6 Steps in Choosing a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
You suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident. You need to file a claim. To have the best possible outcome for the process, you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side.
How do you choose the motorcycle accident attorney that offers the best advantages to you as you file your claim? Read on for more information regarding how to choose the right motorcycle accident lawyer for your specific situation.
1. Ask for recommendations
You may find that people you already know offer some of the best recommendations when it comes to motorcycle accident attorneys. If you know someone who has dealt with a motorcycle accident claim in the past, that person may have a recommendation for a motorcycle accident attorney who can help handle your claim.
Keep in mind that your results may not look identical to those of another party who suffered serious injuries in an accident, especially if your friend or family member suffered injuries in another type of accident. However, he or she can often provide you with a solid idea of whether your personality will fit well with the recommended attorney, as your friend or family member likely knows you as well as the attorney. If you’re searching for an attorney to handle your motorcycle accident case, use your network to help connect you with an attorney who can help you pursue maximum compensation for your injuries.
2. Search the web.
You can use several platforms to search for attorneys in your local area. A simple Google search can help you find experienced motorcycle accident attorneys. You may also want to turn to your local bar association for recommendations or use lawyer review sites to help you come up with a shorter list of attorneys.
3.Refine your search and narrow based on needs.
You want a motorcycle accident attorney who knows your local court system and has a strong understanding of what it will take for you to pursue and ultimately win your claim. While the majority of motorcycle accident claims do not go to court, you should still prepare to litigate your claim, including having an experienced motorcycle accident attorney on your side.
You should also narrow down your search to attorneys who specialize in motorcycle accidents. Your claim may involve unique considerations that could change the way the attorney handles pursuing compensation on your behalf.
For example, if you chose not to wear a helmet at the time of your accident, will that decision impact your right to a traumatic brain injury claim? Florida law does not mandate that you wear a helmet when riding your motorcycle if you have passed your twenty-first birthday and carry adequate insurance. However, you should still retain an attorney who can help you understand how wearing or not wearing a helmet can impact your TBI-related claim, including whether it may limit the amount of compensation you ultimately receive.
4. Check the firms reviews and testimonials.
Reviews serve as a window into an attorney’s actual capability, including what services that attorney has performed for others in the past.
Attorney reviews can prove tricky, especially reviews on Google or social media pages. In some cases, attorneys may not have the ability to take down negative reviews, including those left by disgruntled opposing parties. However, reviews can also provide you with a better idea of exactly what an attorney can accomplish and what you can expect when you retain a specific attorney or law firm.
Evaluate these types of reviews skillfully. When doing so, consider:
- What factors come up most often in the reviews? As you read through the reviews, what facets of the attorney’s work do reviewers talk about most often? Do they talk about the attorney’s tenacity? His or her commitment to listening to and helping clients? An ability to explain the law in a way that makes sense? Consider what elements you consider important when dealing with an attorney. Some people prioritize compassion: they want an attorney that will support them through the process and let them know what to expect at each stage. Others have more interest in an attorney’s commitment and determination, which can influence how much compensation clients ultimately receive for their claims. Look for an attorney whose reviewers often mention these factors.
- What do negative reviews have to say about an attorney? If you uncover negative reviews about an attorney, consider the spirit in which reviewers wrote those negative reviews. Do they clearly indicate a case of sour grapes? Do they sound inaccurate and unrealistic when compared to the information provided by other reviewers? Do you notice common themes in those negative reviews? If you start to see some common themes among people who used the attorney in the past, you might want to consider whether you can handle those elements of working with this specific attorney. If not, you should consider retaining someone else to handle your motorcycle accident claim.
- What do the attorney’s overall ratings look like? If you ignore extremely negative or clearly false reviews, does the attorney tend to have a high overall rating? Can you see the attorney’s past commitment to handling cases that came his or her way? An evaluation of those overall reviews will help you decide whether you want to work with a specific attorney.
- How does the attorney respond to negative reviews? Take a look at how the attorney responds to any negative reviews. Does the firm ignore such reviews or attempt to respond? Does the attorney include information that may help you understand the negative reviews? Sometimes, a firm’s response to a negative review can tell you more about that firm than a positive review, so make sure to review them as part of your overall evaluation.
5. Review the website.
A look at the website can give you a lot of key insights into the attorney’s skills, focus, and capability. Evaluate the website to give you a better idea of what the attorney brings to the table and whether that attorney will work with you the way you need.
Look for factors like:
Does the attorney offer a free case review or consultation?
A free consultation can give you a chance to get to know an attorney and what he or she has to offer. During that consultation, you can ask critical questions about your needs and what the attorney can offer to help meet them.
What does the attorney prioritize?
An attorney’s website can tell you a great deal about what the firm considers important. Some firms, for example, might focus heavily on offering services that will help ensure that you fully understand every aspect of your claim and your right to compensation. These firms may use words like compassionate and understanding when describing their services, and they want to show their dedication to supporting you throughout the process of filing your claim. These firms may focus on showing empathy for the suffering you face as a result of your injuries.
Other firms, on the other hand, prioritize a hard-hitting approach. They want to maximize your compensation, they will fight for you, and their website clearly shows that focus.
Most attorneys will offer both compassionate service and a dedication to working hard to help you as you file your claim. If you need to choose between the two, however, you may want to consider what you consider most important in an attorney and how those elements will affect your motorcycle accident claim.
What do the attorney’s past claim results look like?
Many attorneys will include a look at past claim results directly on their websites. When you need an experienced motorcycle accident attorney, look at the attorney’s past results with motorcycle accident claims. Remember, those results do not reflect the compensation you should actually expect in your claim, since many factors can contribute to the compensation you ultimately receive for your motorcycle accident injuries. However, an attorney’s past results may give you a better idea of how much you can expect to receive after your accident.
What reviews did the attorney choose to include on the website?
The reviews included on the website will go further toward showing exactly what the attorney prioritizes and how he or she will handle your claim.
6. Schedule a consultation TODAY!
Once you narrow down the list of attorneys you want to consider to handle your claim, schedule a consultation. You may want to schedule a consultation with more than one attorney, since talking to multiple attorneys can help you better understand what you want out of a motorcycle accident attorney.
During the consultation or case review, the attorney will take a look at your claim. The case review offers a chance for attorneys to decide whether they want to accept specific clients. For example, an attorney that specializes in handling product liability claims may not want to work with you on a motorcycle accident claim. An attorney may also not want to take your claim without feeling certain that he or she can acquire reasonable compensation on your behalf.
7 Key Questions to ask your attorney
The consultation also offers a chance for you to ask vital questions about what you can expect as you move forward with your motorcycle accident claim. You should ask several important questions to help give you a better idea of what it will look like to interact with the attorney. You do not necessarily want to choose an attorney based on personality fit alone, but you should keep in mind that you will need to work with the attorney for some time as you manage your claim. Choose wisely based on the answers to these important questions.
1. How much compensation does the attorney think you should seek for your motorcycle accident claim?
An attorney’s estimate does not necessarily guarantee the amount of compensation you will receive for your motorcycle accident claim, but an estimate can tell you a great deal about both your claim and the attorney. During your case review, the attorney will have a chance to take a look at what led to your motorcycle accident, including whether multiple factors could have contributed to the accident and your injuries. The attorney can also review the insurance policy that covers the liable party, which may limit the compensation you ultimately receive in your motorcycle accident claim.
While you want to know what the attorney thinks you may recover from your motorcycle accident claim, you do not necessarily want to choose the attorney that offers the highest estimate. Sometimes, attorneys will artificially inflate claim amounts to convince a client to go with them. If you encounter an attorney who offers a much higher number than the others you speak to, you may want to consider what makes that attorney’s numbers different. Sometimes, this evaluation may reveal that you do not want to work with that specific attorney, despite the high compensation estimate.
2. How does the attorney’s communication style feel?
When it comes to communication, you should consider two critical questions: “How does the attorney prefer to communicate?” and “How often does the attorney communicate with clients?”
How does the attorney prefer to communicate? Some people have very distinct preferences when it comes to communication, and your preferences may change based on your current situation. Some people, especially elderly people, prefer to communicate over the phone or in person. These individuals value the opportunity to sit down in person, ask questions, and receive immediate answers and may also value the personal touch that comes from direct communication.
Other clients prefer text messages for minor concerns. Millennials, in particular, have developed a distaste for phone conversations when a text will serve the same purpose.
You may also find that you prefer email communications. Patients with traumatic brain injury following a motorcycle accident, for example, may want communications in email form to make it easier to process the information shared by their attorneys. Emails also make it easy to share information from the attorney directly with a friend or loved one.
Like clients, many attorneys have distinctly different communication styles. Talk to your attorney to learn more about how he prefers to communicate, including how you can expect to receive relevant information about your claim as well as how the attorney will handle vital questions.
Make sure the attorney’s communication style matches yours. If you hate phone calls and do not want to deal with them unless absolutely necessary, you may not want to work with an attorney who prefers to communicate via phone. On the other hand, if you prefer not to have to check your email to get important information about your claim, you may prefer an attorney who communicates that way.
How often does the attorney communicate? Some people want to hear from their attorney whether something has changed in their claim or not. They want the attorney to check in regularly, even if the attorney just lets them know that nothing has changed and that they have nothing to worry about. Others, on the other hand, want their motorcycle accident attorneys to check in as often as possible. These individuals want updates even when nothing changes and want regular check-ins. These people may not want to contact the lawyer themselves if they have questions as their claim progresses, but they will ask those questions when the attorney checks in for another reason.
Talk to your attorney to learn his or her preferred communication style and how often he or she usually checks in with patients. If it does not mesh with your preferences, you may want to choose a different attorney.
3. Who will actually handle your claim?
Many lawyers splash big names and familiar faces across the front of their websites. These lawyers often include bright pictures and bright faces and want to make them as visible as possible.
Behind the scenes, however, a team of junior partners and interns may handle the vast majority of claims. Even if your case goes to court, if you have relatively minor injuries or do not have grounds for a large claim, you may end up represented by one of those junior partners rather than one of the big names on the sign at the front of the office.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that junior partners cannot provide amazing service and representation. If you choose to work with a large firm, however, you may want to carefully question who will handle your claim. You do not want the unpleasant surprise of sitting down with someone with whom you have a fast connection, only to discover weeks later that someone else, perhaps even someone you do not mesh with as well, will handle your claim.
4. What experience does your attorney have?
You checked the website for past claim results and read through reviews, but those do not necessarily tell you the full story about an attorney’s breadth of experience. Ask about the specific experience the attorney has, including experience related to motorcycle accident claims. You may want to consider whether the attorney has worked with the courts in your geographic area before, as well as what the attorney has helped past claimants recover in motorcycle accident claims.
In addition to actual courtroom experience, ask about awards, recommendations, and further professional expertise.
- Lectures and speaking engagements
- Professional certifications
- Peer reviews
- Published works
The more professional experience your attorney has, the more you can see what others think about the attorney. Do other attorneys in the local area support the attorney that you’re considering retaining? Does he or she have a strong professional background that will bring something to your claim? When evaluating attorneys, carefully consider all certifications and accreditations in addition to courtroom skills.
5. How does the attorney charge, and what can you expect your fees to look like?
Some attorneys charge on an hourly basis. They may have a set hourly rate, which you can expect to pay based on the number of hours they spend working on your claim.
For some people, especially accident victims who may have serious concerns about their finances in the aftermath of their accidents, paying for an attorney on an hourly basis may feel prohibitive. You may not have the funds on hand.
That does not mean, however, that you cannot afford a motorcycle accident attorney. In fact, for many accident victims, a motorcycle accident attorney can prove more affordable than you may have initially thought. Most motorcycle accident attorneys will accept cases on a contingent fee basis. If an attorney accepts your claim on a contingent fee basis, the attorney thinks you have a strong likelihood of winning a reasonable amount of compensation for your motorcycle accident.
If you pay on a contingent fee basis, you will pay for your legal fees based on a percentage of the settlement or award you receive, rather than paying upfront for those services.
Make sure you understand what those fees look like ahead of time. If the attorney accepts your claim on a contingent fee basis, ask what the rate will be. Make sure you also ask about whether going to court will impact the amount you will need to pay for your legal fees, since going to court often takes more time and resources than settling out of court.
6. Does the law firm have the right resources to represent you successfully?
A lot of work goes into a motorcycle accident claim. You need your attorney to accomplish critical tasks on your behalf, including investigating your claim to learn more about your accident, filling out vital paperwork, and handling communication with the insurance company as you manage your claim.
Make sure that before you choose a law firm, the firm has the right resources on hand to provide the assistance you need.
Some firms may over-commit, especially following an influx of clients. The firm may not grow fast enough to keep up with all the work coming its way.
To help determine whether the firm has the right resources on hand for your claim, ask:
- How many cases does the firm currently have?
- How many cases does each attorney work on?
- What resources does the law firm have available to commit to your claim?
Carefully consider whether an attorney has the right resources and time to devote to your motorcycle accident claim to ensure that you will receive the attention and consideration you need to succeed.
7. What was your experience with the law firm like?
Whether you go into the office for a consultation or start by consulting with your lawyer over the phone, that experience can help you better understand the services the attorney will provide if you retain his or her firm.
Consider these key questions when evaluating your experience with a motorcycle accident attorney:
- Did you get to speak with an attorney personally? During your first call to an attorney’s office, you may talk to a receptionist or an answering service. During your consultation, however, you want an attorney to speak with you directly: someone who understands motorcycle accident laws, can answer your questions about your claim and the firm, and will commit the time needed to make you feel reassured.
- Did the attorney work with you to make the meeting as convenient for you as possible? Many motorcycle accident victims cannot comfortably leave their homes to make a meeting, especially if the attorney’s office requires a lot of effort to reach. Others may call while still in the hospital. Did the attorney make it convenient for you or difficult? Due to the COVID-19 crisis, many attorneys have chosen to connect with their clients through video calls, rather than risking potential exposure. Others will come to you directly. Still, others will let you choose a meeting style that works for you, whether it’s over the phone, in person, or over the computer. Carefully consider whether the attorney puts your needs first when planning the meeting.
- How did the attorney treat you during the meeting? During the meeting itself, does the attorney take the time to carefully answer your questions and make sure you fully understand the answers? Does he or she make you feel as though he has plenty of time for you, or does he leave you feeling brushed off or rushed through the conversation? If the attorney rushes you through that initial conversation, he may do the same when you connect with him over your claim in the future. Instead, look for an attorney who will give you the time and attention you need to feel confident in your claim.
- Did the attorney make you feel confident? Most critically, you want to choose an attorney who makes you feel confident, from the initial meeting to the end of your claim. You do not want to leave your claim in the hands of an attorney who will brush you aside or make you feel as though he or she didn’t hear you. Instead, choose an attorney who presents you with a confident assessment of your claim, strong answers to any questions you have, and a definitive analysis of what the claim process will look like.
- How long did you have to wait for an appointment with the attorney? Sometimes, schedules simply do not line up. You may, for example, have to deal with a variety of appointments and therapies, and you may need time to rest after those appointments before you dive into a visit with a motorcycle accident attorney. On the other hand, if the attorney had a long wait just to fit you into his schedule, his office may already have too many commitments. You want to work with an attorney who has the time to give your claim the attention it deserves, not one who will leave you scrambling to get in touch and waiting days or weeks before answering a question.
- Does the attorney think your claim will need to go to court? Most motorcycle accident claims settle out of court. The insurance companies that cover those liable drivers want to decrease costs as much as possible, and going to court can substantially increase the company’s overall legal costs. Most attorneys also prefer to settle out of court when possible, since that frequently offers the best resolution for the victim. Taking your claim to court can also substantially extend the time it will take to get your settlement in your hands, which can represent a serious problem at a time when you may already find your funds very tight. Some attorneys, however, will push to take the claim to court. A very aggressive attorney may try to convince you that you will need to go to court to settle your claim just to improve his or her trial skills and track record. While your claim may need to go to court for unrelated reasons, you should choose an attorney who will do his or her best to help you reach a settlement agreement before trial. In addition to whether the attorney thinks your claim will need to go to trial and why, ask the attorney how many of his or her cases usually go to trial. If you notice that the attorney needs to go to court to settle a high percentage of his or her cases, you may find that the attorney lacks the negotiation skills you need to satisfactorily help you resolve your motorcycle accident claim.
Did You Suffer Serious Injuries in a Motorcycle Accident?
Serious injuries following a motorcycle accident can prove daunting enough on their own. Finding a motorcycle accident attorney that fits your needs may seem even more challenging in the immediate aftermath following your accident. As you learn what to look for in a motorcycle accident attorney, however, you will find that the process can go quite smoothly.
Did you suffer serious injuries in a motorcycle accident? Do you need legal help filing your motorcycle accident claim or understanding your rights? Contact a motorcycle accident lawyer today to learn more about your legal right to compensation following a motorcycle accident.