Thousands of personal injury cases are heard in court each year. People set about their normal day and become involved in accidents that lead to severe injuries or long-term disability. There is no end to the number of things that can injure a person--and there is very little you can do to prepare for it--but if negligence or active wrongdoing are the root of that harm, you may be in need of a personal injury lawyer, and knowing a bit about them can be a good start.

What is a personal injury lawyer?

Personal injury lawyers are a subsection of lawyers who specialize in representing individuals who have been injured, physically or otherwise, due to the actions or negligence of another. They focus on tort law, which is a civil wrong for which a person may sue to obtain relief. Some torts may also warrant imprisonment, but most result in monetary settlements and changes that are implemented to stop the tort from occurring again. According to Cornell University Law School, there are three categories of torts:

  • Intentional - where an individual purposely harms a person.
  • Negligent - an accident caused by being negligent or failing to pay attention.
  • Strict liability torts - when a person or organization makes and sells a defective product that causes harm.

What qualifications does a personal injury lawyer have? 

Like any lawyer, a personal injury lawyer must pass the bar exam to practice law in the United States. Most states require an individual to complete a four-year college degree and a law degree prior to taking the bar exam. In addition to the bar, however, personal injury lawyers must also complete a special certification course accredited by the American Bar Association. 

Depending on where a personal injury lawyer wants to practice, he or she may have to meet a number of other requirements, including:

  • Passing a written ethics examination.
  • Passing the Multistate Bar Exam.
  • Passing the Multistate Essay Exam.
  • Passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam.
  • Passing the Multistate Performance Test.

Even after being admitted to the state bar, lawyers--personal injury or otherwise--must take continuing education classes to stay on the cutting edge of their profession.

When might I need a personal injury lawyer?

If you are involved in an accident that falls under the above descriptions of personal injury law, finding an experienced personal injury lawyer is a good idea. Many lawyers offer free consultations, and if your case proceeds into the courts, having a professional who is familiar with navigating the ins and outs of legalese will be a huge plus. Check the yellow pages for a list of your local personal injury lawyers.

To learn more about personal injury lawyers visit, Geoffrey S. Gulinson & Associates PC.