8 Tips for Hiring a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in California
Motorcycle accident deaths have decreased by almost 10% from 2018 to 2019. While this is promising for the safety of motorcycle riders, it doesn’t eliminate the danger associated with these two-wheeled vehicles. Despite what many people claim, not all motorcycle accidents are the rider’s fault. Keep these tips in mind when considering a motorcycle accident attorney in California to represent you in your claim for damages.
1. Practice Area
There are jack-of-all-trade lawyers, and then there are lawyers who specialize in a small group of specific types of cases. For example, within the personal injury area of law, some lawyers focus their practice on motorcycle accidents. These lawyers understand that motorcycles present unique risks and the laws that govern safe operations.
Lawyers representing motorcycle accident clients approach the case with the rider in mind. They look for common damages and injuries that occur in these types of accidents. They understand that these injuries and damages can hinder your ability to work, limiting future earning potential.
2. Performance Record
A lawyer or law firm should never promise or guarantee the outcome of your case. However, you can ask an attorney about their experience and track record. Drill down into their record by asking how many cases they have had with facts that are similar to yours.
Ask about the outcomes of the cases that are similar to yours. This will give you a better idea of the lawyer’s experience and performance. While past results don’t guarantee future ones, it’s better to hire a lawyer that is successful more often than not.
Reputable lawyers will give you a realistic view of your case and the potential recovery amount.
3. Communication Method and Style
You will need to have open and effective communication with your attorney so that they can effectively represent you. Motorcycle accident lawyers must understand every detail of the accident and your injuries to argue on your behalf. Schedule free consultations with a few potential lawyers so that you can speak with them in person.
You should feel confident and comfortable with them. It should be easy to communicate with them and feel natural.
In addition, consider the lawyer’s preferred communication style. For example, if the lawyer prefers to communicate through email or text and you prefer in person or over the phone, then you may find communication between you and the lawyer frustrating.
California motorcycle accident lawyers with a strong professional reputation can effectively advocate on your behalf. Lawyers with a reputation for unethical or questionable behavior can jeopardize your case.
Research potential lawyers by looking them up on the California Bar website. Enter the lawyer’s name in the search function and view their professional track record. You can see if a lawyer has a history of disciplinary actions.
California accident attorneys typically charge their clients on a contingency fee basis. This means you don’t need to make any payment upfront. Instead, your lawyer will take their legal fees from the amount awarded in your case.
Do not base your choice of representation solely on the fee charged. The amount the lawyer charges is not directly related to the quality of representation or guarantee of the outcome. Aim to hire the best quality lawyer that you can afford.
If a lawyer charges on a contingency fee basis, clarify what is and is not included. Sometimes fees, such as court costs, are not included, and you will have to pay for them separately. In addition, the amount you owe can drastically change with the method and timing of the lawyer’s contingency fee calculation.
6. Client Satisfaction
While it’s helpful to ask for personal recommendations or read online reviews, receive these with a critical eye. People are much more likely to leave a review when they are unhappy versus happy.
Finally, clients tend to leave lawyers negative reviews when their case doesn’t resolve in the way they want. This may not reflect the lawyer’s skill, knowledge, or representation ability.
7. Network of Resources
Due to the severity of motorcycle accident-related medical injuries, your attorney needs to have a strong network of experts. These people can recreate the accident, and provide medical testimony, and motorcycle mechanical insight.
These experts strengthen your case and validate your damages claim. Should your claim go to trial, these experts can testify as witnesses on your behalf.
Additionally, a firm with strong financial backing is better able to pursue cases long-term. A strategy of insurance companies is to draw out the case, pressuring the plaintiff to settle for lower than they deserve. Law firms with more resources are better able to represent you over the entire length of the lawsuit.
8. Negotiation Ability
Not all claims go straight to trial. In reality, the vast majority of claims get settled with the insurance company. Going to trial is an expensive and lengthy process. So, it’s typically in everyone’s best interest to settle.
The insurance company has a team of lawyers that negotiate settlement claims daily. Hiring a lawyer with insurance company negotiation experience helps to level the playing field. This helps you secure a settlement that covers your injuries and damages without having to go to trial.
Going to Trial
Ask a lawyer if they are willing to go to trial. Some firms specialize in settlements, leaving you to find another firm should settlement negotiations fail and your claim goes to trial.
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Attorney in California
If you ride a motorcycle and recently suffered injuries and/or property damage in an accident, then speaking with a motorcycle accident attorney in California can give you valuable guidance. A lawyer can evaluate your potential for a claim and provide guidance on the next steps.
Schedule your free consultation today with one of our skilled motorcycle attorneys to discuss the circumstances of your accident.