Lawyer Hiring Mistakes
Though motorcycle fatalities are on the decline in California, there are still many dangers that motorcyclists face while on the road.
When someone else makes a mistake that causes an accident, it is not fair for injured victims to suffer the consequences. This is why it’s so valuable to hire an experienced lawyer who knows how to protect victims’ rights and recover damages.
However, finding quality representation can be a challenge. Here are the most common lawyer hiring mistakes to avoid when looking for a motorcycle accident lawyer.
Waiting to See a Doctor
When a motorcycle accident first occurs, your first step is to ensure you are safe and that your health is stable. It is not in your best interest to wait until after you’ve hired an attorney or begun the claims process to seek medical attention.
Oftentimes, shock prevents us from properly assessing our own injuries immediately following a crash. Many injuries, such as brain injuries or spinal injuries, require a medical diagnosis.
Not only can waiting to see a doctor hurt your chances of recovery but it can also hurt your chances of receiving the compensation you’re owed. By prolonging your medical care, you can unintentionally give the impression to the defense that your injuries are not serious.
Dealing Improperly With Your Insurance Company
Another step to take as soon as possible is contacting your insurance company about the accident. Many people try to avoid bringing insurance into the equation because they’re worried that their rates will increase. However, California state law prevents insurance companies from raising the rates on the policy of a not-at-fault driver (or motorcyclist).
However, you don’t need to go into great detail about the accident with your insurance company right away. Report the accident, hire a lawyer, and consult with your lawyer before sharing further accident detials with your insurance company. To avoid miscommunication or agreeing to a premature payout for damages, do not communicate with other involved parties without legal representation.
Hiring an Inexperienced Lawyer
One of the most common lawyer hiring mistakes is hiring an inexperienced lawyer. You want to select a lawyer that is located in your state and is familiar with your state’s specific laws and court processes.
Additionally, you want to hire a lawyer that is well-versed in motorcycle accidents and personal injury claims. Lawyers who have less experience in these areas can overlook key pieces of evidence or fail to prepare for common arguments the defense may use to redirect fault.
Sometimes, people shop around for the most affordable option – which is fine. Typically, lawyers who have not been in practice long or have not developed much courtroom experience will have lower legal fees than their more seasoned counterparts. Therefore, when making your selection, ensure that the attorney you choose has a positive success rate.
Ignoring Good & Bad Lawyer Reviews
Experience isn’t the only thing to look for. When it comes to lawyer hiring mistakes, reputation should not be overlooked. A great way to learn about a lawyer’s capabilities and strengths is to ask former clients. Most credible law firms will share testimonials on their website. Or, you can request to speak with clients that the firm has helped in the past.
The internet is another powerful tool. By looking at a lawyer’s online reviews, you can find out more about a law firm from real clients. Websites like Yelp, Google, and even Facebook are good resources to utilize.
Just be aware of reviews that appear too good to be true. While negative reviews are a good indicator that one lawyer is maybe not the best choice, too many positive reviews can also be a red flag. Some companies pay for fake reviews to give the appearance that their services are in high demand – when they’re really not. Therefore, keep an eye on phrasing that appears too similar and on multiple reviews that were posted on the same day.
Hiring a Lawyer That Doesn’t Offer a Free Consultation
When looking for car accident lawyers in your area, you may find that many of them offer a free case consultation. If they do, don’t hesitate to take it, even if you’re not sure whether or not you’re going to work with that law firm.
A free consultation allows you to explain the facts of your motorcycle accident to an experienced law team. They will then assess the situation and provide their opinion about whether or not that situation is grounds for a personal injury claim. During this time, you can also ask questions about how they will best represent you before deciding whether or not to proceed.
Be cautious when considering to work with a firm that will accept your case from the start or promise guarantees before conducting an investigation. The initial consultation should aid potential clients in making an informed decision before committing to a contract. Conversely, it helps lawyers determine whether or not they can assist these potential clients with their motorcycle accident case.
Filing a Claim Without a Lawyer
In the state of California, people have two years from the time of the accident to file a personal injury claim, per the “statute of limitations.” Alternatively, if your resulting injuries weren’t discovered right away, you have an additional year from the time that your injuries were discovered. However, these terms can vary greatly, which is why it’s strongly advisable to consult with an attorney for clarification.
Lawyers prefer to work with clients from the very start of a claims process. This allows them to effectively strategize. All decision-making should be collaborative between you and your attorney. So, making agreements with the other party’s insurance or misfiling a personal injury claim without an attorney’s approval can negatively impact a case.
Talking to the Defense Without a Lawyer
The most damaging lawyer hiring mistake is talking to the defense without your lawyer. This is yet another reason why you should always hire a lawyer before filing your claim.
While you may have filed a claim against the person who caused your motorcycle accident, that’s not who you will be battling in court. It’s more accurate to say that you’re filing a claim against the at-fault individual’s insurance company.
Talking to insurance companies without your own representation is risky and can have a negative outcome on your case. The defense may encourage you to share certain information that may appear harmless on the surface. However, there is often an ulterior motive. Your lawyer will help you to avoid making missteps like these that could give the defense the upper hand.
Avoid These Lawyer Hiring Mistakes for a Smooth Claims Process
When filing a claim after a motorcycle accident, it’s important to work with the best legal representation. Avoid these common lawyer hiring mistakes to get your claims process started on the right foot. At The Law Offices of Daniel Kim, we have successfully built a winning reputation, and we can help you. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.