Essential Guide To Hiring A Louisiana Motorcycle Accident Attorney
A motorcycle accident is a horrific incident for someone to go through. If this happened to you, you should know what to do to fight back.
It’s not enough to just rely on your insurance to cover it. Heck, there are many times where your insurance company isn’t even working in your best interest.
They’re in business to make money. In a severe accident, they’re going to be responsible for a much higher payout. This is something that they’ll likely try very hard to avoid.
That means they’ll fight much harder against you and try to limit your resources. That’s not right.
Also, insurance companies are only a small glimpse of the problem. You’ll be in a legal battle that is downright confusing to someone without experience.
To protect yourself from these troubles, you’ll need a motorcycle accident attorney by your side. Here’s our guide to finding, hiring, and working with one.
Advantages of Hiring an Attorney
You may still be wondering if it’s absolutely necessary to seek assistance. You’ve heard that attorneys are costly and you’re not sure you want to go through the trouble.
But, we assure you, it’s absolutely critical to call for help. Here are several reasons why:
Knowledge from Experience
Like all lawyers, motorcycle attorneys offer skills and knowledge that come from experience. There are certain things you simply wouldn’t know if you have never handled this type of case.
For instance, it’s likely the defendant will try to ding you for not wearing a helmet (if applicable). But, did you know that in some cities and states, a helmet isn’t required?
Also, they know what you can expect for your settlement. They’ve won cases like this before and are aware of the usual payout.
Much like knowledge, negotiation skills only come through practice. They’ve worked with insurance companies and other attorneys frequently in the past.
So, they know what to expect when coming to the table and can make sure you’re getting the best payout.
Your motorcycle accident attorney will handle the ins and outs surrounding the trial.
They’ll have investigators ready who can find witnesses. They know how to obtain police and medical records that support your case.
They even fill out most of the paperwork for you!
Not only will they work through these processes, but they’ll also help you understand them. A good lawyer will make sure you’re aware of what they’re doing and the reason behind it.
Also, they’ll make sure you’re fully aware of what to expect when anything arises in your case.
We’ll end this non-exclusive list with one of the most important advantages. An attorney is ready to fight for you.
They’ll know when something is off and they have the willpower to do something about it. They aren’t afraid to call out an injustice.
They’re willing to file a lawsuit and go to trial. Going to trial alone is often a guaranteed loss. You absolutely need their support- which they are certainly ready to give.
How to Find Help After Your Motorcycle Accident
So, now you know why it’s important to seek help. Let’s talk about actually finding the right motorcycle attorney for you.
Law is a competitive field, so there are plenty of options out there. But, don’t just settle for any person. You need to find someone who understands you and your specific needs.
Start by consulting friends and family, as they may have good recommendations. If that doesn’t work, begin your online search.
Check out different law firm websites in your area, as well as their social media pages. Gather as much information about them as possible that you can find online.
Also, check out some forums, such as Quora. Many lawyers share their expertise through these platforms.
Once you’ve done your research, start narrowing it down. Figure out who you’d like to set up an initial consultation with, and go for it.
What to Ask During the Consultation
Before we jump into this, we have to warn you of one thing. You need to make note of a lawyer’s response time.
If they take several days to get back with you, that’s not a good sign. It could mean that they’re far too busy with other work to handle your case appropriately.
Even once you get into the consultation, this should still be one of your concerns. We’ll get into that now with our list of questions you should ask.
What is Your Current Workload?
This may sound a little invasive, but trust us, it’s not. You need to know if an attorney has time to handle your motorcycle accident case.
Get specific. Ask if they feel they’re able to adequately handle your needs. Ask how long the case will take and how much time they’re able to put toward it.
You could also ask this person when their suit will be filed. This is a good indicating factor of how much time they have to put toward your needs.
What’s Your Experience?
We mentioned earlier that having an attorney is having experience on your side. That will only hold true if the person actually has the appropriate experience handling these cases.
Personal injury law is very broad. So, you should look for someone who has worked on a motorcycle accident case.
Ask what the outcomes of their past trials were and also inquire about settlements. You can ask for client references or reviews, as well.
What’s Your Contingency Fee?
Ah, what we’re all afraid of. How much is my lawyer going to keep of my settlement?
Unfortunately, there’s no black and white answer. Every firm has its own guidelines for pricing and payment structures.
Sometimes, these rates are negotiable. But, it is appropriate to set up pay structures prior to beginning so they are compensated fairly.
After Listening to My Case, What are Your Thoughts?
You’re probably curious as to what your settlement will be like. Or, at least, if you have a chance at winning.
This is where the integrity of a motorcycle accident attorney comes out. Are they willing to give you an honest evaluation of your case?
Ask each and every attorney you meet with to provide honest feedback. What do they suspect the end result will be?
If this varies among people, find someone you trust to speak with. This will show you who is honest and open and who’s just in it to make a little money.
Will We Communicate Often?
This ties into what we were saying earlier about your attorney having enough time. You want to make sure this person won’t just leave you hanging.
The right lawyer will keep you up-to-date with all of the events within your case. You shouldn’t have to worry about any last minute occurrences, at least on their end.
Be upfront with how much you expect or would like to communicate. You may need to negotiate a bit, but make sure you’re also understanding of their needs as well.
What Do I Need to Do?
Lastly, you’ll want to know your roles for if you were to move forward with this candidate. What do they expect out of you to ensure your success?
You may be required to make frequent doctor visits or show proof of injury. The attorney will evaluate your motorcycle accident and determine what’s appropriate.
Also, you need to know what type of logistical work you’ll need to complete. Is there any paperwork? When would you make payments?
Your lawyer is there to help you. The best way they can do that is to make sure you know your responsibilities so there aren’t any errors on your end.
You’ve found the perfect person to take on your motorcycle accident case. Congrats!
Now, the real work comes in. It’s time for you and your attorney to build your case to show that you mean business.
So, what are the next steps that you, or likely your lawyer, will have to handle?
First things first. You’ll have to build an investigation into the events surrounding your motorcycle accident.
This is where the witnesses and police records start to come in. Don’t fret though — your lawyer will know how to handle it.
They’ll talk to an investigator who can track down witnesses from the day of your motorcycle accident. They’ll be in contact with these witnesses to hear their recount of details.
Your team will also obtain police and medical records. Police records show what the police remember from the event, which can usually help you in court.
This also covers the reportings made by fire and paramedic staff.
You’ll need to bring your medical records in at this time, as well. These are the proof of your injuries. They lay out how you were physically affected even after the accident.
Your lawyer will also obtain records of the 911 emergency calls that were placed. These can also be valuable to your team because this brings in more eyewitnesses.
Filing the Lawsuit
After you gather evidence, your lawyer will begin to file the lawsuit. It’s important that this is done in a timely manner.
With any personal injury claims, you can’t wait forever to make a claim. You should aim to present your evidence as soon as possible.
By waiting, you could be violating the statues of limitations. This will keep you from ever receiving compensation for your motorcycle accident.
Do note that submitting an intent to file isn’t the same as giving notice of an actual claim. But, it is still helpful to do because it shows that you were acting on your case within a reasonable time frame.
An intent letter can be good because it can save the trouble of going to court. At times, you and your lawyer are able to reach a settlement with the other party.
But, often times, it doesn’t end up so peacefully. So, you should both prepare to go to take matters to a jury.
The Trial and Its Aftermath
From here, your case is in your attorney’s hands. They’ll fight hard for you and make sure your evidence is abundant and clear.
And, if your case against your motorcycle accident is strong enough, you may just have won a settlement.
Beware that after you win a case, it does take some time to receive your check. It usually takes up to a month before you’ll receive any compensation.
It’s very common that you’re not going to receive your settlement all at once. This is especially true if your accident was severe and you’re receiving a lot of money.
So, be prepared that you could be receiving payments for a while.
The last thing we will discuss is what to do if you’re partially at fault or were negligent.
For instance, say you weren’t wearing a helmet during your motorcycle accident. Now, the other party wants to use this against you.
What would happen here varies greatly by state. But, usually, the injured person is entitled to half of the settlement if they’re at 50% fault or less.
If you’re less than half at fault or half negligent, a jury would typically ignore that. If the other person was speeding or drinking, they would be at higher fault than you failing to wear a helmet.
Let’s Wrap Things Up
By now, you’re probably tired of hearing us babble. Instead, let’s hear from you!
Were you involved in a motorcycle accident and need representation? We want to help you.
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Your case — and your future will be our top priority. When we meet with you, we will review your case with you for free and after you hire us you will have Stephen’s 100% Client Satisfaction Guarantee.
If you have any questions about this article or want to contact us, call Stephen at (225) 500-5000 or do so here.
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