The Coast News Group

The finer points of personal injury cases

Many advertising attorneys specialize or focus on personal injury cases. Let’s take a look at this type of case and how hiring an attorney for this type of case might be different from employing a lawyer on most other types of legal matters.
What exactly is a “personal injury?”  The legal dictionary defines personal injury as: “Any violation of an individual’s right, other than his or her rights in property. The term personal injury is not confined to physical injuries, although negligence cases usually do involve bodily injuries.”
So we know that these cases usually involve some type of injury, whether physical, emotional or even strictly financial. We also know that to have a personal injury case there has to be a wrong committed by someone or something. Typical personal injury cases stem from car crashes, falls or other common events that cause hurt or injury. Usual types of damages in these cases include reimbursement for medical bills, lost earnings due to inability to work, future medical costs, future wage loss and past and future non-economic damage.
Non-economic damage is typically referred to as pain, suffering, anxiety, grief, or other emotional distresses. A person may be entitled to non-economic damages even in cases where the injury in not physical and purely emotional, such as fraud or financial theft. So, the term personal injury is very broad and encompasses both physical and non-physical injury caused by someone doing something wrong or carelessly.
How is the contract with a personal injury lawyer different than a contract with most other lawyers? Most lawyers charge by the hour. If you need a family lawyer, for example, you would generally have to pay a retainer amount and you would be charged by the hour for work done on your case; it’s the same with a real estate or business lawyer.
But this is not so with a personal injury lawyer. Most use a contingency/percentage contract. You pay a percentage of the ultimate amount received by settlement or verdict instead of paying by the hour. Typically, the amount is one-third of the gross recovery. However, if the case is lost or you don’t get anything, you owe no attorney fees, so this is the main benefit of this type of arrangement. It allows most anyone to hire a lawyer in a personal injury case, even if you have no money for fees.