Personal Injury AttorneyJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A personal injury attorney helps clients with claims regarding injuries they sustain due to the negligence of others. These claims can include direct injuries from assault and battery, automobile accidents, defective or malfunctioning products, negligent conditions on someone else’s property (such as slipping and falling), slander, libel and defamation, or medical malpractice.

Basic knowledge of human anatomy, standard medical terms, and even physics can be helpful to a personal injury attorney. They will frequently have to collaborate with, and take depositions from, medical professionals or reconstruct the details of an accident that caused an injury. Knowledge of insurance and liability laws relating to the attorney’s area of specialization is also critical. Skills common to most attorney positions — such as written and verbal communication, research, and negotiation — are crucial for a personal injury attorney.

Sample job description

Personal injury attorneys represent clients in court who are seeking justice and compensation for personal injury. Many specialize in a particular aspect of personal injury law. Personal injury attorneys should possess strong communication skills, an exceptional code of ethics, and compassion for their clients. They must also be effective advocates for their clients. They must possess strong research and analytical skills. [Your Company Name] is hiring an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have experience helping clients find justice and compensation for their injuries, you might be an ideal candidate.     

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Advise and counsel clients on matters relating to injuries sustained through the negligence of another, such as auto accidents, assault and battery, or product liability
  • Consult with doctors regarding the extent of a client’s injuries
  • Write and file claims, motions, and court briefs
  • Litigate cases in court if necessary
  • Negotiate settlement terms with defendants and their insurance companies

Education and experience

This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where the candidate will work.

Employers prefer candidates with board certification from the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA).

Required skills and qualifications

  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Knowledge of state and federal laws regarding safety, liability and insurance regulation
  • Research skills
  • Analytical thinking
  • Expertise in negotiation
  • Litigation experience
  • Basic knowledge of medical terms

Preferred qualifications

  • Able to develop and manage plaintiff personal injury cases worth 1 million and up
  • Independently manage a litigation caseload, working cases from beginning to end
  • 5+ years of experience

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a personal injury attorney is $102,100 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$101,500$137,350
Los Angeles, California$114,550$154,950
Denver, Colorado$95,450$129,150
Washington, DC$116,200$157,300
Miami, Florida$95,000$128,550
Orlando, Florida$87,650$118,550
Tampa, Florida$88,500$119,750
Atlanta, Georgia$92,850$125,600
Chicago, Illinois$106,700$144,400
Boston, Massachusetts$115,400$156,150
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$91,950$124,450
New York City, New York$121,450$164,350
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$98,900$133,850
Dallas, Texas$96,300$130,300
Houston, Texas$95,850$129,700
Seattle, Washington$111,050$150,250
National Average$86,750$117,400

Typical work environment

Personal injury attorneys typically work in legal offices but spend a lot of time in courtrooms representing clients and in law libraries researching cases. They meet clients in homes, hospitals, and other locations. Many personal injury attorneys work 50 to 60 hours a week.    

Typical hours

The work hours in an office setting for a personal injury attorney are usually from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, many lawyers work more than 40 hours a week, especially when nearing deadlines or preparing for court proceedings.

Available certifications

Personal injury attorneys represent a variety of clients, and many institutions offer certification programs to prove their expertise. Here are some of the best certifications for personal injury attorneys: 

  • Board Certified in Personal Injury Law. Board certification in personal injury law tells your prospective clients that you have the respect of your peers, and you are acknowledged as a significant injury trial lawyer. Board certification is specific to each state, and the requirements for certification vary. All candidates must be practicing personal injury law and must maintain continuing education in personal injury law.  
  • Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. Being board certified as a civil trial lawyer demonstrates that you are an expert in personal injury or medical malpractice law. The eligibility conditions differ by state but require years of experience and passing a rigorous and difficult exam.

Career path

Personal injury attorneys are required to have a Juris Doctorate from an accredited law school as well as a license to practice law in the state where they work. College coursework in topics like biology, anatomy, physics, personal injuries, insurance law, and related subjects is helpful and can make candidates attractive to employers. Obtaining board certification from the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys (ABPLA), which often requires passing a written exam, continuing legal education courses, and getting references from other legal professionals in the field, can make a personal injury attorney stand out.

Most attorneys start in law firms as associates, then progress on either a partner or non-partner track, leading to positions as partners, senior attorneys, or of counsel.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 23-1011

2020 Employment804,200
Projected Employment in 2030875,700
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 9% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift71,500 increase

The personal injury law field is a crowded one. Personal injury attorneys should be aware of marketing and advertising trends in the field to make themselves or their firms stand out. According to several legal marketing companies, including the web marketing firm Digital Logic, billboards, buses, and television ads are no longer the best ways to market a personal injury law firm. Instead, the industry is trending toward more professional, comprehensive websites with lots of information for potential clients searching for a personal injury attorney. This information can include adding virtual web assistants like chatbots on the site to help potential clients and obtain basic information about their needs.

Sample interview questions

  • What is the most important quality of a personal injury attorney in your opinion?
  • What made you choose a career in personal injury law?
  • How do you stay up to date on current trends in personal injury law?
  • How do you handle cases that don’t go according to plan?
  • How do you deliver difficult news to a client?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • Why did you decide to become a personal injury attorney?
  • What is the most successful case you have worked on as a personal injury attorney?
  • How do you stay current on local, state, and federal personal injury laws and regulations?
  • What is the most difficult case you have worked on? Why?
  • What types of personal injury claims do you specialize in?
  • How do you ensure that your client receives the best personal and professional care?
  • Which skills make you a good personal injury attorney?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In 10?
  • What is the most difficult part of being a personal injury attorney?
  • How well do you work under pressure?
  • What steps do you take to prepare for a difficult case?
  • Can you describe a time when you made a mistake when handling a case? What did you learn from it?
  • What is your record of cases won/lost in court?
  • How would you prioritize your work when working on multiple cases?

Personal Injury Attorney Jobs in Ashburn

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