By: KGD Law
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What to Expect from Your First Visit with a Motorcycle Accident Attorney
If you are a biker, you understand that motorcycle riding is more than just a means of transport. For many, it is a whole lifestyle. The immense benefits of efficiency, freedom, and economy do not come without risk, however. Many motorcyclists can’t imagine themselves ever winding up in an attorney’s office, but motorcycles are the most likely vehicles on the road to end up with damage or personal injury resulting from an accident.
Ideally, you will not ever end up in a situation that requires you to speak to an accident attorney, but if you do, you should make it a priority to see a lawyer as soon as possible. But if you’ve never had to speak with an attorney before, you may not know what to look for or how to prepare. Read on for our tips on how to make your first visit for as smoothly as possible.
Why You Need a Lawyer
If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident and are already concerned about your expenses and how much time the whole claims process will take you to complete, or if you were only minorly injured, you may be wondering if you even need a lawyer. The answer to your concerns, however, is that a lawyer will help you navigate this process and save you time and money when all is said and done.
If you are injured after your accident, even non-life-threatening problems can impede your daily activity. This can make simple tasks necessary to filing your claim a lot more difficult and time-consuming. If you hire a lawyer, you can focus your energy on recovering, while your legal team interacts with your insurance company and the courts and gathers information from the other parties and witness so you don’t have to.
Experienced riders are often very independent people and are used to solving their problems on their own. However, hiring an attorney will not take your case out of your hands. In fact, as the client, you will still be the one who makes all of the final decisions, no matter what your lawyer advises. A lawyer can also provide you with more options than you may have been aware of on your own, helping you come out ahead.
What Qualities to Look for in an Attorney
But what should you look for when thinking about hiring an attorney for your case? There are a number of factors to consider during your initial consultation:
- Frequently handles cases like yours: It is important to choose an attorney who is familiar with motorcycle accidents and personal injury. A lawyer with experience in similar cases to yours will have more background knowledge on bike terminology and will know the best ways to get you the most compensation.
- Local Connection: Finding a lawyer who is local the site of the accident and well-practiced in your area means that they will have a relationship with the judges, clerks, and court system in your filing district. This will make the process go a lot more effectively and efficiently.
- Professionalism: This may go without saying, but much like any business dealing, you want an attorney who behaves professionally and is organized. If a lawyer is not dressed professionally, seems scattered, or seems flippant about your case during the first meeting, this could bode poorly for how they will handle your case and the courts for the duration of your time together.
- Language and Culture: If English is not your first language, find out if the legal office you are visiting has attorneys who speak your language or offer interpretation services. Similarly, try to find a lawyer who is respectful of your views and choices and how your values pertain to how your ride. A lawyer who understands this will be better able to advocate for you effectively.
- Communication Skills: Pay attention to how your lawyer speaks to you during the first meeting. Do they take the time to explain things you don’t understand? Are they honest with you? Are they making every effort to fully understand the intricacies of your specific case? An attorney who is a good communicator will also be a good communicator to the other parties involved and will keep you informed and up-to-date.
Your First Consultation
Hiring a lawyer and the possibility of having to go to court can seem overwhelming. You may be nervous for your first meeting with a potential attorney. It is important to remember your attorney is there to get results for you and to help you in the best way possible. However, a little preparation can go a long way towards making you feel more at ease and knowledgeable.
- Contact an Attorney as Soon as Possible: You may have the instinct to wait and see how things play out for you. DO NOT WAIT. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better chance you have at building a strong case. Your attorney will want to talk to witnesses, and it is better if the scene is fresh in their memories. Sometimes evidence can be time-sensitive too.
- Be prepared to answer questions: The lawyer will want to get a full picture of your case and your riding habits before laying out a plan. They will ask questions about how and when you ride, protection you wear, and details about the accident and the events surrounding it. If you are worried you will forget some details, try writing down everything you can remember or think might be important and bring it with you to the meeting.
- Take notes: If you are visiting with a few different attorneys or you just want to understand better, bring a notepad and writing implement to take notes during the meeting. Write down what you notice and like about your attorney for hiring them, things they’ve explained to you about the process that you want to remember later, and any follow-up steps they’ve asked you to take.
- Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask questions as well. Again, your attorney is there to work for you. Ask about who will be handling your case, how to contact them, what they think about your case and if they are the right firm for the job.
- Cost: You should also ask about their contingency fee. The first meeting should not cost you or obligate you to pay further legal fees if you decide not to continue with their counsel after the initial consultation. Many times, you also don’t have to pay upfront until you win your case, but some attorney will charge higher percentages. However, sometimes this higher fee is worthwhile for experience and track record.
A motorcycle accident can be devastating and cause injuries and property damage that can affect many different parts of your personal life and livelihood. Navigating the claims process and seeking legal recourse can be an intimidating process to take on on own your own, but luckily, you don’t have to. If you were involved in a motorcycle accident and think you could be entitled to compensation, contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff, and Diaz to be put in touch directly with a lawyer. And yes, the first consultation really is no-obligation.