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Different Types of Lawyers You May Need

At some point in your life, you will more than likely interact with at least one lawyer— maybe even more. As with many other occupations, each legal specialty fills a specific demand. Actually, there are over 1.33 million lawyers in the United States alone. However, the question is what do they do exactly? There are a variety of different types of lawyers and the kinds of cases they take care of cover a substantial range of possibilities. Below you will learn about five different types of lawyers you may find yourself in need of within your lifetime and the responsibilities they have:

  1. Personal Injury lawyer
  2. Medical Malpractice lawyer
  3. Criminal Defense lawyer
  4. Civil Plaintiff lawyer
  5. Employment and Labor lawyer (Workers’ Compensation)

Personal Injury lawyer

A personal injury lawyer is someone that provides legal representation to an individual or people that have endured an injury due to the carelessness of another person or party. Personal injury lawyers operate within tort law, which includes negligent and intentional acts, and they seek compensation for accident victims.

Personal injury cases are composed of three primary issues: liability, fault, and damages. In order to have a personal injury case, you must be able to prove that these three issues are connected— indicating that the accused is responsible for the injuries that you have suffered. Most times these types of claims are tough to prove because of the complicated legal and financial issues needed in order to be awarded compensation for the damages that you have endured. 

If you have been injured in an accident as a result of the negligence of another individual or party, you only have two options: you can trust that an insurance provider of the negligent person or party at fault for your injuries gives you legitimate advice, or you can hire an experienced personal injury lawyer to represent you in the most effective way they can with your benefit in mind. Unfortunately, numerous insurance companies only have their best interest in mind and are only dedicated to increasing their profits. Personal injury lawyers represent only the injured victims’ and will serve their best interests, and will only be committed to obtaining the compensation that you are worthy of. 

Types of Personal Injury Cases

Personal injuries can happen in a plethora of ways. A few of the most common types of personal injury cases include automobile accidents, trucking accidents, premises liability, product liability, workplace injury, nursing home abuse, aviation accident, boating/maritime accident, police misconduct, and dangerous drugs & medical devices

Types of Injuries

Injuries that can result from the above accidents include: death, amputations, burn injuries, broken bones, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, scarring & disfigurement, paralysis, and more. 

Types of Compensation

When you experience one of these serious injuries, you will certainly be faced with many troubles, consisting of pain and suffering, the inability to work, and considerable medical expenses. Because of these expenses, experienced personal injury lawyers can fight for the maximum compensation the law will allow. The ideal personal injury lawyer will seek damages far beyond the tiny offerings an insurance company normally makes. The types of compensation that are often awarded include past and future medical/rehab expenses, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and more.

The specific actions of personal injury lawyers typically depend on the type of case they are working on and where that case is within the legal process. A few of the things that personal injury lawyers may do throughout your case consists of investigating the claim, gathering evidence, negotiating with insurance companies, sending demand letters to the insurance company, preparing pleadings, organizing discovery procedures, and representing their clients at trial (if the case gets to trial).

Without the representation of a personal injury lawyer, accident victims are at the mercy of insurance providers that unfortunately put their profits over your recovery.

Medical Malpractice lawyer

A medical malpractice lawyer is a legal professional who focuses on helping victims who have been injured by a doctor or medical facility while under their care. Both personal injury and medical malpractice law serve to right the civil wrong when someone is injured due to the carelessness of another. In fact, medical malpractice is a subset of personal injury law. Although there are many resemblances between the two practice areas, medical malpractice cases are oftentimes more complex than routine personal injury cases.

Unfortunately, medical malpractice happens more often than it should. In fact, according to a recent study done by Johns Hopkins, over 250,000 individuals in the United States die each year due to medical mistakes, making it the third leading cause of death.

Medical malpractice lawyers resolve legal disputes on behalf of their clients. Those clients could be the patient themselves or surviving family members of patients. Medical malpractice clients are suing medical professionals for malpractice (or negligence).

Malpractice refers to professional wrongdoing by a medical professional or hospital. Medical malpractice usually involves the negligent acts of nurses, doctors, therapists, dentists, technicians, and any other medical professionals or healthcare providers. 

In order to have a medical malpractice case, the victim must prove that a doctor-patient relationship existed, that doctor acted negligently, the negligence of that doctor was the sole cause for your injuries, and the injury led to specific damages including mental agony, physical pain, extra medical costs, and lost work and lost earning capacity. If these things are not able to be proven, then you may not have a medical malpractice case. If you are uncertain of whether or not you have a medical malpractice claim, contact an experienced medical malpractice lawyer.

Types of Medical Errors

Medical malpractice cases can develop from many different errors. Those include birth traumas, medical misdiagnosis, anesthesia errors, failure to treat, surgical errors, medication errors, and more.

Medical malpractice lawyers perform many daily tasks of a typical civil litigator. This means that there is a legal disagreement, but there are no criminal charges involved. Medical malpractice lawyers will spend much of their time interviewing their clients, organizing investigations, drafting motions, creating trial strategies, and litigating the cases themselves. Many other tasks will be performed by a medical malpractice lawyer, including:

  • Working alongside medical experts to d create case theories, expert reports, and expert testimony to support their client’s case
  • Collecting and analyzing their client’s medical records
  • Taking statements of clinical professionals, medical personnel, and other third parties
  • Executing medical research that relates to the client’s condition
  • Working with legal nurse consultants to dissect case merits, review medical records, and make sense of doctor’s notes

Criminal Defense lawyer

Criminal defense lawyers fulfill many critical functions during a criminal case. Within the complicated criminal justice system, a defense lawyer has the duty to defend a person who has been charged with a crime in addition to speaking on their behalf. A criminal defense lawyer can be contacted directly by the accused or can be assigned the case by the court. 

There are two types of criminal defense lawyers: public defenders (paid by the public government) who are appointed by local, state, or federal courts and criminal defense lawyers hired by private firms (typically work out of a legal office that they run themselves).

Once a criminal defense lawyer meets their client, they will collect as many details as they can about the case. One significant job duty of a criminal defense lawyer resembles that of an investigator. Much of their time is spent going through evidence related to the charges their client is facing. Criminal defense lawyers will ask detailed questions in order to learn about possible defenses, strengths, and weaknesses regarding the case. This takes careful and thorough questioning of the accused. Once those questions are asked and answered, further investigation into the case will start to determine any possible routes of acquittal for the defendant. This can consist of questioning law enforcement about procedures they utilized and talking with witnesses who have information on the case. Each piece of information is used to build the strongest case they can in order to defend their client.

Criminal defense lawyers also aid in preparing pleas, analyzing prosecutor’s cases, assessing the potential sentencing, and more. Defense counsel advises on possible consequences of a plea, sentence, or criminal record and negotiates deals with prosecutors. Those deals may include reduced bail, reduced charges, and reduced sentences. Additionally, criminal defense lawyers provide the defendant with a reality check in regards to the possible outcomes they may face and help the defendant navigate the frustrations and fears that come from the criminal justice system. If there is no plea deal made, a criminal defense lawyer will represent their client during trial. 

Criminal defense lawyers are equipped to manage all types of criminal charges, even ones that may appear insignificant. Experienced criminal defense lawyers know exactly how to navigate the criminal justice system to make certain their clients are not at the mercy of prosecutors and judges who are only interested in getting a conviction.

Criminal defense lawyers represent individuals that are charged with murder, drug-related crimes, fraud, extortion, embezzlement, white-collar crimes, violent crimes, marijuana violations, and more.

Civil Plaintiff lawyer

A civil plaintiff lawyer is typically referred to as a litigator or trial lawyer. This is a particular type of lawyer that is hired by a client to pursue or defend a civil lawsuit. Civil plaintiff lawyers manage each phase of a case from the investigation, pleadings, and discovery to the pre-trial, trial, settlement, and appeal process. A civil plaintiff lawyer can specialize in any of the following legal fields:

Civil disputes typically entail a party or establishment seeking compensation for damages or injuries suffered due to the negligence of another person or party. The nature of civil disagreements generally focuses on people, relationships, and property.

Civil plaintiff lawyers represent clients in non-criminal lawsuits. Clients can be government entities, businesses, or individuals. Civil lawyers offer legal strategies and advice on civil cases and they will represent a variety of proceedings for their clients, including pretrial hearings, depositions, arbitration, mediation, and the trial itself (if/when the case makes it to trial). Many of the processes during these proceedings are geared toward having the two parties (defendant and plaintiff) reach a settlement without having to invest the time and money into going into court.

Some general job duties a civil plaintiff lawyer will perform include:

  • Investigate activities regarding the case
  • Research of relevant laws
  • Produce or participate in deposition hearings
  • File motions
  • Appear in court on behalf of their client
  • Draft legal documentations
  • Negotiate settlements

Experienced civil plaintiff lawyers have the skills and knowledge that are essential to litigation practice, including strong written and verbal advocacy skills, the ability to integrate complex legal and factual materials, analytical and logical reasoning capacity, client development skills, negotiation skills, knowledge of research techniques and software, and more. All of these skill sets help in successfully representing their clients. 

During the investigation process, civil plaintiff lawyers will conduct a preliminary case investigation in order to decide if there is an ample amount of evidence to warrant filing a claim. The investigation process will include finding witnesses, taking witness statements, collecting relevant documents to the case, interviewing the client, and investigating the facts that lead to the disagreement.

Oftentimes civil plaintiff lawyers will partake in pre-litigation settlement discussions to attempt to settle the matter before a lawsuit is even filed. 

Employment and Labor lawyer (Workers’ Compensation)

Employment lawyers provide a wide variety of services to employees and employers. Several of the tasks that employment lawyers help with include helping clients understand their legal rights and helping them fight for these rights to recover from injuries that have occurred in the workplace.

Staff members that experience discriminatory or unfair labor practices at their place of work can include harassment, wrongful termination, wage and hour violations, employer retaliation, sexual harassment, Family and Medical Leave Act violation, and more. Another part of employment law is workers’ compensation. Worker’s compensation claims emerge when employees become injured on the job or become ill as a result of their job. Oftentimes employees experience these violations but are frightened to speak out or are simply unaware of their rights. 

For many employment law situations, a claim must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other government agencies before the employee is allowed to pursue a private cause of action. An employment lawyer can help an employee with filing the complaint with the appropriate agency and explain the time limit in which you must file a claim, also known as the statute of limitations. 

Employment lawyers who have an employee as their client are solely responsible for that employee. They help in ensuring that their client is receiving fair compensation and that they are working in a safe environment. They also represent workers in court when an employer mistreats them in any way. Employment lawyers help negotiate with insurance companies for a higher payout (for an injured worker in a workers’ compensation claim), help seek a higher amount for their client in civil court, and in some cases, can negotiate with the employer or insurance company for a settlement before going to court. 

It is important to have an experienced employment lawyer on your side because of the power imbalance that is involved. Employers almost always have more money and better resources than their employees. This allows for the employer to hire the best representation for themselves, leaving the employee to fend for themself with less money and resources. Plus, many employers have insurance policies to protect them from claims like this. Most employer-based insurance companies’ goals are to pay out the least amount they can, resulting in paying very little in settlements to their victims. Employment lawyers have the resources and tenacious attitudes to hold employers and insurance companies accountable to ensure that the victim receives an adequate amount of compensation. 

It is not uncommon for employees to find themselves working under intolerable conditions or being denied income and benefits altogether when injured in the workplace. When you find yourself in these situations, you should not have to worry about losing your job during this difficult time.

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