What Type of Work Does a Personal Injury Paralegal Do Each Day?

What Type of Work Does a Personal Injury Paralegal Do Each Day?

Personal injury law firms rely on paralegals to help them prepare for cases. A personal injury paralegal job description typically entails supporting attorneys in various legal tasks related to personal injury cases.

Although paralegals do not practice law, they are trained in many types of legal assistance that enable them to support the attorneys and client cases. Understanding what does a personal injury paralegal do is crucial for those considering a career in this field, as their duties extend far beyond administrative tasks.

Paralegals working for personal injury law firms play a vital role in supporting attorneys in the litigation process. Here are just a few of the many ways paralegals help personal injury law offices run smoothly.

Paralegals Assist with Preparation

Personal injury cases are considered tort law cases which means the cases are heard in civil court as opposed to criminal court. The standards for culpability and presentation of evidence are different than in a criminal trial.

Flexibility and attention to detail are paramount in the personal injury paralegal duties, especially when it comes to collecting and organizing evidence for trial preparation. Paralegals must adapt their methodology of gathering evidence in preparation for the attorney to argue a case.

In a personal injury claim, these four things must be present:

  • A duty to act reasonably under the circumstances.
  • Someone has breached that duty.
  • The party’s breach of duty has caused harm to another party.
  • Harm caused to the injured party has a monetary value.

Paralegals working under a personal injury attorney should be familiar with reading and understanding medical records. Being proficient in medical terminology is often a prerequisite for fulfilling personal injury paralegal duties, as they frequently handle medical records and communicate with healthcare professionals. The paralegal may also be called upon to interview witnesses who have expert medical testimony. A rudimentary background in healthcare will be of great benefit in this role.

Communication with Clients

Paralegals work under attorneys to conduct client interviews, taking witness statements, and acting as a general liaison between the attorney and client.

Personal injury paralegals must also have comprehensive writing skills. Proficiency in legal writing is a cornerstone of the personal injury paralegal job description, encompassing tasks such as drafting pleadings, motions, and correspondence. Some of the things a paralegal may be tasked with are drafting correspondence, memoranda, pleadings, discovery responses, motions, and briefs.

In client and witness interviews, paralegals may also need to ask about the details and true facts of events, and these can sometimes be emotionally charged. Handling emotionally sensitive situations with tact and professionalism is an essential aspect of what a personal injury paralegal does, particularly during client interviews and witness statements. Clients who reach out to a personal injury firm have likely been greatly affected by the events of the injurious event.

The paralegal must have a high degree of empathy and compassion when listening to details, while obtaining factual recounts and extracting information in an impartial manner.

Organization of Documents

In a personal injury case, there are many documents that must be collected, organized, and filed with the court. The meticulous organization of legal documents is a core component of personal injury paralegal duties, ensuring that all necessary paperwork is readily accessible for litigation proceedings. For example, to begin a personal injury lawsuit, a complaint must be filed with the court advising the court and the parties involved the allegations of negligence in the claim.

Paralegals can assist in drafting these documents for the supervising attorney to review and sign. During the duration of the case, paralegals may also organize medical records and other important information.

Specialized Knowledge and Research

Personal injury paralegals often do research into laws and regulations, landmark decisions, state and local laws, workplace safety laws, or previous decisions as part of the research process. Conducting comprehensive legal research is an integral aspect of the personal injury paralegal job description, encompassing areas such as tort law, negligence principles, and relevant case precedents.

Some of the things that paralegals in a personal injury law firm might have specialized knowledge in include:

  • Automobile safety regulations and accidents
  • Medical liability
  • Tort law
  • Premises liability
  • Product liability
  • Worker’s compensation law
  • Wrongful death

Discovery Process

Paralegals in personal injury are similar to those in other areas of litigation. They still have to discover facts, gather and analyze evidence, prepare summaries and exhibits, draft demands, pleadings, and compiling discovery.

Discovery in legal proceedings refers to the process by which opponents in a lawsuit get information from each other to establish facts in the case. Facilitating the discovery process is a fundamental aspect of personal injury paralegal duties, involving tasks such as preparing interrogatories, requests for production, and organizing depositions.

The federal court system and most state court systems require both sides of litigation to disclose all relevant facts and documents to the other side before trial.

There are two main forms of discovery: written discovery (which includes producing documents), and live depositions.

Examples of discovery are written witness questions (known as interrogatories) delivered to the opponent to answer, a request that the opponent produce documents relevant to the case (known as request for production), request that the opponent admit to allegations (known as requests for admissions), or depositions – which are sworn statement where an attorney asks live questions of a witness, and a court reporter records the transcript for the case.

Discovery is important information that both sides of a lawsuit must go through. Paralegals are heavily involved in collecting, organizing, and managing this information in personal injury cases.

Keeping Scheduling on Track

Paralegals are an integral part of every law office, and they are often responsible for making sure events are scheduled properly throughout the litigation process. Maintaining an organized schedule is essential for fulfilling the personal injury paralegal job description, as they often coordinate court hearings, depositions, and client meetings to ensure efficient case management.

One brief example is if a hearing before the court needs to be scheduled. The opposing attorneys as well as their attorney and the court need to be in coordination. Some paralegals will be in charge of preparing documents to file with the court advising all involved parties of the date and time for the hearing.

Interested in a Paralegal Studies Program?

Eligible students can enroll in our fully Online Paralegal Studies program. This program helps students become a fully certified paralegal and earn your AA degree.

The Paralegal Studies program at Campus, formerly known as MTI College, are ABA-approved, meaning your training and curriculum will be top-notch. Campus is also accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

If you have any questions about our Paralegal Studies program, feel free to reach out our team via our Contact page or call (916) 339-1500.