Interview Several Lawyers Before Hiring One
Now that you have a list of lawyers you believe meet your criteria as far as location and practice area, it’s time to choose the lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident case. The only effective way to do this is by interviewing each lawyer.
Most lawyers offer free consultations, so schedule appointments with several lawyers from your list. Prepare for the meetings by assembling documents to bring with you that will provide the lawyer with information about the accident and your injuries. Documents you might consider bringing with you include:
- Police reports of the accident
- Photographs of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries
- Medical reports you might have that explain your injuries
- Records showing your regular wages and time lost from work due to the accident
Ask the Right Questions
The interview’s purpose is to learn as much about the lawyer as possible –don’t be timid with asking questions. Some important questions to ask at the beginning of the interview include the following:
- How long has the attorney been practicing law?
- What percentage of the practice is devoted to motorcycle law?
- Will the attorney you are interviewing be the one handling the case?
- How many motorcycle accident cases similar to yours has the attorney previously handled?
- What percentage of the motorcycle accident cases handled by the attorney result in a settlement?
It should be noted that the vast majority of motorcycle accident cases end in a settlement. Still, one factor contributing to a settlement that is favorable to the accident victim is the reputation of the lawyer as a trial attorney. An attorney who settles all of the motorcycle cases that come into the office could be an excellent attorney, but it could also mean the law firm favors quick settlements over taking a case to trial when necessary to maximize the amount recovered by the client.
A motorcycle accident lawyer should have experience conducting trials on behalf of accident victims. Building a reputation as a lawyer capable of achieving a successful outcome at a trial affects the willingness of claims adjusters to settle cases. Claims adjusters who know a lawyer does not have a great deal of recent trial experience might be tempted to make low settlement offers believing the attorney will not push the case to a trial.
Inquire About Fees During the Interview
The reality is that practicing law is a profession, but it is also a business. It is essential to discuss what the motorcycle accident lawyer will charge as a fee and other expenses you could be responsible for paying.
Most motorcycle accident claims are handled on a contingency fee basis meaning the attorney gets paid when and if your claims end with a settlement or verdict after trial in your favor. Ask for a copy of the attorney’s written contingency fee agreement.
Contingency fee agreements in California must be in writing and contain the terms of the fee arrangement between the attorney and the client, including the percentage charged as a fee and what responsibility the client will have for costs and expenses. Costs and expenses could include expert witness fees, court costs, and other litigation expenses advanced by your attorney. If you win your case, the costs would be deducted from the settlement or verdict, but if you lose, you could be responsible for repaying the attorney out of your pocket.
The percentage charged as a fee and responsibility for costs and expenses are negotiable between you and the attorney. The interview is an excellent time to ask the lawyer about the office’s usual practices regarding contingency fees and discuss how they would apply to your case in the event you agree to retain the firm.
Read Also: What To Know About Motorcycle Accidents
Gauge Your Comfort Levels with the Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
One of the essential elements of the relationship between a client and an attorney is communication. If your interview with the attorney was constantly interrupted by telephone calls or staff coming in to ask questions about other cases, this could be a sign that the attorney is too busy to take on your case. You want an attorney whose full attention is on you and the questions or concerns you have about your motorcycle accident claim. An attorney who shows a willingness to listen to you and makes you feel comfortable asking questions during the interview is probably the person best suited to represent you. Once you complete your interviews and have gathered the information needed to make an informed decision, it is time to choose a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Your family’s financial well-being is at stake when you are injured and unable to work. An attorney whose primary practice area is motorcycle law makes it possible for you to focus on recovering from your injuries while your attorney takes on the insurance company and the negligent party to get you the compensation you deserve. Make an informed decision on a motorcycle accident lawyer by conducting the proper research and contacting a lawyer today!