Are you ready to be a Personal Injury Paralegal?
What is a Personal Injury Paralegal?
A personal injury paralegal assists personal injury lawyers in the direct performance of their duties. These paralegals help handle claims for injuries or accidents caused by another party. Some of their duties include helping with clerical services, supportive aid to lawyers, and court preparation.
In personal injury paralegal jobs, you may either work on the plaintiff side or the defendant side. Plaintiff personal injury law deals with the injured party, while defendant personal injury paralegals help defend the person or company accused of causing the accident.
Personal injury paralegals assist people in stressful situations. These employees must have excellent communication skills, great organizational skills, extensive knowledge of the litigation process, and professionalism. They must carefully guard the confidentiality of sensitive materials and case details as well.
Employers almost always prefer personal injury paralegal resumes with an associate’s degree. Getting your ABA paralegal certification or ACP certification and a bachelor’s degree in paralegal studies is attractive to law firms as well. You can add to your education as you work by taking additional courses in litigation and personal injury law.
If you lack paralegal certifications or advanced degrees, some personal injury law practices will still hire you as a paralegal intern.
Personal Injury Paralegal Essential Skills
The need for personal injury paralegals and legal assistants in the U.S. is high. Experience matters, with most law firms seeking candidates with at least one year of
on-the-job work history. Here are some examples of required skills in this field:
- General knowledge of the medical field and insurance policies is needed in everyday tasks as a personal injury paralegal.
- Investigative skills are valued, as you may need to take photos of a scene, interview witnesses, and obtain more information on your own.
- Great communication is key, especially when it comes to confusing and complex legal documents.
- Trial preparation and expertise is important if a settlement can’t be reached.
- Privacy and professionalism go hand in hand. You’ll need to respect HIPAA laws and the privacy of your clients.
- Teamwork and collaborative skills are paramount in working with lawyers, clients, and employees at the firm.
Personal Injury Paralegal Roles & Responsibilities
A personal injury paralegal assists with everything from clerical duties like answering phones to supporting lawyers in the litigation and legal process of each case. More expectations of a personal injury paralegal are:
- Understanding of medical terminology, common injuries, and basic human anatomy.
- Interviewing and screening prospective clients.
- Preparing witnesses and clients for depositions.
- Scheduling travel logistics for one or more attorneys.
- Transcribing legal documents.
- Scheduling court hearings, depositions, and other proceedings.
- Trial preparation.
Personal injury paralegals stay busy as the go-to aid for personal injury lawyers. On any given day, you’ll do anything from filing paperwork to interviewing potential clients. More tasks that a paralegal may perform regularly include:
- Understand and stay up to date with state laws governing personal injury.
- Review police and witness reports.
- Schedule medical examination appointments and follow up with clients.
- Gather and review medical reports and insurance information.
- Interview clients about accidents and injuries specific to each case.
- Basic litigation duties.
A personal injury paralegal salary, on average, is around $55,020. That’s $26.45 per hour. Experience, education and drive can push that salary higher. In the U.S., the top 10% of personal injury paralegals currently earn $82,500 annually. This rate can also fluctuate depending on the state and city where you work.