After being involved in a motorcycle accident, particularly one that leads to substantial damage, it is important to understand all of the rights and potential liabilities at stake. Not all motorcycle accidents require legal representation. If you have been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and are thinking about suing for damages, however — or if you yourself have already been sued — it is generally a good idea to select and retain a motorcycle accident lawyer. Choosing the best motorcycle accident law firm depends on a couple of different factors, including your role in the accident, the law firm’s history and experience, and your location. Knowing what to look for and what to ask can make the process of finding the right motorcycle accident law firm relatively simple.
Motorcycle law is itself a rather nuanced legal specialty, but even within that specialty, lawyers have different focuses. Most motorcycle accident lawyers represent motorcycle riders who have been involved in accidents, but some represent other drivers or even pedestrians who have been injured by errant motorcyclists. Even within driver representation, there are some differences. There are lawyers who handle predominantly accidents where the motorcycle rider was not at fault, and others whose practice centers on defending riders who may have been at least moderately negligent.
Most large law firms have at least one personal injury attorney who is capable of competently handling motorcycle or other traffic-related injury cases. Big firm lawyers often cost more than their smaller-firm counterparts, however, and a general personal injury lawyer may not have the knowledge of motorcycle law needed to get the best result in your particular case. Selecting a motorcycle lawyer or motorcycle attorney specifically can give peace of mind, and may also save a bit of money, too.
Identifying a motorcycle accident law firm is usually not difficult. Basic Internet or phone book searches typically yield numerous results. The harder part is choosing the one that will be best for you. Find out all the information you can on the firm, its lawyers, and the kinds of cases the firm handles, and then prepare a list of questions.
Usually, a motorcycle accident law firm is small, often employing no more than two or three attorneys. The small size keeps the cost down, and allows the lawyers to focus exclusively on certain kinds of cases. Lawyers in these kinds of firms usually share a honed specialty, which makes it very important that the firm you ultimately select has experience dealing with the kind of case you have been involved in.
If possible, the best thing to do is to meet with the members of a law firm personally. You will get a feel for the lawyers and the firm in a personal meeting, and will be able to more easily ascertain whether the firm is one you feel comfortable working with. A face-to-face meeting also enables you to not only ask questions, but also seek clarification on answers.
Important questions to ask include what the lawyer’s general case philosophy is, how much time he or she things the case will take to resolve, and how the lawyer plans to proceed. Lawyers should be able to provide detailed records of their recent cases, including what results transpired. Questions on billing and fees should also be asked upfront. Some law firms charge an hourly rate no matter the outcome, while others change clients only if a case is won.
If you have the time, meet with a couple of different law firms in your area, and ask the same questions. When you feel like you have found a fit, both in terms of the lawyer’s experience and the terms and conditions of representation, retain the motorcycle accident law firm. Then proceed on to the settlement negotiations and trial with confidence.