If you have a passion for helping people, a way with words, and love gathering and presenting evidence, then a career as a personal injury lawyer may be one for you.
What is personal injury law?
Personal injury law falls under tort law, which deals with civil wrongs, as opposed to criminal wrongs.
Closely related to clinical and medical negligence, personal injury law refers to any form of physical, emotional, or psychological injury caused to a claimant by an individual(s), organisation, institution, or trust, whose negligence resulted in harm.
The aim of a personal injury law claim is to recover damages from the defendants and award compensation to the claimant. This monetary compensation is to cover medical expenses, including future expenses the injury may cause, physical and emotional suffering, legal fees, income lost through inability to work, including loss of future earnings, as well as any other additional costs, for example, if the claimant was a family member’s primary carer.
What does a personal injury lawyer do?
A personal injury lawyer provides legal help, advice and representation to clients who have sustained ill health. They can also represent family members or loved ones if the defendant is unable to make a claim, either because of death or because they are no longer of sound mind.
When a lawyer takes on a personal injury claim they must start to gather the facts surrounding the incident. They will do this by conducting interviews with medical experts, corroborating eyewitness testimonies, and speaking with the claimant. They will then present their findings to the defendants and will begin the negotiation process in order to settle on a compensation figure.
If the defendants do not accept responsibility, they may begin court proceedings.
What qualifications are required?
The UK is home to some of the world’s best and oldest universities. If you’re considering becoming a personal injury lawyer, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a university that is renowned for its law courses. In the UK, Oxford, UCL and Cambridge are considered the top three for law, with Durham, Leeds, Aberdeen and Glasgow being amongst the top 10.
The traditional route into law is studying a Bachelor of Law (LLB) degree. An alternate and equally popular route is carrying out an undergrad degree in another chosen field, like English, History, or Politics, and then taking a Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL).
Following completion of either an LLB or GDL, you must study the Legal Practice Course (LPC) before undertaking a personal injury-focused training contract with a law firm.
Once you are practising, you should seek accreditation from the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers.
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