What Is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

What Is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

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What Is a Personal Injury Lawyer?

A personal injury lawyer is a legal professional who contributes guidance, gives advice, and provides representation concerning civil matters involving harm inflicted on their client by another party. People often assume that personal injury lawyers just handle car accidents or slip and fall mishaps. However, personal injury lawyers can address various legal issues for their clients when there has been financial or emotional loss due to negligence or other civil wrongs.

Morgan and Morgan Law Firm has been an advocate for people and families whose lives have been disrupted by the wrongdoing of another party since 1985. Over the past three decades, we've recovered billions in compensation for our clients. We'll explain what a personal injury lawyer can do to ensure you recover compensation and highlight the factors that may affect your case.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

  • What Is Personal Injury Law?

    Personal injury law (tort law) includes every variation of injury a person might sustain to their body, emotions, or reputation. Acts or omissions from a person or entity that result in harm or injury are civil wrongs that the courts can remedy by imposing legal liability on the person or entity that commits the act. Personal injury law intended to provide relief to injured parties by assigning the burden of loss to the at fault party in the form of financial compensation. Personal injury claims can be brought under three grounds:

    • Negligence
    • Strict liability
    • Intentional wrongs

    Let's take a look at each of these individually.

    Negligence - The law defines the act of negligence as a failure to behave with the level of care an ordinary person with a reasonable level of judgment would use under the same circumstances. Generally, this covers actions but also includes failure to act when a duty to act is established.

    Failure to use reasonable care can be validated when you look to see if the person should have been able to foresee the likelihood that their behavior would result in harm. Additionally, the severity of harm that could result will be examined.

    For example, a property owner who leaves the sharp ends of rusty nails exposed on a broken handrail leading up to their porch steps should be able to foresee that someone could get hurt. For a personal injury lawyer to prove negligence in a bid to recover compensation for their client, they must establish the following elements:

    • The legal duty of care the other party owed to their client
    • The other party's breach of this duty
    • Their client suffered an injury
    • Their client was injured because of the other party's breach of duty

    The laws concerning how negligence is viewed vary depending on which state the incident took place. For example, a judge may consider if the defendant actively created a risk that led to harm. For instance, speeding through a school or construction zone would indicate an active disregard for the safety of others. Another thing that might be considered is if the defendant was aware or should have been aware of the danger their actions or inactions imposed on others.

    Strict liability - In civil matters, strict liability means the defendant is liable whether they intended to commit harm or not. Individuals can be subject to strict liability for issues like possessing dangerous animals or engaging in exceptionally dangerous activities. For instance, suppose someone keeps a coyote as a pet, and the coyote acts in its nature and bites the mail delivery person. In that case, the owner would have to pay for the damages because predatory behavior is the coyote's natural tendency.

    Here's a hypothetical situation concerning exceptionally dangerous activities. You live in a rural area, and the neighbor needs to clear out a huge brush pile and decides to burn it instead of hauling it away. They use reasonable precautions to contain the fire, like putting up obstacles to create a fire barrier. Still, the wind kicks up, the fire escapes the bounds of your neighbor's property, and your home catches fire. In this situation, your neighbor engaged in an exceptionally dangerous activity, which resulted in the loss of your home. Under strict liability, they should be liable for the damages that ensue.

    For businesses, strict liability may be related to the products they design, manufacture, advertise, and sell, otherwise known as product liability. It can also include a breach of warranty. Here again, it doesn't matter if someone in the chain of the product's creation, distribution, or advertising intended to cause harm. They may still be liable for an injury.

    How a court views defects that cause liability is subject to the jurisdiction where you bring your case. Here are the types of product defects that may bring about a business's liability:

    • Design defects (an inherent flaw in the design that exists before the product is even manufactured)
    • Manufacturing defects (a flaw occurs during the construction or production phase)
    • Defects in marketing (failure to warn or provide proper instructions on use)

    Generally, it will still be up to your personal injury attorney to prove that a defect exists in the product that resulted in your injury, except in a few states where the defendant has the burden to prove the product is not defective.

    Intentional wrongs - While many intentional wrongs are also subject to criminal proceedings, injured parties can seek financial redress beyond restitution through the civil court system. The most common intentional wrongs include battery, assault, false imprisonment, and rape. Still, they also include harm that occurs because of trespass.

    The difference between negligence and intentional wrongs is the state of mind of the person who engages in the act. This means they acted with the specific purpose of injuring another party's person or property. Conversely, negligence means they behaved in a way that wasn't as careful as the law requires them to act.

    Here are two different scenarios to illustrate the difference between negligent and intentional torts:

    John hits Gary's truck in the local sports bar parking lot because he is distracted by an incoming call. John wasn't paying attention, but he had no intention of causing damage to Gary's property even though he had a duty to be careful behind the wheel. This is a classic case of negligence.

    Now let's say that John and Gary get into a dispute over which football team is the greatest of all time. The fight escalates, and John is the aggressor, so the staff demands he leaves. John storms out of the sports bar but sees Gary's new truck sitting there. John pulls out and rams Gary's truck in a fit of anger because he has a hard time controlling his emotions. In this scenario, John committed an intentional act with the express purpose of damaging Gary's property. As such, he would be liable for an intentional tort and likely faces charges for a crime as well. 

  • What Are the Types of Personal Injury Cases Morgan and Morgan Handles?

    It's crucial to note here that we have more than 1,000 lawyers in our employ, many of which focus on specific areas of the law, which is an essential part of our success. While our law firm handles a broad array of case types, your lawyer will have specialized knowledge in the area of law that concerns your case. Here are the types of personal injury cases Morgan and Morgan handle regularly:

    • Motor vehicle accidents
    • Boating accidents
    • Pedestrian accidents
    • Bicycle accidents
    • Aviation accidents
    • Premises liability
    • Civil rights
    • Employment law
    • Slip and fall accidents
    • Negligent security
    • Workplace accidents
    • Product defects
    • Medical malpractice
    • Business malpractice and litigation
    • Nursing home abuse
    • Defamation
    • Class actions
    • Mass tort
    • Mass arbitration
    • Environmental and toxic injuries
    • Insurance disputes
    • Property damage
    • Benefits disputes
  • What Kind of Damages Can My Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me Obtain?

    Any personal injury claim or case aims to acquire compensation for harm. If we prevail, you'll be awarded financial payment for your losses and injuries, called damages. As this article is a general explanation of what a personal injury lawyer does, here are some examples of damages you might be entitled to recover, but every case is unique, so this is not an exhaustive list:

    • Medical expenses
    • Lost income
    • Pain and suffering
    • Mental and emotional distress
    • Domestic assistance
    • Travel expenses
    • Loss of enjoyment of life
    • Loss of consortium
  • What Will a Personal Injury Lawyer Do to Prove My Case?

    The specifics of your case will determine which steps we take to make your case a successful one. However, here are some general actions your lawyer might take to ensure your issue is resolved favorably:

    Investigating claims - The first step in our process will be to investigate your claim through a case evaluation. This is because we work on a contingency fee basis, meaning we only get paid if you do. Because of this, we carefully screen potential clients to assess the claim's merit. We'll pass if we can't see a legally viable course of action to recover compensation. However, we may be able to refer you to other options for your specific circumstances. It would be best if you didn't assume you don't have a case based on internet research, though. Our legal professionals evaluate every case individually.

    Compiling evidence - Evidence is a major factor in your ability to win compensation, so gathering evidence will be our next step after accepting your case. This may include obtaining medical records, police and incident reports, locating witnesses and video recordings, and reconstructing the incident.

    Negotiating with insurance companies and other entities involved - Many people have never had to negotiate for compensation, and it takes a specific skill set to be successful. We'll typically review the insurance policies to understand what the policy covers and the policy limits. Your lawyer will handle all of these negotiations to reduce the stress level you're already facing. Likewise, suppose the other party isn't insured. In that case, we can talk with them or their lawyers to determine what financial assets they may have that can be used to compensate you.

    Sending letters of demand - Letters of demand are legally binding documents used to start a claim before filing a case in the court system. This initial letter will state the evidence and a list of damages for which you expect to receive compensation.

    Preparing court documents - If an insurance company refuses to play ball, the next step is to file a lawsuit. This is a formal complaint in which the defendant and the court are notified of intent.

    Pleading your case at trial - While most cases don't make it to trial, sometimes it's the only way to resolve a dispute. If that's required, your Morgan and Morgan lawyer will be ready to argue on your behalf using the compiled evidence and a sound and carefully prepared legal strategy.

  • Your Personal Injury Lawyer Will Protect Your Rights

    Whether you're hurt because of a dog bite, medical malpractice, or a car accident, Morgan and Morgan will work to protect your rights and fight to recover compensation. While someone else's actions may have caused you pain and distress, you deserve justice and the opportunity to move past the incident by getting the payment owed.

    Our lawyers are equipped with the experience and resources needed to resolve your case successfully. If matters escalate, we're prepared to take your issue to court. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and experience the difference a powerful law firm can make.

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