According to Modern Attorney, about 400,000 personal injury claims are filed each year. A majority of these are settled out of court, but a small number make their way to trial. If you are a personal injury attorney, it’s important to make sure your client leaves the court properly compensated.
Regardless of the number of personal injury cases you take, expect a few to enter into trial. This often happens if the other party has a solid defence. To prepare you for this eventuality, you will need to focus on a few key skills that guarantee victory. Here are four of the most critical skills that will determine the outcome of your personal injury case:
1. Investigative skills
Much of what you do as an attorney is to examine facts and evidence. Your client may not provide the full story of what really happened on the day they got injured, so you might as well investigate on your own. Building a solid case will depend on how well you connect different facts together and disprove any claims that the other side may lob against you. It also pays to interview people who were present at the time and place of the personal injury. It’s best to assume that you don’t have all the facts with you, so let your curiosity lead you to the right information.
2. Research skills
To be a good personal injury lawyer, you will need to take a look at medical records and previous court decisions to support your case. It’s also important to know how certain injuries could lead to long-term hardship for your client. Try to get expert opinions and interview your client’s doctor. You can also read medical articles and reports of other similar cases. Taking time to do extensive research helps you find facts that could strengthen your case and maximise your client’s claims.
3. Communication skills
It takes experience and a good grasp of psychology to present facts in a clear, engaging, and logical manner. Legal experts have done well in helping victims of personal injury take home larger compensation packages through well-structured arguments. It’s also important to come across as empathetic. You will want to build rapport with your clients, and come up with opening and closing statements that favour proper compensation.
4. Organisational skills
Given all the facts you need to build your client’s case, it’s important to stay organised. You have a lot on your plate each day and it’s easy to get lost in the details. Apart from relying on a paralegal for researching and compiling documents, you should also keep track of everything you need for your case using apps such as Evernote or Google Keep. Being tech-savvy goes a long way when it comes to preparing for a major legal battle.
If you haven’t experienced a personal injury case being challenged in court, you will need to prepare for one in case. Get started on honing these skills so you can win your first lawsuit.