What Is the Difference Between a Lawyer and an Attorney?

Do you often find yourself using the terms “attorney” and “lawyer” interchangeably and wonder if there is any clear distinction between the two? You’re definitely not alone. Many people believe the two titles represent the same profession, but there are some subtle differences.

By learning about these differences, you can ensure you’re reaching out to the appropriate legal professional for your specific needs. So, what is the difference between a lawyer and an attorney?

What Is a Lawyer?

A lawyer, in its simplest definition, is someone who has earned a law degree (Juris Doctor, or JD) from an accredited law school. Earning a law degree does not automatically grant someone legal authority to practice law in all 50 states. To actually practice law and represent clients in court, a lawyer must pass the bar exam and become an attorney.

What Is an Attorney?

Attorneys are individuals with both law degrees and admission to practice law in one or more states by passing the bar exam. Attorneys are authorized to provide legal advice, represent clients in court by presenting evidence, and advocate for their interests.

When Do You Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

The purpose of a personal injury attorney is to help someone who has been injured due to negligence or intentional harm by another person or entity. Here are a few common situations that could necessitate seeking legal advice from an experienced attorney:

  • Car Accidents: If you’re involved in an auto accident, your first priority should be getting medical attention if needed and contacting the police so they can file an accident report. After these steps have been taken, it would then be wise to consult a personal injury attorney who can help handle any claims you may be entitled to file to recover financial losses. 
  • Dog Bites: Dog owners have a responsibility to keep their pets under control at all times. If you’ve been bitten by someone else’s dog, they may be held legally responsible for medical expenses as well as other costs related to the incident. A reputable attorney will ensure that you receive justice and appropriate financial restitution.
  • Medical Malpractice: Medical malpractice claims involve complex legal issues revolving around whether or not reasonable care was provided by healthcare professionals. If you’ve suffered harm as a result of this negligence – for example, a delayed diagnosis or a surgical error – you should speak with a personal injury attorney specializing in medical malpractice cases.

Choosing the Right Personal Injury Attorney For Your Case

Personal injury cases are important matters that require the help of an experienced and qualified attorney. Picking the wrong attorney can have disastrous results, so selecting the right one is vital. Whether you’ve been in a car accident, were injured on someone else’s property, or suffered medical malpractice, here’s how to choose a personal injury attorney for your case: 

  • Look at their reputation: Ensure the attorney has good ratings with legal organizations such as the American Bar Association (ABA) and Avvo. Also, check online reviews from former clients – you can usually do this by Googling the attorney’s name and location. These resources will provide valuable insight into the experience level and success rate of the attorney. 
  • Find one who specializes in the appropriate area of law: Do not hire just any type of lawyer; find somebody that concentrates on personal injuries specifically rather than seeing it as only part of what they do. It doesn’t matter how many years of experience an attorney has if they’ve never handled a personal injury case before. Additionally, if you need a personal injury attorney who handles slip and fall cases (or any other specific type of case), make sure they have experience with this type of personal injury case.
  • Set up free consultations: Once you’ve narrowed down who might be a suitable attorney for your needs, set up a consultation so you can learn more about the attorney. This is a good time to discuss fees associated with their legal services. It will also give you an overall feel for how the attorney presents themself. If something feels off, keep looking – always trust your gut. 
  • Evaluate communication style: When interviewing prospective candidates, ask questions about their communication style – including availability outside regular office hours, whether they will answer texts or emails, and whether you will be able to reach them or will have to go through an assistant. This allows you to get a better understanding of what type of relationship you should expect.

Choosing the correct attorney may seem overwhelming, but we’re here for you. If you need help with a legal matter, schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury attorneys. 

Contact an Experienced Albuquerque Personal Injury Lawyer for Help With Your Claim

If you were injured in an accident in Albuquerque, NM, and need legal help, contact our Albuquerque personal injury attorneys at Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102

(505) 594-3621

Curiel & Runion Car Accident and Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014

(602) 595-5559

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
5151 E Broadway Blvd. Suite 1600
Tucson, AZ 85711
(520) 492-0926