A personal injury attorney is a attorney who provides legal services to those who claim to have been injured, physically or psychologically, as a result of the negligence of another person, company, government agency or any entity.
Personal injury attorneys tend to practice primarily in the area of law known as tort law. Examples of common personal injury claims include injuries from slip and fall accidents, traffic collisions, defective products, workplace injuries and professional malpractice.
The term “trial lawyers” is sometimes used to refer to personal injury attorneys, even though many other types of lawyers, including defense lawyers and criminal prosecutors also appear in trials and even though most personal injury claims are settled without going to trial.
Attorneys may take continuing legal education (CLE) classes in order to learn about developments in the law or to learn about new practice areas. In states that require lawyers to attend CLE, personal injury attorneys may take CLE courses relevant to personal injury law, but are not required to do so.
Attorneys fees may be charged in a number of ways, including contingency fees, hourly rates, and flat fees. In many countries, personal injury attorneys work primarily on a contingency fee basis, sometimes called an if-come fee, through which the lawyer receives a percentage of a client’s recovery as a fee, but does not recover a fee if the claim is not successful.
In some jurisdictions, or by virtue of the retainer agreement between an attorney and client, the amount of the legal fee may vary depending upon whether a case settles before a lawsuit is filed, after a lawsuit is filed but before trial, or if the case goes to trial. For example, a retainer agreement might provide that a lawyer will receive a 33 and 1/3% contingency fee if a case settles before a lawsuit is filed, a 40% contingency fee if the case settles after the lawsuit is filed, or up to 45% if the lawsuit goes to trial.
Due to the high cost of litigation, personal injury attorneys are rarely retained to work based on an hourly fee. However, defense attorneys who are hired to contest personal injury claims are often paid on an hourly basis.