7 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Motorcycles account for 3% of all vehicles on American roads but 14% of the traffic deaths.
When you get on a motorcycle, you know there's danger involved. That said, if you've been injured in a motorcycle accident that wasn't your fault, you need to seek compensation.
Not all accident attorneys are equipped to handle a high-pressure motorcycle accident case. You need to be sure that they've got the experience, expertise, and reputation to take on the insurance company and the other party's legal team.
In this post, we're going to tell you 7 crucial questions to ask before hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer. It's important to find out everything you can before you hire a lawyer if you're to maximize your settlement. Keep reading, and we'll ensure you've got the right person fighting for you.
1. Does Your Firm Specialize in Motorcycle Accidents?
There are nearly 200,000 active lawyers in California, but not all of them are equipped to handle personal injury cases. Even fewer have in-depth knowledge of and in-depth experience with motorcycle accident cases like yours.
When your settlement is on the line, you want to make sure you've got a lawyer that specializes in car accident cases and has specific experience with motorcycle accidents. With this specialized experience, they'll know which procedures and laws to reference, as well as any previous cases that might bolster yours.
2. How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Settled?
Ask every lawyer you sit down with how many cases like yours they've actually settled. This should give you a pretty good idea of how equipped a lawyer is at handling motorcycle-related accident cases.
Almost all personal injury cases are settled before they go to trial, and motorcycle accidents are no different. It's better to settle out of court because it expedites the process and keeps legal fees down.
That being said, you want your lawyer to be ready to take your motorcycle accident case to court when a settlement isn't reached. Your best interest should always be in mind, so they shouldn't settle just because it's easier to do so.
3. Do You Have Courtroom Experience?
Finding a lawyer that has vast courtroom experience is absolutely crucial. If the insurance company knows that a lawyer is willing and capable of taking a motorcycle injury case to court for a better settlement, they're deterred from sending out a lowball settlement offer.
Get an idea of how often a lawyer will bring a case to trial, as well as the verdicts and settlements from those cases. Going to trial doesn't guarantee success, but it does tell you that they aren't going to back down every time a settlement offer comes.
If you can, get dates for the verdicts and settlements. This will indicate how active the lawyer currently is in the courtroom.
4. What Is Your Current Caseload?
When you hire an attorney, you may end up dealing with them on a daily basis, but you could also end up dealing with legal assistants and paralegals instead. This is largely dependent upon the lawyer's current caseload.
It's important to have a lawyer that keeps you involved throughout the process. If they're busy overseeing numerous cases at once, they should have a qualified legal team giving you the day-to-day information that you need.
You don't want your case to be a low priority. Even the best lawyer will fail to get you the right settlement if they can't give your case the attention it deserves.
5. How Much Are Your Legal Fees?
When it comes to personal injury lawyers, you're almost always going to be charged on a contingency basis. This means that you don't have to pay them unless they secure you a settlement.
You'll negotiate the fee itself with the lawyer, but it's going to be a certain percentage of your settlement amount. Contingency fees for personal injury cases in the US range from 33-40% on average.
How much you end up paying your lawyer will depend on how much they help you settle for. More experienced and successful lawyers may charge a higher contingency rate, but they'll also give you a better chance of getting a great settlement.
6. How Much Is My Case Worth?
No motorcycle accident lawyer should ever guarantee a specific outcome for your case, no matter how experienced they are or how clear-cut your case may be. If they make any promises, find a different lawyer.
That said, they can take the information they have about your case - property damage, medical bills, lost wages - and their past experiences to give you a rough estimate. Don't necessarily use this figure in the decision-making process. You can use it in conjunction with some of the other answers they give you, as it can be a valuable insight into a lawyer's thinking.
7. What Do You Need From Me?
Finally, ask your lawyer what they need from you. Most attorneys won't require anything from you other than your medical bills and any information you can give them about the accident. This might include contact information, photos, any receipts and bills related to the accident, and pay stubs.
If you want to be kept in the loop about your case, your lawyer may refer you to an assistant or paralegal. You can provide these people with the above information and anything else that your lawyer could use to boost your settlement, such as proof of distracted or dangerous driving by the other party.
Get a Good Lawyer and Put Your Motorcycle Accident Behind You
Ask these 7 questions when you hire a motorcycle accident attorney, and you'll end up with the best possible legal counsel.
The aftermath of a motorcycle accident can be highly overwhelming and emotionally exhausting, but with a good lawyer, there's always hope of a life-changing settlement. Once you've secured that, you can put the accident behind you and move on with your life.
To get the best motorcycle accident lawyers in Fullerton, contact us at Commonwealth Accident Attorneys.