What is a personal injury lawyer?

If you have been injured in an accident and are considering bringing a lawsuit, you may have a very simple question: what is a personal injury lawyer? What do they do? And should you hire one? In this post, we try to answer that question.

Holding wrongdoers accountable

A personal injury lawyer is an attorney who represents injured people in a lawsuit against the wrongdoers that caused the injuries. The most common examples are transportation accidents. Our firm handles car wreck accidents, trucking accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Georgia. To use a very simple example, imagine that someone runs a red light and causes a car accident in Nashville, or Bowling Green, or Atlanta. A personal injury lawyer would then bring a lawsuit against the driver that ran the red light.

Brainstorming all potential claims and defendants

In the above “red light” example, it’s pretty obvious that a personal injury lawyer will bring the the lawsuit against the at-fault driver. But a good personal injury lawyer will brainstorm all potential claims against all possible defendants. So maybe, in addition to the driver who ran the red light, there is a claim to be made against the engineering firm that designed the roadway, or possibly the governmental entity responsible for maintaining the roadway in a safe condition. Thinking “outside the box” is something a good personal injury attorney will do.

Potential wrongdoers in personal injury cases may include private individuals, as in the “red light” example, but can also include governmental entities, police officers, corporations, landlords businesses, medical device companies, products manufacturers, and others.

Step 1: Investigation

The first step in a personal injury case is to investigate your claim. Whether your accident happened in Tennessee, Kentucky, or Georgia, our personal injury lawyers will investigate all documents, evidence, video footage, police reports, medical records, medical bills, and other materials to understand what happened in your case and who can be held accountable.

Step 2: Prepare the lawsuit

In some cases, it may be possible to resolve your case without a lawsuit. Many car accident cases will resolve pre-suit, without a formal lawsuit. But many other cases must be filed. A personal injury lawyer will then prepare the lawsuit, or Complaint,” and file the suit. From there, the lawyer will make sure the lawsuit is properly served (service of process), and the litigation process will then commence.

Step 3: Discovery

After the defendants respond to the lawsuit, the discovery phase of the lawsuit begins. Discovery is where each side can solicit information from the other side, including sending formal questions that have to be answered under oath. Your lawyer can also ask for certain documents that must be provided and can subpoena non-parties to the case for certain evidence and information they might have. After that, the parties will conduct depositions, which is when the parties provide testimony under oath.

Step 4: Motions

Once the discovery phase is over, it is likely the defense will file a motion for summary judgment in an attempt to get your case thrown out of court before trial. Our personal injury lawyers will respond to their motions, and possibly file motions of our own. Assuming your case makes it past summary judgment, the prospects of settlement increase dramatically.

Step 5: Resolution

The overwhelming majority of lawsuits in the civil justice system resolve before trial, so it is exceedingly rare for a case to go to trial. After discovery is completed and all motions have been filed and the Court has ruled, the typical personal injury case should resolve in a settlement. If it does not, then your case may proceed to trial. If that happens, then of course your personal injury lawyer would conduct the trial, present the evidence, make all arguments, and hopefully obtain a good result for you.


We hope this overview has been helpful in answering the question of what personal injury lawyers do. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Tennessee, Kentucky, or Georgia, please contact our injury attorneys today.

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DRS Law is a well-respected personal injury law firm based in Nashville. Our lawyers have  been selected as a Mid-South Super Lawyer, named one of the Top    100 attorneys in Tennessee in all fields of practice, and is included in the Best Lawyers in America guidebook.

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