My Lawyer Career – My Day As A Chester County Personal Injury Attorney – Part II
The first five years I was a lawyer, I was involved in every area of the law. For the past 34 years, my practice has been limited to only personal injury cases including automobile accidents and medical malpractice. So why did I make a decision to spend my life in this type of law?
The practice of personal injury law is interesting and you get to help a lot of people and their families who suffered harm and have had their lives devastated.
Trial & Pre-Trial Preparation And Responsibilities
Personal injury lawyers also refer to themselves as trial lawyers. The reason is we get into court a lot. I deal with insurance companies on every case and we all know that they do not stay in business because they are generous or even reasonable in handling payment of a claim. Therefore, a lot of cases are not settled and the only recourse is to take the case to court before a jury.
There are two parts to every personal injury case. The first is preparing the case for trial and the second is the actual trial. Preparing a case for trial is a lot like preparing a movie from the inception of the idea for the movie until the time it plays at the theater. As a trial lawyer, I have to act like a film producer in preparing the case, the witnesses, and the exhibits. I then have to write the script for the questions I ask each witness as well as the cross examination. Let’s not forget the opening and closing arguments, an important component that necessitates many hours of diligent preparation. Then I have to play director when I prepare the witnesses for trial. I have to tell them how to act and react to questions in the courtroom; how to present themselves before a jury (including what to wear); and how to respond to the cross examination of the other attorney. Since I am involved in the trial as well, I also have to use acting techniques in front of the jury.
In handling personal injury cases, especially medical malpractice cases, a lawyer must have knowledge of the subject. If I have a case involving failed surgery on a shoulder, I have to go to the medical library and read books on surgical techniques. Handling a slip and fall case at a construction site means that you have to be aware of what goes on at a site and review safety measures and government regulations.
It’s interesting work because each case is different!
Legal Competition And Career Inspiration
The competition also appeals to me. If I lose the case, I lose everything. I lose the money that I’ve put forward on the case (sometimes exceeding $50,000). I don’t get paid a nickel for my time. I could put hundreds of hours into a case and then wind up with nothing.
Each day I walk in the office I know that I will be involved with a case that interests me and gives me a chance to be successful for my client and myself. That is inspiring, and allows me to feel that I can make a positive difference.