Understanding The Personal Injury Process

What's The Difference Between An Accident And An Injury Attorney?

The trade of an auto accident attorney is actually considered a subset of the work typically done by a personal injury lawyer. As a consequence, you may be wondering what makes hiring an auto accident lawyer worth the effort. Let's look into the differences and similarities between the two professions.


This is the fundamental value of a lawyer who specifically handles accidents versus one who does injury claims. A car accident law practice develops resources and relationships that allow the firm to pursue cases. This means knowing engineers and scientists who can provide expert testimony about the physics of vehicle accident. It also entails knowing the local cops and learning which ones to talk to about areas where incidents occur.

You should note that it's not uncommon for a practice to include both an auto accident and a personal injury attorney. Even at a sole practice, one lawyer may handle both types of cases. Most attorneys, unless they live in relatively small areas, end up narrowing in on one area of law they prefer to practice.

Differences in the Law

When handling a typical injury case, such as a fall down a poorly maintained set of stairs, the process for pursuing a claim is usually pretty straightforward. The personal injury lawyer identifies the property owner, determines which insurer they have, assembles the details of the case, and sends a demand letter to the insurance carrier.

Auto accident claims can get much more involved. This is especially the case in states that have no-fault insurance systems. Those states require catastrophic injuries before they allow claims to be pursued directly with the at-fault party's insurance company. Issues can also arise from dealing with uninsured or underinsured motorists, and there can problems when cases involve fleet operators, company cars, or government vehicles.

Both types of attorneys spend a lot of time going through medical reports to build their clients' claims. With auto accident claims, though, the requirements in many cases for catastrophic injuries mean that more effort goes into meeting that threshold.

Similarities in the Processes

Most insurance companies handle personal injury and auto accident claims in much the same way. A demand letter comes to them, and they appoint a claims adjuster. The adjuster examines the available evidence to determine whether the claim is valid. If so, they make an offer. From there, the two sides usually negotiate a bit before arriving at a settlement.