If you’ve been injured or were fortunate enough to only sustain damage to your motorcycle after an accident, understanding and taking the next steps can feel like a confusing or intimidating process. And if you find yourself needing a lawyer to assist you in presenting your case, the choices can seem overwhelming.
Motorcycle accidents can be particularly distressing for those involved due to disparity between vehicles and motorcycles and between the types of injuries and damages that riders experience compared to drivers. What’s legal or appropriate for a motorcycle rider to do versus what is legal or appropriate for the driver of a vehicle in Chicago and surrounding areas isn’t always intuitive. And there are also many misconceptions about motorcycle riders that can make it feel like the deck is already stacked against you.
This is why selecting a lawyer who is well-versed and experienced in the area of motorcycle accident litigation is so important. The injuries and other losses that you can incur (lost wages, medical bills, etc.) can impact you and your family for the rest of your life, so making the best choice you can for your situation is imperative.
Here are some factors to consider when you are seeking out a lawyer after a motorcycle accident.
Experience, Reputation, Location
You don’t want just any lawyer representing you in court. You want a lawyer who is experienced and knowledgeable about this particular area of litigation to give you the best possible chance of leaving the courtroom fairly compensated for injuries and losses sustained due to the negligence or actions of others. While not a surefire way of vetting a particular firm or lawyer, make sure you do your research. Choose a lawyer with good reviews, one who will answer all of your questions, is in your area, and has experience in this area.
Ask other riders for recommendations
To help narrow down your list, it might be helpful to ask fellow riders or friends of those who ride if there is a motorcycle injury attorney that they have worked with in the past or know of. Ask them about their experiences, and then if interested, ask them for the referral.
Other sources of a referral may be lawyers you know that might not necessarily specialize in your area of concern but may know someone who does. Also, you may benefit from reaching out to local bar associations, lawyer directories, motorcycle legal defense funds, nonprofits, and other related organizations or agencies.
Take time to interview lawyers and ask questions
Most lawyers will offer a free consultation, so make this meet and greet count! That means come prepared; have pictures, police reports, estimates, doctor’s notes, medical bills, etc., handy to present and discuss. Write down questions that you have ahead of time to reduce the risk of you forgetting anything.
The list of questions can vary, but make sure you cover the following at a minimum:
- Fees, contingency fees, payment expectations
- How long they have been practicing law
- Their experience with motorcycle accident representation
- The percentage of their cases that result in a settlement
- If they handled cases similar to yours before, and what was the outcome
- Who will actually be handling the case
How did you feel about the meeting?
Ideally, the right lawyer should make you feel confident, comfortable, and well-represented. If you feel anxious, unheard, or uncomfortable when you are interviewing them, this may be an indication that they might not be the right person to represent you. The outcome of your case could potentially impact you for the rest of your life; don’t select a lawyer who isn’t able to commit the kind of time and attention to it that you need.
The nuances and intricacies of a motorcycle accident case require not only the skill set of an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer but also require compassion, communication, and a desire to help you and your family recover any compensation that you may be entitled to. A motorcycle accident can be a life-changing event, and you deserve qualified, compassionate representation for your case.