A personal injury lawyer is hired to represent a person who has been injured physically or psychologically as a result of an accident, caused by a third party. Personal injury falls under Tort Law. Due to the Jackson Reforms coming in during 2013, the work of the personal injury lawyer is set to change.
What is a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Personal injury solicitors are especially knowledgeable on the details of personal injury law, and spend their time helping clients understand their rights, and guide them in the process of making a claim, having been the victim of someone else’s carelessness – be that an individual, organization or company. Before you can succeed in this competitive field, you’ll need to acquire as much experience as possible within the niche personal injury sector. Therefore after studying a general law degree at university, it’s best to carry out further study by taking a postgraduate course in personal injury law. On a day-to-day basis, a personal injury lawyer will be expected to carry out several work tasks.
These can include interviewing clients, writing legal letters, research on civil litigation and filing lawsuits. A role as a personal injury lawyer can often great potential for career advancement, although many legal professionals looking for a change from the personal injury sector tend to utilise their expertise for other areas of Tort law, including slander, libel and product liability. Changes in personal injury law are ongoing, and could affect the work of personal injury lawyers and demand for their skills.
What are the job responsibilities for a personal injury lawyer?
The role of a personal injury lawyer involves:
- Working on cases concerning personal injury to secure compensation on behalf of clients
- Offering legal advice
- Filing legal complaints
- Preparing legal documents
- Representing clients in court
What skills does a personal injury lawyer need to have
To succeed in a personal injury lawyer role, you will need to be a problem solver, have a strong code of ethics, compassion, and you muse be a strong communicator. Excellent written skills are essential, and you must be able to manage a large amount of projects, so therefore should be highly organised. You will possess strong research and analytical skills.
Changes in Personal Injury Law – The Jackson Reforms
In 2010 Labour introduced an electronic, fixed-fee claims process for motor accident claims worth less than £10,000 where liability is admitted. As this accounts for the majority of personal injury claims, the move has had a big impact on the volume of legal processing work required and could in the long term reshape the demand for personal injury lawyers, particularly as the Ministry of Justice plans to extend it to other types of personal injury claim – for instance those worth up to £25,000, including clinical negligence. Although that accounts for most of the problems in personal injury, areas such as libel still need to undergo a managed legal process, using a personal injury lawyer’s skills.
Some of the proposed changes in personal injury law were contained in a 2009 report written by Lord Justice Jackson on reforms in civil law, which was commissioned by the last Labour government. Several recommendations have been taken up by the coalition government. There will be big changes to conditional fee agreements where payments for general damages will rise by 10% in return for lawyers subsequently recovering the fees from their winning clients rather than the losing defendants. Fees for claimant lawyers, when successful, will be capped at 25%.
It is expected that from April 2013 all personal injury claims up to £25,000 will go through a portal and will be subject to a new claims process. “It is hoped that the changes will reduce the costs for losing defendants as, under the present system, they pay more in legal fees than in damages due to the time it can take for cases to come before a judge,” says a specialist at Winston Solicitors.
The significance of the proposed changes, if they become law, may see fewer conditional fee agreements with a recent poll saying that 69% of firms questioned admitted that if the plans were to be pushed through. they would only offer CFAs on very big or strong claims.
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