Even though people have fun and enjoy riding motorcycles, there is always a chance of an accident. When a motorcyclist is in an accident, the injuries to the driver and passenger can be catastrophic. An accident between two cars can be called a “fender bender” without injuring the occupants, but the rider of a motorcycle rarely escapes without a trip to the hospital for treatment of fractured lacerations or even more serious injuries.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident, the compensation you ultimately receive from a negligent driver depends on the experience and skill of the motorcycle attorney you hire to represent you. This article gives you the information you need to make an informed decision and help you find an attorney who can get you the maximum compensation for your injuries.
What to consider when hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer
The process of becoming a lawyer is arduous. After graduating from law school, an applicant wishing to practice law must pass the bar exam to demonstrate legal knowledge. There is also a background check and investigation to determine if the applicant is of good character. Those who complete the process are admitted to the bar, which means they are legally permitted to practice law in the state.
Anyone admitted to practice law is allowed to appear in court to defend someone accused of committing a crime or represent a victim of a motorcycle accident. What distinguishes some lawyers from others is their experience in handling cases in a specific area of the law. For example, anyone can take on a personal injury case, but if you are seriously injured in an accident, you want the attorney handling your claim to have insight into negligence law and courtroom and trial skills that can only be developed through years of experience. experience representing accident victims.
There are three key factors you should consider before hiring an attorney to handle your motorcycle accident claim:
- Location: You may have seen or heard ads advertising the services of motorcycle accident attorneys. Some of the ads are for attorneys in other states (or parts of the state that are hours away from your court location). Out-of-state law firms usually refer your case to another firm located in your state, leaving you with little say in which attorney to choose. Choosing an attorney located in the city or county where your case will be going to court means that you are represented by someone who knows the local court procedures and knows the judges.
- General practitioners: Many lawyers and law firms operate as general practices. They may handle real estate, criminal defense, wills and estates, and personal injury. An attorney who occasionally handles a motorcycle case will not have the same level of familiarity with the law or possess the same trial skills as an attorney who focuses exclusively on personal injury law. The easiest way to find out about an attorney’s practice is to ask questions, including asking what percentage of the attorney’s practice is motorcycle law.
- Good reputation and experience: Finding a motorcycle accident lawyer takes work to ensure you get someone who can get the best results. In addition to asking the attorney questions, you should also do your research by checking online reviews and testimonials from as many sources as possible.
You want to compare a few lawyers before concluding which one has the three criteria you want in the lawyer who handles your motorcycle claim.
How to find a motorcycle accident lawyer
The pool of lawyers from which to choose a few to interview to select the right motorcycle accident lawyer to handle your claim is enormous. There are approximately 1.3 million lawyers in the United States, with nearly 170,000 XNUMX practicing in California. Of course, only a small percentage of them handle motorcycle law, but who do you call? There are several ways to narrow your search, including:
- Friends and relatives: Chances are someone you know, either a family member or a close friend, has used the services of a motorcycle accident attorney.
- Referral to a lawyer: The lawyer who represented you in the purchase of your home or the lawyer who represents your business may not handle motorcycle accident claims, but should be able to recommend a lawyer who will.
- Bar Associations: Most state and local bar associations have attorney referral services that you can contact to get the names of local motorcycle accident attorneys. For example, the State Bar of California provides a statewide list of local attorney referral services organized by county.
- Google Search: Everyone seems to rely on Google when searching for something, so typing “motorcycle accident lawyer” and your location into the search box will bring up results. One limitation of a Google search is that you have to sort through the results by looking at websites to determine which of the many firms and lawyers you want to call.
- Lawyer Directories: Another source from which you can obtain the names of lawyers and law firms is one or more online lawyer directories. A lawyer directory allows you to find a local lawyer based on their area of practice. Some directories, such as Martindale-Hubbell and Avvo, offer client and peer reviews and attorney ratings. Popular directories include:
- Legal foundation of the motorcycle
- Martindale Hubbell
One source you may want to be wary of is solicitation letters from law firms offering their services. State bars set rules for attorney advertising, which includes solicitation letters. For example, California requires attorneys to clearly state that these letters are a form of advertising. Keep in mind that the content of the letter is intended to encourage you to retain the firm.
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Tips for Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Interview several lawyers before hiring one
Now that you have a list of attorneys that you feel meet your criteria for location and practice area, it’s time to choose the attorney who will handle your motorcycle accident case. The only effective way to do this is to interview each attorney.
Most attorneys offer free consultations, so make appointments with several attorneys on your list. Prepare for the meetings by gathering documents to bring with you that will provide the attorney with information about the accident and your injuries. Documents you might consider bringing with you include:
- Police reports on the accident
- Photographs of the accident scene, vehicles and your injuries
- Medical reports you may have that explain your injuries
- Documents showing your regular pay and time lost from work due to the accident
Ask the right questions
The goal of the interview is to learn as much as possible about the lawyer – don’t be shy about asking questions. Here are some important questions to ask at the beginning of the interview:
- How long has the attorney been practicing law?
- What percentage of the practice is devoted to motorcycle law?
- Will the attorney you interview be the one handling the case?
- How many motorcycle accident cases similar to yours has the attorney handled before?
- What percentage of motorcycle accident cases handled by the attorney result in a settlement?
It should be noted that the vast majority of motorcycle accident cases end in a settlement. Yet, one factor contributing to a favorable settlement for the accident victim is the attorney’s reputation as an attorney. An attorney who settles every motorcycle case that comes into the office could be an excellent attorney, but it could also mean that the law firm favors quick settlements over taking a case to trial when necessary to maximize the amount recovered by the client.
A motorcycle accident attorney should have experience conducting litigation on behalf of accident victims. Building a reputation as an attorney who can successfully conduct a trial affects the willingness of adjusters to settle cases. Adjusters who know that an attorney does not have much recent trial experience may be tempted to make low settlement offers in the belief that the attorney will not push the case to trial.
Ask about fees at the interview
The reality is that practicing law is a profession, but it is also a business. It is essential to discuss what the motorcycle accident attorney will charge as a fee and what other expenses you may be required to pay.
Most motorcycle accident claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney is paid when and if your claims end in a settlement or verdict after a trial in your favor. Ask for a copy of the attorney’s written contingency fee agreement.
California contingency fee agreements must be in writing and contain the terms of the fee arrangement between the attorney and the client, including the percentage charged as fees and the responsibility the client will have for costs and expenses. Costs and expenses may include expert witness fees, court costs and other litigation expenses advanced by your attorney. If you win your case, the fees will be deducted from the settlement or verdict, but if you lose, you may be required to reimburse the lawyer out of pocket.
The percentage charged as fees and the responsibility for costs and expenses are negotiable between you and the lawyer. The interview is an excellent time to ask the lawyer about the firm’s usual contingency fee practices and discuss how they would apply to your case if you were to agree to retain the firm.
Assess your comfort level with the motorcycle accident attorney
One of the key elements of a client-attorney relationship is communication. If your meeting with the attorney has been constantly interrupted by phone calls or if staff are coming in to ask questions about other cases, this could be a sign that the attorney is too busy to handle your case. You want an attorney whose full attention is on you and the questions or concerns you have about your motorcycle accident claim. An attorney who shows a willingness to listen to you and makes you feel comfortable asking questions during the interview is probably the best person to represent you. Once you have completed your interviews and gathered the information you need to make an informed decision, it is time to choose a motorcycle accident attorney.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Your family’s financial well-being is at stake when you are injured and unable to work. An attorney whose primary practice area is motorcycle law allows you to focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney deals with the insurance company and the negligent party to get you the compensation you deserve. Make an informed decision about a motorcycle accident attorney by doing the proper research and contacting an attorney today!
Reference : motorcyclesportworld