Nothing is better than the open road on the back of a motorcycle, but with incredible freedom come significant risks. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, an estimated 82,528 motorcyclists were injured in 2020, which has only increased. If you or someone you care for are motorcycle accident victims, you may wonder if it’s time to hire a motorcycle accident attorney. From their expert knowledge of judicial proceedings to the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone is there to ensure you are protected, an attorney is a crucial part of pursuing compensation.
Do I Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
The last thing you need when you are focusing on post-accident recovery is the stress of the legal process. Seeking a motorcycle accident attorney can be an advantageous move to help ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. In this section, we will discuss how a motorcycle accident attorney can help to provide support and legal counsel, calculate fair monetary compensation for damages, and prove liability so you can focus on your recovery.
Provide Support and Legal Counsel
There are a lot of intricacies when navigating the legal process. Experienced attorneys can provide you with the resources needed to confidently complete and file all paperwork in accordance with court proceedings. Attorneys are accustomed to requesting police and traffic records, negotiating medical bills, and ensuring every box is checked to avoid legal pitfalls.
Calculate Monetary Compensation for Damages
An attorney can assess and estimate the full extent of damages by looking at every possible area of loss. The two main types of compensation a lawyer can help determine are economic and non-economic. Economic loss includes medical bills, repair costs, and lost wages. Non-economic loss includes emotional trauma, physical pain, or permanent disfigurement. Further, they have the expertise to articulate these damages with evidence to justify compensation. An attorney will ensure no stone goes unturned during the calculation process.
Liability is the ability to provide evidence that the at-fault party is legally responsible for the harm caused to you. An experienced attorney will know what to collect to prove liability and when it’s time to call in an expert witness to recreate the accident or provide insight to prove negligence. They are ready to move forward legally if the at-fault insurance company disputes the liability claim.
Qualities of a Good Motorcycle Accident Attorney
It is established that an attorney can significantly increase your chances of fair treatment and compensation. However, finding the professional who is the right fit for you is crucial. According to the American Bar Association, there are currently 1.3 million lawyers in the United States alone. In the section below, we will discuss some specific qualities to look for when searching for a Motorcycle Accident Attorney to find one that best suits you.
Expertise.com Tip: Don’t be afraid to inquire about an attorney’s current caseload. This can ensure that they have the availability to take on your case and provide swift results.
There is no substitute for experience. Attorneys are trained to look at all the details and translate complicated legal jargon. They are used to the courtroom’s protocol, deadlines, and expectations. One late or incorrect filing could potentially delay or dismiss your entire case. Avoid legal headaches by entrusting someone who knows how to read the fine print.
Experienced attorneys have built a network of professionals in every industry to provide counsel and expertise. Move forward confidently, knowing that your attorney will take charge and use every resource they have amassed to bring you the best possible outcome.
Good Reputation and Case Success
Law encompasses many different kinds of practice, so it is important to be sure that your attorney specializes in law associated with motorcycle accidents. Ask for a case history or percentage of cases they’ve handled successfully with motorcycle accident victims. Look for the cases that have the most similarities to your own to get an idea of your potential outcome and how that attorney has successfully negotiated the outcome you are looking for.
Courtroom and Trial Skills
This may surprise you, but a significant number of attorneys do not have trial or courtroom experience. If your claim cannot be settled with the at-fault party or insurance company, be sure that your attorney is determined and able to see your case through to trial.
A good attorney can communicate effectively in the courtroom and with their client. Are there any recent reviews and feedback from clients? Be sure to determine your preferred method of communication and that it aligns with your attorney. Find out if you are able to communicate directly with them and what types of communication will cost you. It is a good idea to ask for an estimated response time and regular updates, which any good attorney should be able to provide.
How To Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
We have discussed the good qualities and importance of a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer, and now it is time to hire one. In the section below, you will gain a more informed idea of the hiring process, such as important questions, information, and advice to ensure you find the attorney that best fits you.
Where To Look
A great place to start looking for your attorney is trusted friends and family. Ask about their experience and whether or not they would recommend their attorney. If you already have an attorney, they may be able to provide you with a recommendation from their network of contacts. Additionally, most local Bar Associations offer lawyer referral services to connect you with attorneys in your area specific to your needs.
After you have gathered a few recommendations, it is time to set up interviews. If you are setting up an interview based on a personal recommendation, including that information in your introduction may be helpful. Depending on your income and other circumstances, you may also be eligible to get free or low-cost legal help.
The lawyer you select should be someone you feel comfortable with and trust. Take the time to meet and interview a few different attorneys to get an idea of their personality, experience, and communication style to ensure you feel comfortable working with them. Keep asking questions until you are sure that you have a thorough understanding of the lawyer’s practice and fee structure.
Most law offices offer free consultations to allow potential clients to interview attorneys and get a feel for their personalities and working style. When setting up this initial contact, be sure to inquire whether the consultation is free or if you will have to pay the attorney for their time.
Some questions you might ask a potential attorney during a consultation are as follows:
What is their experience with motorcycle accident cases?
What is the attorney's win percentage?
How long have they sustained that record?
Provide a clear idea of your desired outcome and inquire about the chances of obtaining the desired outcome.
Who will be handling the majority of the casework? Paralegals, other lawyers, or the attorney themselves?
Ask for an estimated fee structure with a comprehensive list of possible additions based on the information you provided.
How long do they anticipate it will take before a resolution is reached?
What is the average amount of time it took to secure damages in similar cases?
What To bring?
The following is a list of items you should bring to your consultation. Make copies of all documents you plan to share with your lawyer and request to be copied on future documents that may arise from your case.
A timeline of events relevant to your case.
Any documents that are relevant to your case.
Anything you’ve received from the Court or opposing counsel.
The list of questions for your potential attorney.
Most often, for personal injury cases, lawyers are paid a contingency fee meaning you will pay the lawyer an agreed-upon percentage of the money you receive from a settlement or winning court case. If you lose, the lawyer does not receive a fee. It is important to remember that there will be other fees and that all costs need to be reflected in the written contract. Here is a list of some of the costs that will need to be considered:
What services are provided?
What costs will be out-of-pocket?
Will the medical bill be taken from the settlement before the client’s payout?
What percentage of the settlement goes towards lawyer fees?
What percentage of the settlement do you stand to recover?
Specify how medical bills, repair costs, and other damages will be paid.
Will the attorney's percentage be deducted before or after the other fees have been deducted?
What To Expect
There are three general outcomes that you can expect from this process. For the first, a settlement is reached between the two parties outside of court. This means that before the court process can occur, a meeting or communication between the two parties has led them to an agreement “settling” the case. This can be beneficial as it helps to avoid a lengthy court process to find a resolution. If a settlement is not reached, the next step would be the trial process. Here the judge will hear both sides and all evidence provided by your attorney to reach a verdict. The unlikely third outcome would be the dismissal of the case. Though with an attorney present to ensure all information and materials coincide with court proceedings, chances of dismissal are significantly reduced.
The actual monetary recovery amount can vary widely based on a few factors, including your insurance policy, proven liability, the severity of property damage, and how much medical bills have or will cost. Many websites that boast “calculators” for finding an estimated recovery amount but for the most accurate information talk with your attorney and ask for settlements of cases similar to your own.
Legal Resources for Motorcycle Accident Victims
For further assistance, we have linked a few resources below that will aid you in making informed decisions to achieve the best possible outcome following your accident. These resources will help you to answer your legal and insurance-related questions.
The American Bar Association (ABA)
The American Bar Association is a one-stop shop for better understanding your rights and accessing resources in all subtopics of the law. For Motorcycle Accident Victims, there is a multitude of resources regarding Personal Injury claims and cases. Further, they have created a legal advice site where you can ask questions free of charge to lawyers in your state.
Website: American Bar Association or Free Legal Answers
<h3>[Insurance Information Institute]</h3>
For all your questions regarding insurance, the “Triple I” or Insurance Information Institute can help provide more clarity. They aim to provide fact-based information to help empower consumers. Their website has many blogs, videos, and other resources to help make informed decisions.
Website: Insurance Information Institute
Biker Down is a non-profit organization that aims to help assist Motorcycle Accident Victims. Through the Help tab on their website, victims can seek emotional assistance, medical equipment, and financial advice. Biker Down is there to help navigate changes post-accident.
Website: BikerDown Organization
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