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Personal Injury Law and Lawyers

By Charles Hopkins Published 10/26/2007 | Legal
Personal injury law, or tort law, has as its purpose the protection of people victimized by the action or inaction of another.  This defendant can be either an individual or an entity such as a company.  In tort law, which is a branch of civil law, the complainant is a victim of a legal wrong, and the defendant who loses the case is either subjected to an injunction to desist from the activity that caused the plaintiff's injury or to pay damages.

Most torts fall into intentional or unintentional categories.  The former includes such activities as defamation, assault, battery, and invasion of privacy, and examples falling under the latter include accidents arising out of negligence.  Negligence, in a legal sense, is the failure of a person to act with due care and prudence under certain circumstances.  This failure can often put others at unreasonable risk and cause injury.  And since the law obliges people to conform to a certain standard to prevent this, the person whose negligence caused the injury is held liable for it.

The Need for Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injuries don't need to be physical to be actionable.  Actions by other people which provoke extreme emotional and mental distress can also require redressing through damages.  But whether or not the injuries are physical, emotional or a combination of both, personal injury cases are often serious matters.  They often result in pain and suffering, grave injury, disability, or death.  The victim often needs money for medical care as a direct consequence, or those surviving him or her need justice done for a wrongful death.  They need the help of a competent lawyer specializing in personal injury law to have a reasonable chance of obtaining this.  Without this help, it may become next to impossible to retrieve the necessary compensation.

What to Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer

The seriousness of personal injury claims means that a person should find the best personal injury lawyer they can.  Some criteria to help one find a good choice include:

1.    Specialization To get the best chances of winning your case, a lawyer who specializes in tort law, who keeps abreast of all the latest developments in personal injury law, is the one you should look for.  Not a corporate lawyer who specializes in business law.
2.    Experience As the saying goes, not everything can be learned in the classroom.  Look for a lawyer who has been practicing and has experience in the personal injury field.  Ask around and find out how successful he or she is in the cases handled, the types of clients taken on, their standing within the local Bar, and the size of the firm he or she works for.  Also look for those lawyers who know how to deal with insurance companies (who sometimes may not have their client's best interests at heart).
3.    Fees Ask about contingency fees and talk frankly with a prospective lawyer about compensation.  Lawyers who take on a strong case will sometimes opt for a payout contingent on the amount of damages recovered instead of the usual up-front payment.