit, must show that, more likely than not, every element of their claim element is met in order to recover. This is called the burden of proof.
In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove that the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. On the other hand, in a civil case, the standard is by a preponderance of the evidence or slight tipping of the scales. In a personal injury case, the plaintiff only must show that there is more than a 50 percent chance that what he or she says happened, happened. If the plaintiff can prove his or her case, the defendant, or person being sued, is found "liable."
Different types of torts for personal injury claims include intentional torts, negligence, strict liability, and product liability. Each different type of claim has different elements.
Intentional torts include assault, battery, slander, libel, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass, malicious prosecution, abuse of process, and conversion. Three different elements typically apply to intentional torts claims:
Unlike other tort claims, the plaintiff is not required to prove that he or she was damaged for the defendant to be found liable. In intentional torts, punitive damages may be available, depending on the jurisdiction. Punitive damages are to punish the defendant for his or her bad actions.
Negligence claims occur when the defendant was supposed to act a certain way, or not act in a certain way, and fails to do so. Negligence is the primary theory behind most slip and fall cases, auto accident cases and medical malpractice cases. There are four major elements to negligence claims:
Strict liability means that the defendant is liable for damages, regardless of whether or not he or she was at fault. This usually applies when the defendant is engaged in a dangerous activity, such as anything involving explosives.
For example, if a mining company is using explosives on a mine and exercised every precaution, but a piece of debris still flew off and hit the plaintiff, then that company is likely liable. It is also applicable to an animal that has previously shown a propensity to be dangerous or is a wild animal. For instance, if a dog that has previously bitten a person before gets loose by no fault of the owner and bites another person, the owner is likely liable.
The elements to a strict liability claim are the same as the elements for a negligence claim, except that the plaintiff must show the defendant had an absolute duty to maintain safety.
Different types of theories can apply to a products liability claim, but the general concept is that companies should not place defective products into the stream of commerce. Possible liable parties could include the manufacturer, the shipper and the merchant who sold the product.
A defect can be either a manufacturing defect or a design defect. A manufacturing defect means the product was different from other products in a way that makes it dangerous beyond the expectation of a normal consumer. A design defect means the entire line of products is defective because of a flaw in the design, and a less dangerous alternative or change to the product would have been economically feasible.
In many cases, the defendant will be covered by an insurance policy. Legally, all drivers must carry at least liability insurance on their vehicles. Most commercial establishments will have an insurance policy to cover accidents that occur on the premises. Many individuals have homeowner's insurance policies that at least cover accidents that occur on their property, and many have policies that cover other instances in which they get sued.
If the offending act is covered by the policy, the insurance company will typically represent the defendant. Insurance companies will often attempt to settle matters, calculating that the cost of litigating the matter is more than the settlement they offer or calculating that it is likely they will lose. The plaintiff's lawyer will often seek to negotiate a higher settlement. It is up to the plaintiff whether or not to accept a settlement offer.
If the defendant is not covered by an insurance policy, recovering for damages might be significantly more difficult, especially if the defendant is an individual. Tools like liens or wage garnishment may be available, depending on the jurisdiction and the situation. However, some people are "judgment proof," meaning that regardless of their liability, they are unable to pay.
In most cases, the jury will decide the amount of damages to be awarded. Judges and appellate courts may reduce this amount, however. Several states have limited the ability of plaintiffs to seek justice from a jury of peers by placing a cap on the amount of damages that may be awarded. This is sometimes called "tort reform." It most often occurs for medical malpractice cases, but some state legislatures, at the behest of insurance companies, have expanded it farther.
Many types of incidents can lead to a personal injury claim:
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Attorneys who practice personal injury law have a significant stake in issues pertaining to access to courts and the right to a trial by jury. Additionally, personal injury lawyers are litigators, and litigation is a skill that must be practiced continually. It is advantageous for them to join an organization that both lobbies on such issues and provides continuing legal education. The American Association for Justice is just such a national organization.
Additionally, the AAJ has many state affiliates, and there are other state civil justice organizations and trial lawyer associations that attorneys may join to stay on top of local and state law.
Another important organization for personal injury and civil trial law attorneys is the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA). Since 1958, the American Board of Trial Advocates (known as "ABOTA") has worked to advance the civil jury trial and elevate the standards of integrity, civility, and professionalism in the legal profession. The organization has more than 6,700 members including lawyers and judges spread among 95 Chapters in all 50 States and the District of Columbia.
The skill of litigating is important to the practice of personal injury law. If an attorney has been certified in civil trial law or personal injury law, that means a recognized third party has reviewed that lawyer's qualification and deemed them accomplished in that skill. Both national and state organizations award specialty certifications.
Find a nationally certified civil trial advocate.
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A person who has been injured may see television commercials in which brash, loud attorneys, or even a celebrity spokesperson, claims to be a personal injury lawyer who can get his or her clients a big reward. Typically, these are actually referral services, and the big-name attorney may have spent little time in the courtroom himself or herself. While many fine attorneys use such referral services, a personal injury victim may also find an attorney himself or herself.
An attorney who is board-certified in civil trial or personal injury law has been reviewed by an independent organization and deemed qualified. A personal injury lawyer who is a member of a civil justice organization or trial lawyers association usually has access to resources and education.
Typically, in a personal injury case, the lawyer will work on a contingency fee. That means the lawyer will take his or her fee from the settlement or the award. If you recover nothing in the litigation, you do not have to pay the lawyer. Fees are something a person should discuss before agreeing to hire an attorney.
ABA Principles for Juries and Jury Trials: The American Bar Association states the principles of attorneys nationwide for jury trials, which are an important element of personal injury cases.
Pound Civil Justice Institute: Named after former Harvard Law School Dean Roscoe Pound, the Pound Institute is a Washington, D.C. based think tank that studies civil justice issues.
Use our directory to find the best personal injury attorney for your case. Find out more about how much personal injury attorneys make, questions to ask the attorney during the initial consultation, and the best ways to find legal advice after an accident or injury.
In a personal injury case, the person who suffered the injury will ask "What is my case worth?" Use our directory to find the attorneys that can best answer those questions after evaluating your case.
Our online directory ranks attorneys according to objective criteria such as the attorney's membership and leadership in trusted legal organizations, and whether the attorney has become a board certified specialist in a state-sponsored or national program recognized by the American Bar Association. The ratings in our directory help you find the right attorney for your case.
This article was last updated on Friday, February 14, 2020.