Motorcyclists are 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per vehicle mile traveled. This sounds like a scary statistic, but you can significantly reduce this risk level with proper riding gear and driving habits. However, you can’t control the actions of the other drivers around you.
If you find yourself involved in an accident while riding your motorcycle, then you’ll want to hire legal representation. You need someone looking out for your best interests and fighting for your rights. A motorcycle accident lawyer can do this.
Follow this guide to ensure you choose the best motorcycle accident attorney for your case.
Knowledge of Motorcycles
There are personal injury attorneys, auto accident attorneys, and attorneys that specialize in motorcycle accidents. Look for a lawyer who has a solid understanding of both personal injury law and motorcycles. They will be able to understand the mechanics of your accident and effectively explain it to others.
Many attorneys are motorcycle riders themselves. You may find that they are more willing to fight for the rights of a fellow rider. However, focus more on the attorney’s knowledge and less on whether they ride.
Just because the lawyer knows a lot about the law and bikes doesn’t mean they are good at what they do. This is why you look at their experience and track record.
Years of Practice
Look at the number of years they have practiced law and the length of time they have practiced as a lawyer for motorcycle accidents. Generally, the longer someone has been in the profession, the more variety of cases they have seen and the higher the likelihood they have already tried a case with facts similar to yours.
The second experience factor to consider is the number of cases the attorney has handled. Look at how they handle the cases. Do they represent clients in motorcycle accident settlements, mediation, arbitration, and trial verdicts?
A lawyer should provide you with data on how many cases they handled and their outcomes. Look for an attorney with a strong history of favorable settlements and verdicts. While this won’t guarantee your case’s outcome, it gives you an idea of the attorney’s skill and willingness to pursue the matter.
In most situations, you’re making a motorcycle accident claim to an insurance company. Insurance companies have a large budget and experienced legal teams to ensure they protect their best interests. You need to look for a lawyer that has experience with insurance companies.
They will understand how they work and typical tricks or maneuvers they make. Your attorney should also have experience negotiating with insurance companies. More often than not, personal injury claims settle out of court, and you need someone representing you who can ensure this settlement is the best you can do.
There are only so many hours in the day, and an in-demand attorney may not have enough time to give your case the attention and dedication that it deserves. If the lawyer seems scattered and is continuously interrupted, they may not be the best person for your case.
Who Will Handle Your Case?
Clients assume that the person they have a consultation with is the person who will handle their case. This isn’t always what happens. Some attorneys pass cases off to junior attorneys to handle, and others have secretaries or paralegals do the bulk of the work.
While your chosen attorney may oversee the work, you aren’t getting their full attention and skill. This may be alright with you, but make sure you’re paying for the junior employee’s work and not the top attorney’s rate.
Effective communication with your attorney is crucial to have adequate representation. You and your chosen attorney need to have a similar method. They should have patience and a willingness to answer all of your questions.
Unresponsive lawyers will limit the communication, which can ultimately hinder your case. Pay attention to how they handle the initial interaction, as this is a sign of how things will go moving forward.
The attorney you choose must be licensed to practice law in your state. Beyond this, it’s helpful to have someone local to your specific area. They will have the most up to date information on local laws and personal injury case trends.
If your case does go to trial, your local attorney will have more familiarity with the local court system. This can allow them to navigate the process more smoothly.
What’s Their Recommended Course of Action?
While you can’t expect them to create a complete plan for representation during your initial meeting, they should have some ideas. Ask them what they think is the best course of action for your claim. If it doesn’t sound agreeable to you, you may not be on the same page as the attorney.
This could be a sign that you two aren’t a good fit. However, you may find that the attorney’s recommendation isn’t what you initially wanted, but it’s ultimately the best course of action. So don’t rule a lawyer out simply because they don’t tell you what you want to hear.
How Much Do They Charge?
In many states, personal injury lawyers charge based on a contingency fee. This means you pay nothing upfront. When your case settles, or you win at trial, your attorney will take a percentage of the amount awarded.
Confirm what this percentage is and how it’s determined. Is the fee all-inclusive, or will they charge you additional fees? When will the attorney take their percentage?
Check the rules for your state and confirm the percentage is allowed per the bar association.
Some attorneys may charge based on a flat fee or hourly rate. If this is the case, don’t automatically look for the cheapest lawyer. Instead, determine your budget and look for the best attorney within that range.
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
If you’ve recently suffered a motorcycle injury due to an accident, then you’ll want to consider making a claim. A motorcycle accident lawyer can help you understand your rights and possible recovery. This guide will help you find the best attorney for your legal needs.
Read our other law articles for more helpful information to better understand your rights in the legal system.