The University of Law awards honorary doctorates to human rights and criminology leaders. Find out more
Conflict in Israel and Gaza – support for students. Find out more

legal practice areas

Personal injury and clinical negligence law

A personal injury lawyer deals with claims for compensation made as a result of accidents, diseases or the clinical negligence of the medical profession.

What are personal injury and clinical negligence laws?

Personal injury and clinical negligence law involve helping clients get compensation for injuries suffered in accidents in public or at the workplace and injuries caused by medical negligence.

Types of Personal Injury Claims

  • Road Traffic Accidents - car, motorcycle, cycle accidents; pedestrians road accidents, untraced or uninsured motorist road accidents and whiplash injury compensation claims.
  • Accidents at Work or in the Workplace/Work Related Illnesses - accidents on building and construction sites, on the docks; farm accidents and illnesses; manual handling and lifting injuries; workplace accidents including trips & slips; faulty machinery & work equipment; inadequate training, instructions, information & supervision; safety & protective equipment (PPE).
  • Trips, Slips and Accidents in public places -  accidents in pubs, restaurants, supermarkets & shops; pavement trips & slips; accidents in public places and accidents in school or college.
  • Other accident claims - serious & complex injury claims; faulty products & services; hairdressers, beauty therapy, body art; dog bites, dog attacks & accidents caused by animals; holiday accidents & illness abroad; public transport accidents; farm accidents & illnesses; military accident; hand arm vibration syndrome; sport injury and other accidents & injury claims.

What does a personal injury lawyer do?

Law firms tend to specialise in either representing claimants (i.e. the injured party) or defendants.

Personal injury lawyers who represent claimants either work directly for an individual, or on their behalf through insurers or unions if their claim is related to their work. Those who specialise in defendant work often act on behalf of the defendant’s insurers. For example, the motor insurance company in the case of a car accident.

What skills are required?

A personal injury lawyer may be dealing with people who have suffered serious injuries or on behalf of the families of those who have died as a result of injury, disease or clinical negligence.

They need to be able to be empathetic to individuals and their families in difficult circumstances, whilst remaining professionally objective when fighting the client’s case in court.

As with many areas of the law, large amounts of written material need to be managed including case bundles and witness statements, so excellent time management skills are key. A natural interest in technology and medicine would be helpful in order to cope with the complex details of a case.

Being an excellent communicator and negotiator is important as personal injury lawyers need to work with clients from varied backgrounds including insurance company representatives, medical, other technical specialists and legal professionals.

How to become a Personal Injury Lawyer?

To work as a solicitor, you can either take the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE), or if you are eligible, you can study the Legal Practice Course (LPC).

If you qualify through the SQE, you will also need to complete two years of Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). To prepare for the SQE, we recommend studying one of our SQE courses, which have been designed to give you the knowledge and skills for a successful career as a solicitor.

If you’re eligible to study the LPC, you will need to get a two-year training contract with a law firm. To find out what route is right for you, see our Becoming a Solicitor page.

Once you complete your two-year training contract or QWE, you can apply to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to be admitted as a solicitor.

To become a barrister, you will need to have completed an undergraduate law degree, or if you are a non-law graduate, a conversion course, before completing the Bar Practice Course (BPC). You will then need to secure pupillage.

You can also study a Master of Law (LLM) in Medical Law and Ethics, an LLM in Mental Health Law or an LLM in Insurance Law to give you the knowledge and skills to move into this sector.

Top Personal Injury Law Firms

  • Easthams Solicitors Limited
  • Eldred Law
  • Slater Heelis
  • Tinsdills Solicitors
  • FBC Manby Bowdler LLP
  • Bond Turner Limited
  • Taylor Rose Ttkw Limited
  • Ocl Solicitors Limited
  • Ashtons Legal
  • Wolferstans

What is the salary of a personal injury lawyer?

A starting salary for a newly qualified personal injury lawyer starts from around £32,000. An average personal injury solicitor is around £37,500, according to Experienced personal injury lawyers can earn from £45,00 to £65,000, depending on location and years of experience.

Useful links

The following student guides have useful information on working in Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence law:, Chambers and Partners Student Guide and Target Law.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers – More information about the Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence industry.

Personal Injury news can be found at The Lawyer and Law Gazette.