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Work Injury Lawyer: Education Requirements and Career Information

Work injury lawyers require a significant amount of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and licensure requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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When someone becomes injured in the workplace, they may be eligible to receive compensation for their treatment. Whether it's fraudulent injuries or the employer refusing to pay, an attorney is assigned to work it out. They must do research and interview co-workers and witnesses.

Essential Information

Work injury lawyers represent injured employees in lawsuits against their employers under the state's workers' compensation law. Before they can practice, all work injury lawyers must get a bachelor's degree followed by a law degree. After graduating from law school, they must pass a professional responsibility exam and a bar exam to be licensed to practice in their state.

Required Education J.D.
Other Requirements State license
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for all lawyers
Average Annual Salary (2015)* $136,260 for all lawyers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Undergraduate School

There is no specific undergraduate degree required to attend law school. Many lawyers hold degrees in English, history, political science, philosophy and the social sciences. An individual interested in becoming a work injury lawyer may benefit from taking science or health courses or majoring in a related field. This is because these classes or degree programs may provide students with information about the types of injuries and ailments that can affect humans.

Law School

Law school consists of three years of full-time study. Part-time programs are available, but usually take longer to complete. The first year of law school includes courses in legal research and writing, contracts, constitutional law, criminal law and property law. The second and third years are dedicated to courses in specialty subjects, such as family law or criminal law, as well as internships.

Licensure

Licensing requirements vary by state, but most states require passage of the Multistate Bar Examination as well as state-specific exams. Candidates may also be required to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination. These exams usually take at least two days in total to complete. Failing to pass the bar means that an individual is not admitted to the state's bar association and cannot practice law.

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Career Information for Work Injury Lawyers

Work injury attorneys represent both employers and employees. Work injury lawyers who work for employers usually focus on investigating claims to determine the validity of claims, recouping fraudulently paid benefits and ensuring that the employer complies with all state guidelines.

Those who work for injured individuals tend to focus on obtaining benefits owed to the individual. Although workers' compensation benefits are state-mandated, they are sometimes difficult to acquire. This is because there are extremely strict rules about what types of injuries fall within the purview of the laws, who can receive benefits and how long benefits will be paid. A work injury lawyer may help an individual prove that they are entitled to benefits, the amount of benefits they should receive or that they should receive benefits for longer than they were granted.

Duties

Typical job tasks for a work injury lawyer include interviewing and taking depositions of witnesses as well as reviewing paperwork and documents regarding injuries. They may also file compensation claims on behalf of their clients. If benefits are denied to the individual, the attorney may represent the client in an administrative hearing, which is similar to a trial but is not presented before a judge.

Job Outlook and Salary

While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't report employment figures for work injury lawyers, it does project an average job growth of 6% for lawyers of all types during the 2014-2024 decade. The large number of law school graduates applying for a limited number of positions is expected to result in strong competition, though lawyers who are willing to relocate could improve their job prospects. In 2015, lawyers earned an average salary of $136,260. The legal services industry was this occupation's leading employer; its lawyers earned an average annual wage of $141,920.

Work injury lawyers determine the validity of injury claims and ensure the client reaps their benefits. In general, all lawyers must finish both college and law school, and become licensed. During the last years of law school, classes in employment law or a related area are commonly taken by students who want to specialize in work injuries.

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