A personal injury lawyer is a lawyer who looks after the interests of some person who had been a victim of some accident and suffered injuries. Personal injury lawyers practice civil law. They are not the same as criminal lawyers or public prosecutors.
In legal terms, personal injury means physical impairment or emotional agony caused to a person for none of his/her faults. Such injuries could also result due to negligence at the workplace. Likewise, the harm caused by a defective product or service can also be categorized among personal injuries.
Most jurisdictions allow individuals to seek legal action against anyone who they think caused them the injury. In the US, any individual who is harmed or gets injured due to negligence or intended action of other person has a right to sue that person as per the tort law system. Almost every country has similar laws, allowing the victims to seek compensation for injuries or other harms caused.
Tort law, as well as civil law is framed to enable an injured person attain the position he would have had in the absence of any injury. It implies that an individual who gets injured and incurs medical expenses, mental agony, pain and damages has a right to take legal action against the person causing the injury, and thus recover the damages from him. The individual causing the injuries may also face a punitive action.
An injured person who wants to collect damages by suing the party responsible for causing the injuries essentially needs the services of a personal injury lawyer. For initiating legal proceedings, the lawyer will file a case in the appropriate court. Often, the parties concerned in such cases settle the matter without involving the court. The court proceedings start if the two parties can’t settle among themselves.
It is the task of the personal injury lawyer to assist his client to prove that the other party was at fault. The injury could be a result of negligence or wrong intentions. For instance, one could sue another person for having behaved irresponsibly and causing injuries thereof. Any person intentionally hurting another person can be sued for the damages caused.
This type of lawyers often works on a contingent basis in a number of jurisdictions. The system is followed in Canada and the US, as well as a number of other countries including some from Europe. A lawyer working on a contingent basis gets paid only when he wins the case for his client, and he gets a part of the money that the plaintiff is awarded by the court.
A personal injury lawyer can also represent a person who got injured because of some car accident or slipped and fell, and even for negligence by medical practitioners. There are many other instances of a personal injury lawyer representing an affected party.