How Do I Choose an Attorney?
One of the most important decisions to make after suffering injury in a motorcycle accident is who you should hire as your personal injury attorney.
The short answer is you need to find someone who has:
- Successfully represented other clients for similar cases;
- Adequate resources to take on insurance companies;
- Trial experience.
Although most motorcyclists are responsible and undoubtedly have as much right to the road as anyone else, there is unfortunately still somewhat of a stigma. They are seen as thrill-seekers who are perhaps deserving of their fate. This is true even though the majority of motorcycle-versus-car accidents are the fault of the car driver!
A motorcyclist’s every action will be overly-scrutinized and questioned. Overcoming these biases and securing a fair settlement or jury verdict requires a skillful attorney.
Additionally, motorcyclists tend to carry less insurance than most other drivers, even though they are more likely to suffer more severe injuries. That means it is absolutely critical to identify compensation from all available sources.
Your lawyer is the person in whom you are entrusting your financial future. You need to make sure he or she is up for the task.
The following is a checklist to get you started and help you make the right decision.Start Immediately
You want to begin the process of looking for a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. In fact, it’s a good idea to have an attorney before you speak to any insurance adjusters.
It’s true that M.G.L. ch. 260, Section 2A allows up to three years in which to file a personal injury lawsuit. But that doesn’t mean you should wait that long. The problem is sometimes victims say things in those preliminary discussions that can come back to hurt them later, resulting in a significant devaluation of their claim. Plus, the longer you wait the tougher it’s going to be for your attorney to conduct a thorough investigation, including accident reconstruction.Identify Your Jurisdiction
If your accident happened in Massachusetts, you most likely need a lawyer who is based out of Massachusetts. Sure, there are lots of great attorneys in New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Connecticut. But laws vary from state-to-state and it’s best to hire someone who is knowledgeable about statutes and standards within the Commonwealth and also within your municipality.Identify the Attorney’s Area of Professional Focus
Just because someone is technically licensed to practice law doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best qualified to handle your case.
A fair number of smaller law firms offer legal services that run the gamut – from criminal defense to personal injury to family law. The problem with this is that these practices are so different, the attorneys involved don’t become well-versed in any particular area of law.
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, we focus solely on personal injury law, fighting solely on behalf of those who have been hurt as the result of someone else’s negligence.Investigate the Lawyer’s Reputation
When analyzing whether an attorney is equipped to handle your case, it’s important that you not just take the word of the attorney. Ask for referrals. See if he or she is willing to provide you with examples of results from cases similar to yours that they handled in the past.
Look at the attorney’s online presence. See what kind of information you can find on their website, in news stories and on review sites.
Find out from the local Bar Association whether the attorney is in good standing.Ask About Trial Experience
It’s true that the vast majority of personal injury lawsuits are settled well ahead of trial. There is often good reason for this, as it can save time and money for all involved, and results in a guaranteed payment that allows you to avoid the gamble you take with a jury trial.
But that does not mean your attorney should shy away from taking the case all the way to trial if that is what is in your best interest. Some attorneys unfortunately are eager to settle just so they can move on to the next case. That is not what our firm is about. If we believe the insurance company or other defendants have not extended our client a fair settlement in light of the circumstances and the extent of their damages, we will not advise them to settle.Ask for a Face-to-Face Consultation
Prepare a list of questions, come prepared with the facts of your case and sit down with at least two or three different attorneys before making your final choice. Remember that this is a person with whom you are going to be working for at least the next several months, if not years. It should be someone in whom you feel you can trust, who has your confidence and whom you feel will be responsive to your questions, concerns and best interests.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.