When you think of a lawyer, which area of law comes to your mind? Most people need the services of a lawyer from time to time, including family lawyers, consumer bankruptcy/foreclosure specialists, civil litigators, criminal lawyers and personal injury attorneys. These five areas are the most common areas of law, and here’s a brief description of how they may help you protect your assets:
- Family law: assists with family-related matters, such as divorce and custody issues and adoption;
- Consumer bankruptcy and foreclosure: helps people to manage consumer financial matters. Bankruptcy is the only government-approved solution for the discharge of consumer debt. Foreclosure may occur when an individual or couple fails to make mortgage payments on a timely basis;
- Civil litigation: concerns all law cases or disagreements other than those filed in a criminal court. Civil litigation includes real property lawsuits, contract disagreements and class action suits, among others;
- Criminal law: includes minor (misdemeanors) or felony (major issues)that may include DUI/DWI, homicide, theft, weapons charges, traffic violations or juvenile law.
- Personal injury law: involves recovery of money or compensatory damages for crimes or psychological injuries suffered by an individual or individuals. Damages that may be recovered by an attorney include property damages, medical expenses, lost wages and income, emotional distress, and pain and suffering. The personal injury attorney defends individuals in car accidents or auto collisions, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, wrongful death and many others types of injuries and accidents. The lawyer defends his clients from the misconduct or liabilities caused by another party or parties.
Of these five types of lawyers, the personal injury lawyer must provide immediate, responsive services to all kinds of clients in need of help. According to Michael Pines, a long time San Diego personal injury attorney, potential clients should consider the lawyer’s experience, the kind of law firm he or she works for, office location, communications style, and success record. Clients want to know “How much is my case worth?” and ethical personal injury lawyers may not have an immediate answer. However, their response to a client’s need for representation should be as close to immediate as possible.
How personal injury lawyers protect clients’ assets
Individuals and families work hard to accumulate assets, such as a home, car, motorcycle or other ‘big-ticket’ item. In an accident that involves property & casualty damage, such as a car accident, the driver determined ‘at-fault’ for the accident must arrange payment for the other driver or drivers’ losses. The total amount of losses owed by the at-fault driver can mount quickly. A serious medical injury, combined with a ‘total loss’ of car, means medical bills, lost wages, recovery time and perhaps a chronic or long-term injury. In other scenarios, an at-fault driver can cause wrongful death of another driver or passenger.
Labor-intensive, detail-oriented work involved in collecting information relating to the client’s car accident, including police reports, photos, witness statements and the like, requires the personal injury law firm’s immediate attention. The attorney interacts with opposing counsel, and brings any offers of settlement to the client. Although the attorney provides recommendations to the client on settlement and all issues relating to the case, agreement to settle the injury claim remains with the client. Some cases must go to jury trial, and the personal injury attorney helps his client navigate all steps necessary to successfully conclude and win the case.