You’re cruising along, enjoying the sunshine and the rumble of your bike underneath you. It’s a beautiful day for a ride, and you’re reveling in it. Then, out of nowhere, a car hits you.
Despite the fact that motorcycles only make up 3% of registered vehicles in the U.S., and the fact that they’re less crashworthy than cars, motorcycle riders make up 14% of road-related deaths, and motorcycle riders are 27 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a crash per miles traveled.
Of course, none of that matters to you right now. What matters is that motorcycle accidents are traumatic, and you’ve got your work cut out for you trying to recover. Especially because juries are predisposed to view motorcycle at-fault accidents with bias against motorcycle riders.
You need a great motorcycle accident attorney. Here’s how to find one.
Look for a Motorcycle Accident Attorney Who Specializes in Motorcycles
First and foremost, look for a motorcycle accident lawyer who specializes in personal injury and wrongful death–with a high volume of cases focused on motorcycle claims.
Think of it this way: when you need dental work, you don’t go to a carpenter. You go to a dentist. A car accident is a different animal from a motorcycle accident and requires a different skill set.
And to repeat an old adage (jack of all trades is master of none) you need an attorney with specialized skills. A personal injury generalist might know the basics of personal injury claims, but a skilled motorcycle accident attorney knows how to go deeper.
Look for Experience
Once you’ve found a specialist, you can winnow your options further by looking at their experience and reputation.
While a brand-new attorney might have the basic knowledge to get the job done–and might even be a great attorney–the truth is that when it’s your future in question, you want a lawyer who knows their stuff. Look for two things:
- Someone with a long history of practicing law
- Someone with a long history of specialization in motorcycle accidents
You should also look into whether your attorney has trial experience. Most civil cases are resolved before they go to trial, but there’s still a marked difference between a trial attorney and an attorney who prefers to settle out of court. If you find an attorney who is apprehensive about going to trial, keep looking–if your case does end up in court, you need a lawyer who can represent you eloquently and confidently.
A good place to start is by looking at the firm’s results page. This will give you an overview of some major case results and the outcomes.
Look at Their Outcomes
On a related note, look critically at the attorney’s client outcomes. In other words, don’t get swept up by the number–look critically at what the numbers actually mean.
Look for someone who goes beyond paying your medical bills. Almost any attorney can manage that. You want an attorney that won’t just accept the first offer that comes your way–insurance companies are sharks, and they always lowball their initial offers believing that they can bully a desperate client who doesn’t know any better.
Ask About Your Most Likely Outcome
Once you see results and experience you like, your first conversation with a motorcycle accident attorney should include a discussion of your case and your best possible outcome.
In personal injury, the value of your case is based on damages, either economic or non-economic damages. Economic damages are quantifiable financial losses attributable to your accident, like medical bills. Non-economic damages are harder to quantify but can be just as valuable, like the emotional or psychological damage an accident had on your life.
When attorneys look at motorcycle accidents and talk you through your most likely and best possible outcome, they’re examining the details of your case and how those weigh on the damages you can realistically recover. Look for an attorney that takes the time to explain their logic in detail (with a legalese translation) and doesn’t settle for the shortest route to concluding a case if they know they can give you a better outcome. Have them explain how they will reach the best possible outcome.
Questions to Ask a Motorcycle Lawyer
When you come to this initial consultation, bring a list of questions. It’s not rude–you and your would-be attorney are interviewing each other to see if you’re the right fit.
For example, ask your attorney things like:
- What is your track record with motorcycle accident cases?
- Do you have trial experience? Tell me more about that.
- Do you belong to any legal associations related to motorcycle accident law?
- Can I speak with previous clients?
- What is your current caseload?
- What is expected of me during this process?
- What is your fee structure?
- Who will manage my case?
The last two questions are especially important. Common types of fee arrangements include contingency fees (i.e. “We don’t take a fee unless you win”) and hourly fees (i.e. a flat rate billed per hour, often with different fees for different types of legal work). Fees are also related to the question of who manages your case–senior, more experienced attorneys cost more, but they may offset this cost by bringing in paralegals and junior partners so you can get a lower rate until you need the senior attorney.
The last question, who manages your case, depends on what you’re comfortable with. It’s not at all uncommon for paralegals or junior associates to manage the initial paperwork for your case, which is fine as long as the attorney you thought would handle your case retains ultimate responsibility for it. It’s also a question of who you speak with when you have questions–if you’re only going to talk to the attorney at the initial consultation, it doesn’t do much good.
Above all, choose someone you’re comfortable with. A motorcycle accident attorney will spend a lot of time going through your business while you’re going through a difficult period in your life. If you’re not comfortable with them, you won’t be able to talk to them, and they’ll have a hard time representing you well.
Do You Need a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer?
We know that motorcycle accidents are incredibly traumatic. For us, your case is about more than just a claim. It’s about helping you take charge of your life.
So if you need an experienced, highly qualified motorcycle accident attorney who goes the extra mile for your best possible outcome, you’ve come to the right place.
If you need to speak with our team about your options, click here to schedule your free consultation.