In a state with more than 800,000 registered motorcyclists, congested interstates with stop-and-go traffic, and laws that allow lane splitting, accidents are a possibility for motorcyclists. Having the help of an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer will help you present a strong case or win a settlement.
Here’s how to find the right attorney if you’re in San Francisco and need some legal assistance.
Choose a Lawyer Familiar With San Francisco
Local is best when you’re searching for a car accident attorney. They need to be familiar with the law enforcement agency that responded to your accident scene and the court system so that they have a rapport and familiarity with procedures.
Your lawyer will file your case in a San Francisco civil court and will be assigned a court date. A motorcycle accident attorney will use these dates as benchmarks for whether the case moves forward to trial or ends in a settlement.
Having a local lawyer means they are familiar with ordinances and laws that apply to your state. For instance, California has strict standards for the assignment of liability, and choosing a lawyer from out of the area might put your case at risk if it goes to trial.
Check the Bar Association of San Francisco and the Bar Association of California for leads on an attorney. These local relationships will also be helpful at the negotiation table.
Make Sure They Specialize in Motorcycle Cases
Personal injury cases have a lot of the same fundamentals, but you need a lawyer that specializes in motorcycle cases. Working with a motorcycle accident lawyer gives you a better chance to win your settlement or court judgment.
These pros understand different aspects of motorcycle accident law, including:
- The cause of your motorcycle accident
- Whether you committed a traffic violation during the wreck
- Proving that the other party was at fault for the wreck
- Whether pedestrians, inclement weather, or other issues caused a distraction
- Which driver had the right of way or access to the lane
Schedule a Consultation and Ask Questions
If you’re going to hire an attorney, you first need to book a consultation. Motorcycle accident lawyers offer consultations to discuss the case and talk legal strategy. Ask the firm if the consultation is free or if you have to pay.
Come prepared with questions about their legal background, including:
- How many years they’ve practiced law
- Their advice on how to proceed with your case
- An estimate of the economic and non-economic damages you’ve encountered (Economic damages refer to medical bills, motorcycle damages, and other monetary matters. Non-economic matters refer to pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other similar issues.)
- Examples of cases like yours that they’ve tried
- A list of referrals from previous clients
Learn about the most common injuries that people face in motorcycle accidents.
Get a Rate Quote
Once your lawyer understands your case, find out how much they charge for their services. These lawyers charge based on different fee structures, including:
Contingency fees – A contingency fee is a percentage set by a lawyer that is collected at the end of the case once you get paid. The attorney collects their portion of the payout and then pays the client for the remainder.
Hourly fees – Attorneys who charge hourly fees will bill you throughout the course of offering you service.
Flat rates – With a flat rate, your attorney lets you know the price within the contract and what services it includes.
Many attorneys charge other fees, such as retainer fees, statutory fees, and consultation fees. Some attorneys charge clients for court fees if the case is handled via trial.
Compare the rate sheets of two to three different law firms to know the fees that you’re responsible for.
Search Legal Directories
Look into legal organizations that vet attorneys, such as the American Bar Association and Martindale-Hubbell. You can find both listings and peer reviews for the attorney so that you know their reputation and track record are verified.
Finding an attorney that is licensed to practice in your state means they’ll understand the nuance of the law in California, and can help you meet the statute of limitations and other details.
When you search legal directories, look for your attorney’s license number, the year they began practicing, where and when they received their law degree, reviews, and other pertinent information. Legal directories can also show whether an attorney has had a reprimand, suspension, or other action taken against their license.
Ask for an Explanation of Your Damages
Once you have suffered an injury, you need to get an explanation of the damages you can recover from your motorcycle accident. Motorcycle wrecks can create costly, catastrophic injuries. Bring evidence to your consultation, including accident reports, medical bills, pay stubs, and reports from witnesses.
Examples of some medical injuries that people endure in motorcycle accidents include:
- Lacerations and loss of blood
- Spinal cord injuries and trauma
- Temporary or permanent paralysis
- Cranial injuries and traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones and fractures
These injuries can quickly cause you to accumulate medical bills and can cause long-term damage.
You might also deal with damages outside of your physical injuries. People often suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), lost income, and other significant losses.
It’s important that you reveal these sorts of damages to your attorney since non-economic damages related to matters like pain and suffering are more subjective and difficult to prove. Your lawyer will need to use interviews, expert witness testimony, and other matters to help come up with a reasonable amount that you’re entitled to.
Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Working with a motorcycle accident lawyer allows you to get compensation for the injuries you’ve suffered and damages you experienced.
These accidents can have devastating consequences, and will almost certainly come with a lengthy recovery time. Start with these tips and do your due diligence so that you can find the best legal help available.
Golden State Accident Lawyers can help you with your legal needs. Take the time to contact us on our website, or call us at (415) 636-6474 for more information.