Even though people are having fun and having fun riding motorcycles, there is always the risk of accidents. When a motorcyclist has an accident, the injuries to the driver and passenger can be catastrophic. A car-to-car accident can be called a “fender bender” without injuring the occupants, but a motorcycle rider 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 (Motorcycle Attorney)
The process to become 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. Individuals who complete the process are called to the bar, which means they are legally allowed to practice law in the state.
Anyone admitted to practice law is authorized to appear in court to defend a person accused of having committed a crime or to represent a victim of a motorcycle accident. What distinguishes some lawyers from others is their experience in handling cases in a specific area of 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 an overview of negligence laws and courtroom and trial skills that can only be developed through years of experience. experience in representing accident victims.
There are three key factors you need to consider before hiring a lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident damages claim:
- Location: You may have seen or heard advertisements 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 typically refer your case to another law firm in your state, leaving you little say in choosing the attorney. Choosing an attorney located in the city or county where your case will go to court means that you are represented by someone who is familiar with local court procedures and knows the judges.
- General Practitioners: Many solicitors and law firms operate as general practices. They can handle real estate, criminal defense, wills and estates, and personal injury. A lawyer who occasionally handles a motorcycle case will not have the same level of familiarity with the law or possess the same trial skills as a lawyer who focuses exclusively on personal injury law. . The easiest way to learn 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 make sure you get someone who can get the best results. In addition to asking the lawyer 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 of them has the three criteria you want in the lawyer handling your motorcycle claim.
How to Find a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The pool of attorneys from which to choose a few to interview to select the motorcycle accident attorney to handle your claim is huge. There are approximately 1.3 million attorneys in the United States, of which nearly 170,000 practice in California. Sure, only a small percentage of them deal with 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 when buying your home or the one who represents your business may not handle motorcycle accident claims, but they should be able to recommend a lawyer who will.
- Law Societies : 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 California State Bar provides a statewide list of local attorney referral services organized by county.
- Google Search: Everyone seems to rely on Google when looking for something, so typing “motorcycle accident attorney” and your location in the search box will bring results. One of the limitations of a Google search is that you have to sort through the results by looking at websites to determine which of the many law 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 ratings and attorney ratings. Popular directories include:
- Motorcycle Legal Foundation
- Martindale Hubbell
One source you may want to be wary of is solicitation letters from law firms offering their services. State bar associations set rules for attorney advertising, which includes solicitation letters. For example, California requires attorneys to clearly indicate 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 company’s services.
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Tips for Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Interview several Attorneys before hiring one
Now that you have a list of attorneys that you think meet your criteria with respect to location and area of practice, it’s time to choose the attorney who will handle your car accident case. motorbike. The only effective way to do this is to interview each attorney.
Most lawyers offer free consultations, so make an appointment with several lawyers on your list. Prepare for 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 accident reports
- Photographs of the accident scene, vehicles and your injuries
- Any medical reports you may have that explain your injuries
- Documents showing your regular salary and time lost from work due to the accident
Ask the right questions
The purpose 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 lawyer been practicing law?
- What percentage of the practice is devoted to motorcycle law?
- Will the lawyer you interview be the one handling the case?
- How many motorcycle accident cases similar to yours has the lawyer handled?
- What percentage of motorcycle accident cases handled by the lawyer result in a settlement?
It should be noted that the vast majority of motorcycle accident cases end in settlement. Yet one factor contributing to a favorable settlement for the accident victim is the lawyer’s reputation as an attorney. A lawyer who settles all the motorcycle cases that come into the office could be a great lawyer, but it could also mean that the law firm favors quick settlements over taking a case to court when necessary to maximize the amount. collected by the customer.
A motorcycle accident attorney should have experience conducting lawsuits on behalf of accident victims. Building a reputation as a lawyer capable of carrying out a lawsuit affects the adjusters’ willingness to settle cases. Adjusters who know that a lawyer does not have much recent litigation experience may be tempted to make low settlement offers in the belief that the lawyer will not push the case to trial.
Find out about the fees during the interview
The reality is that the practice of law is a profession, but it is also a business. It is essential to discuss what the motorcycle accident lawyer will charge as fees and any other expenses you may be required to pay.
Most motorcycle accident claims are handled on a contingency fee basis, which means the attorney gets 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 liability the client will have for the fees. and expenses. Fees and expenses may include expert witness fees, court costs and other litigation costs advanced by your attorney. If you win your case, the costs will be deducted from the settlement or verdict, but if you lose, you may have to pay the lawyer out of your own pocket.
The percentage charged as fees and responsibility for costs and expenses are negotiable between you and the lawyer. The interview is a great time to ask the lawyer about the firm’s typical contingency fee practices and discuss how they would apply to your case if you agreed to retain the firm’s services.
Assess your comfort level with the Motorcycle Accident Attorney
One of the essential elements of the relationship between a client and a lawyer is communication. If your meeting with the attorney has been constantly interrupted by phone calls or staff coming in asking questions about other cases, it could be a sign that the attorney is too busy to handle your case. You want a lawyer whose full attention is on you and any questions or concerns you have about your motorcycle accident claim. A lawyer 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 needed to make an informed decision,
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
Your family’s financial well-being is at stake when you are injured and unable to work. A lawyer whose primary area of practice is motorcycle law allows you to focus on recovering from your injuries while your lawyer deals with the insurance company and the negligent party to get you the compensation you you deserve. Make an informed decision about a motorcycle accident attorney by doing the proper research and contacting an attorney today!