According to the most recent data from the Insurance Information Institute (III), around 83,000 motorcycle injuries occur every year. If you’ve been hurt in a motorcycle accident, then it’s important to secure strong legal counsel.
The next steps you take can determine the outcome of your claim. You want to make sure you’re receiving the maximum compensation that you deserve, and a lawyer can fight for those rights.
To achieve the most favorable outcome, it’s smart to do your due diligence. If possible, find a lawyer you can trust before an accident occurs. That way, if you ever find yourself in that difficult situation, you’ll know exactly who to call.
Today, we’re sharing nine important questions to ask as you interview motorcycle accident attorneys to find the best fit.
1. Do You Offer a Free Consultation?
As you take the first steps toward hiring a lawyer, check to see if the firm in question will offer a free case evaluation or consultation.
If the answer is no, then consider continuing your search elsewhere. While charging a consultation fee doesn’t necessarily mean that a law firm is irrefutable, you should know what you’re getting into before you begin sharing details about your motorcycle accident.
During this consultation, you can answer pertinent questions about your case and discuss a high-level overview of the events that occurred. It can be reassuring to know that you aren’t being billed for this time, which may encourage you to share more.
Note that most personal injury attorneys earn their income primarily from positive case outcomes. As such, most teams will not charge for an initial consultation.
At Sweet Law, we provide this service 100% free of charge. Our consultations are also confidential and do not come with an obligation to use our services. During this initial call or meeting, we will review the details of your case and recommend the best course of action.
2. What Percent of Your Practice Is Devoted to Personal Injury?
When hiring an attorney, it’s important to choose a legal team that specializes in exactly the types of services you need. For instance, you wouldn’t visit an elder law attorney if you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident.
At the same time, you also wouldn’t visit a firm that focuses on real estate law, bankruptcy law, or family law. Instead, you need a lawyer who devotes a majority of their time to personal injury cases just like yours.
It isn’t enough to claim that their firm handles a few personal injury cases each year. Find a lawyer who specializes in personal injury law and is well-versed in all of its legal aspects.
These experts will understand all of the nuances associated with your case, from the paperwork you need to complete to the statute of limitations you need to meet. If you’re unsure where their specializations lie, ask them to explain their experience.
3. Have You Handled Cases Similar to Mine?
The lawyer you call might have years of experience in personal injury law but has only worked on a handful of motorcycle accident cases. That’s why it’s important to follow up on the second question with this one.
Ask about the firm’s success rate when it comes to handling these specific types of accidents. Has anyone experienced a crash that resulted in injuries or property damage like yours? If so, what was the outcome of that case?
At Sweet Law, we’re proud of our 99% success rate!
This can give you a clearer picture of the lawyer’s competencies and experience. Keep in mind that each person’s experience is unique, but use this feedback to gauge how your case might go. While the lawyer might not be able to disclose certain details of the cases due to confidentiality issues, they can provide data around settlements and verdicts.
At Sweet Law, we’re proud of our 99% success rate!
4. How Long Do You Think My Case Will Take?
When you’re in the throes of recovering from a motorcycle wreck, it’s natural to want the legal process to go as fast as possible. That’s why it’s a good idea to understand how long your case will feasibly take before you choose a lawyer to represent you.
In an initial consultation, your lawyer might not be able to answer this question with total certainty. This is because there may be undisclosed details about your case that could affect its speed of progression. Still, your consulting attorney should be able to give you a rough estimate on the timeline you can expect and explain how they’ll help you stick to that schedule.
Be wary of any lawyer that claims there’s no way to know how long your case could take. If they have the requisite experience and background, they should be able to at least give you an accurate approximation.
5. What Is Your Fee Structure?
It can be uncomfortable to talk about money with anyone, especially with a lawyer. However, this is one of the most important topics to discuss at your consultation.
Most personal injury lawyers work on what’s called a contingency fee basis. This means they only get paid if you receive a favorable settlement or jury verdict.
When this happens, they’ll retain a portion of your earnings in exchange for their services. In the meantime, they’ll be responsible for covering all up-front and out-of-pocket costs that relate to your case. Most plaintiffs prefer this fee structure because it provides a solid amount of risk protection.
If your lawyer cannot win your case, you can rest assured that you won’t have to pay them for the work they’ve completed. Even if your lawyer follows this structure, we still suggest asking about any extra fees so you aren’t surprised down the road.
6. How Often Do Your Motorcycle Accident Cases Go to Trial?
A majority of the time, personal injury cases, including motorcycle accidents, are settled outside of court. This is because the risks ad costs associated with holding a trial can be enormous.
Ask any prospective lawyer to share the percentage of their motorcycle accident cases that they’ve taken to trial. If they have experience in this sector, they’ll know the steps to take to successfully prepare your case if you can’t achieve a suitable settlement. This includes:
- Gathering evidence
- Collecting statements
- Proving liability
- Contacting expert witnesses
While you can represent yourself in court, it’s best to hire a lawyer to fight the case on your behalf. Otherwise, you could miss an important deadline or document, or say the wrong thing. They’ll be familiar with how the court structure works and can help you navigate toward a favorable outcome.
7. Who Will Be Handling My Case?
Don’t assume that the person you email or speak to on the phone is the person who will be handling your case. Ask for the name of the individual(s) who will be working with you, and request their credentials.
Some firms will rely on the names on their signage to bring clients into the building. Then, they’ll allow paralegals or legal assistants to handle a majority of the cases, pushing them for a quick (and usually low) settlement. From the very beginning, you should know your point of contact and how to access them.
8. Do You Belong to Any Legal Organizations?
A reputable lawyer will be certified by your State Bar. While this is a critical certification, don’t stop there. Also, ask if they belong to any national associations that focus on personal injury law.
This can demonstrate their commitment to the industry, as well as their reputation within it. It also symbolizes their commitment to professional growth. These organizations provide opportunities for continued education, networking, and training.
9. Do You Have the Bandwidth to Take My Case?
You can speak to the best legal team in your city, but they’re not the right fit if they can’t take on your case. They might simply be stretched too thin, especially if their team is small.
You should be a top priority for any attorney you choose, and you should never feel as though you have to compete for their attention. They should make every effort to be available when you call or email and should respond as soon as possible if they are unavailable when you reach out.
Ask about their availability and timeline during that initial call. Your case deserves undivided focus and attention, and shouldn’t be just another number to them. Take note of how you feel during the conversation, and resist choosing a lawyer who makes you feel rushed or insignificant.
Were You Injured in a Motorcycle Accident?
If you or someone you know has been injured in a motorcycle accident, then rest and recovery should be top of mind. When you have the right personal injury attorney on your side, you can focus more intently on the healing process.
While these are eight of the most important questions to ask a prospective lawyer, the list isn’t comprehensive. Think about the issues and inquiries that are most important to you, and write them down to ask during your meeting.
Our team at Sweet Law is well-versed in every aspect of motorcycle accident law. When you’re ready to discuss your case, contact us for a free consultation!