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What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer Do?

Table of Contents for Specific Topics

When someone is injured due to the actions of someone else, they may be able to file a claim to receive compensation for their damages under tort law. A personal injury lawyer can help them navigate that process and take care of much of the work for them. Attorneys know the ins and outs of the legal system and have experience negotiating with the insurance companies. They can explain the different aspects of your situation and advise you of your rights and options. Personal injury attorneys will also often help you find medical treatment and guide you through taking care of property damage.


Skilled Personal Injury Lawyers Can Protect Your Rights to Recover Compensation

The average person does not have a detailed understanding of the intricacies of personal injury law. Because of this, it can be easy for insurance companies to take advantage of accident victims and give them far less than they deserve. A personal injury lawyer can help you understand exactly what your rights and the defendant’s obligations are. They will make sure that the insurance companies fulfill their responsibilities and that you receive fair compensation. They will also work to protect your privacy and personal information throughout the process.


Good Personal Injury Lawyers Will Represent Your Interests

The job of a personal injury attorney is to act in the best interests of their client. When making decisions, a good personal injury lawyer will consider:

  • What the client needs
  • What the client wants
  • What the law allows
  • Potential benefits of each action
  • Potential costs of each action
  • Potential risks of each action
  • Likelihood of success
  • All possible realistic outcomes


Personal Injury Attorneys Create Complicated Strategies

Every personal injury claim comes with its own variables that determine what laws apply and what options there are to proceed. Your attorney will be able to create a strategy for moving forward based on those variables. This includes what steps you can and cannot take as well as what options are available to the defendant. They can account for any possible consequences and have responses ready for whatever comes up. They will know what the best moves are for obtaining the most favorable outcome.


Personal Injury Lawyers Will Discuss Your Case and Advise You on How to Proceed

Your attorney can help explain how the different aspects of your situation affect your options. They can go over the various applicable laws and lay out the paths forward that you can take. They know what questions to ask to obtain information you might not have realized was important to the case. The details of how the accident occurred, the extent of your injuries, and the evidence available are all important when devising a plan of action. Your attorney will be able to go over all of your options and help you make an informed decision for moving forward.


Duties That Personal Injury Lawyers Conduct on Behalf of Their Clients

There are many different tasks and duties involved in a personal injury claim. Your attorney will handle as much of the process as possible so you can focus on your recovery. The majority of the work involves dealing with the insurance companies and following various legal procedures.


Investigating Claims

One of the first steps in a personal injury case is getting all of the details of the accident. Your attorney will conduct or order their own investigation. This can involve conducting witness interviews, reviewing incident reports, and collecting as much evidence as possible. The more information they have, the more likely they are to construct an efficient strategy moving forward. Having a full understanding of the accident and concrete evidence also makes it easier to negotiate with the insurer.


Gathering Evidence

Useful evidence in a personal injury claim can take many forms [1]. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Accident scene photos
  • Property damage photos
  • Bodily injury photos
  • Security video footage
  • Dashcam footage
  • Incident reports
  • Witness statements
  • Medical records


Determine Liability

Sometimes, fault and liability are clear and obvious in a personal injury claim, but other times, making that determination takes a bit more work. One party may be completely at fault, or there may be blame on both sides. A personal injury lawyer will go over the actions of each party and take into consideration things like duty of care, outside forces or conditions, and reasonable expectations. California is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that even if the defendant is found liable, any fault on the part of the plaintiff can proportionately reduce the amount they can recover [2].


Determine Damages

Compensation in personal injury claims generally falls under the categories of financial losses referred to as economic damages and intangible losses referred to as non-economic damages.

Economic Damages can include:

  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Transportation
  • Household Services

Non-Economic Damages can include:

Your attorney will calculate the total economic damages as well as an appropriate value for the non-economic damages. They will also take into consideration any future costs that will be incurred due to the injury such as long-term medical care and loss of earning capacity.


Review Insurance Policies and Subrogation Rights

A large part of a personal injury attorney’s job is communicating with the insurance companies. This includes filing an insurance claim as well as verifying the applicable policies and types of coverage available. They will look into both yours and the other party’s insurance policies for things like med pay and uninsured motorist coverage. Your attorney will also handle communications and the flow of information to the insurance company to ensure that you are not taken advantage of.


Negotiating Settlement with Insurance Companies

Insurance companies always want to pay as little as possible on potential claims. They will say and do what they can to get the amount reduced including resorting to bad faith tactics. This often begins with the insurance company making an extremely low offer early on. A personal injury lawyer will build a case to show the cost and value of the damages and negotiate for the best possible settlement. Sometimes, the insurance company will relent quickly, but sometimes it is more of a struggle which results in the case going to trial.


Sending Demand Letters

At the beginning of the negotiation process, your lawyer will send a demand letter. This is a document detailing the facts of the loss as well as the damages and expenses incurred by the injured party. The demand letter will calculate not only the expenses to date but also the most accurately estimated future expenses. This letter is then sent to the defendant’s insurance company and/or any attorney representing them. The response to this demand will generally involve some kind of counteroffer.


Preparing Pleadings

Part of the negotiation process may include an official complaint against the other party. This involves a more detailed explanation of the accident and the reasons why the defendant is at fault and liable for the plaintiff’s damages. The complaint will also restate the requested compensation. The other party must respond to the complaint within 30 days of receipt.


Conducting Discovery

Discovery is the term used to describe the official fact-finding portion of the legal process. Discovery encompasses many investigative measures such as:

  • Sending interrogatories
  • Requesting documents
  • Conducting depositions
  • Taking witness statements
  • Ordering expert assessments

As part of the discovery process, both sides can request access to evidence and information collected by the other party. In personal injury cases this often involves things like police reports and security footage.


File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Sometimes, the parties involved in a personal injury claim are unable to come to an agreement on what is a fair and acceptable settlement for both sides. At this point, it may be necessary to take the case to litigation and file an official lawsuit with the court. Your attorney will handle things like verifying the validity of the claim, filing the necessary paperwork, and devising the best strategy to ensure a positive outcome. Even if the litigation process has begun, there is still the option to settle out of court. If this is not possible, the case will go to trial.


Representing Clients at Trial

During a personal injury trial, your attorney will provide evidence of your claims and the compensation being requested. The other party may try to argue that you were actually at fault for your own injuries, at which point your attorney will present a counterargument. The case may be decided by a jury, or the parties may prefer a bench trial with a judge making the final decision.


Arrange Payment Received from Settlement or Lawsuit

When a settlement or award has been finalized, the attorney will handle collection and distribution of the funds. The money will be placed into a trust and divided as necessary. The percentage owed to the attorney as well as accumulated legal fees and expenses will be subtracted first. Then the money owed to lienholders such as medical providers will be sent out. Then the total remaining will be paid out to you by check. You may choose to receive the money as a lump sum or as a structured settlement. If the case involves an injured party who is a minor, there are further procedures that must be followed.


Benefits of a Personal Injury Lawyer

There are many reasons why it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney for your personal injury claim. They are more familiar with the law and better able to navigate the process and safeguard your rights. They know how to deal with insurance companies to prevent you from being taken advantage of. They will explain the more complicated aspects of the situation and guide you through every step of the way. They also take on the majority of the work involved in the claim, giving you the chance to focus on your recovery. They can refer you to different medical providers and help you ensure that all of your treatment needs are met.


When Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

There are many situations where it is best to have a personal injury lawyer working on your case.

  • If the insurance company tries to deny the claim
  • If liability is disputed or unclear
  • If you are offered a settlement right away
  • If multiple different parties are involved
  • If the liable party is a government entity
  • If you are unsure who the liable party is
  • If you are unsure of your rights and options
  • If you will need ongoing medical treatment


Types of Personal Injury Cases

A personal injury claim involves someone being injured as a result of someone else breaching a duty of care owed to them. This can be due to negligence, recklessness, or even willful intent. Different personal injury attorneys will have their own practice areas that they specialize in. Common types of personal injury claims include but are not limited to:

  • Car Accidents
  • Childcare Negligence
  • Construction Accidents
  • Defective Products
  • Dog Bites
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Nursing Home Abuse
  • Premise Liability
  • Psychiatric Malpractice
  • Slip and Fall
  • Workplace Accidents
  • Wrongful Death


Types of Personal Injury Compensation

The point of a personal injury claim is to make the victim whole again and compensate them for their losses. There are many different types of losses that someone can claim. These can be economic damages such as medical expenses and lost income, or they can be non-economic damages such as emotional distress or pain and suffering. Compensation can be claimed for most aspects of your life that have been negatively impacted by the accident and your injuries.


Contact Mesriani Law Group if You are Dealing with a Personal Injury

Personal injury attorneys can be beneficial in a myriad of ways. The complication and stress of navigating a personal injury claim is not something anyone should have to do alone. At our firm, we do everything in our power to ensure that our clients are taken care of and that their interests are protected. Our personal injury lawyers have the skills and experience necessary to get you the compensation you deserve. Our office is in Santa Monica and we provide legal representation to all of Los Angeles and Southern California. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, call Mesriani Law group today.



[1] https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/personal-injury-accidents-preserve-evidence-30018.html

[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/comparative_negligence


Personal Injury Lawyer Duty FAQs

Is it worth hiring a personal injury lawyer?

There is no law stating that you must have an attorney represent you in order to file a personal injury claim. However, multiple studies have shown that positive outcomes are more likely when a lawyer is involved. Plaintiffs with representation not only have a higher chance of winning their case, but they also generally receive higher compensation than plaintiffs who represent themselves in similar cases.

When do you not need a personal injury lawyer?

In order to have a valid personal injury claim, there must be an injury. For example, you would not hire a personal injury attorney for a car accident that only results in property damage. There also needs to be real damages. Minor injuries that require little to no medical treatment and do not result in lost income may not require any substantial compensation.

About the Author
Picture of Rodney Mesriani
Rodney Mesriani

Rodney Mesriani is the principal partner of the Los Angeles and Santa Monica based Mesriani Law Group. He specializes in personal injury and employment law while also being an accomplished litigator and trial attorney. Rodney is an aggressive negotiator and a well-known and respected attorney in the areas of practice he specializes in.

He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from California State University Northridge before attending Southwestern School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. While being an accomplished personal injury and employment lawyer, Rodney Mesriani has made it a point to attend numerous State Sponsored MCLE events and seminars over the years as a law practitioner to be informed of the latest laws and litigation strategies.



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