If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident involving another vehicle, hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer is a smart decision. If you plan to seek assistance negotiating a settlement, it’s important to make that hire as soon as you’re able after your accident. The statute of limitations for motorcycle accident claims varies by state, but is typically between two and three years following the date of the accident. An attorney can review your settlement offer, advise you on your rights, and protect you if an insurance company is using strong-arm tactics to push you into accepting a low-value settlement. These steps will guide you to an attorney who can handle insurance agencies, negotiate a settlement, represent you at trial if needed, and help get you compensation for your injuries and damages.
[resource-expertip content="Avoid engaging with ambulance chasers, or lawyers who reach out directly to you following your motorcycle accident. Attorneys sometimes use unscrupulous means to get motorcycle accident victims' contact information from hospitals or police, and pursue accident victims to push their legal services. This practice is not just a violation of the American Bar Association's rules of professional conduct, it is also illegal in most states."]
Lawyers who handle motorcycle accident cases typically work on contingency, which means that they’re entitled to 30% to 40% of any recovery. The main advantage for clients is that there’s usually no out-of-pocket cost since the attorney typically covers any legal expenses up front, and only gets paid if the claim is successful. Hourly rates and flat-rate fees are uncommon for motorcycle accident attorneys, but contingency structures can vary. No matter what, make sure you understand how much you will be required to pay out of any settlement amount.
[resource-expertip content="Know how to calculate a contingency. As an example, consider an attorney who charges a 40% contingency fee, and agrees to pay expenses up front. If the plaintiff's case settles for $100,000 and the lawyer paid $10,000 in up-front expenses, the lawyer would be reimbursed for those expenses first, then take their 40% contingency (payment for services) of $36,000 out of the remaining $90,000, leaving the plaintiff with $54,000."]
What a motorcycle accident attorney can’t do is change the factors that existed prior to your accident, and these factors can affect the value of your claim. For example, if you were extremely active prior to your accident, and your physical activity has been halted or significantly curtailed as a result of your accident, your settlement will be worth more than if you were a couch potato before your crash.
It’s also important to recognize that, if your case goes to trial, you may be subject to bias. Evidence has shown that juries tend to be unfavorable to motorcyclists. And while this may seem unfair, it nevertheless remains true. This is one of the reasons why a pre-trial settlement is always preferable in a motorcycle accident case. And why having a qualified attorney help you negotiate that settlement is crucial.
Ready to speak to a lawyer? Here is our list of the best motorcycle accident lawyers near you.