With the weather turning warmer, more motorcyclists are taking to the highways. Now is a great time to review motorcycle safety and what to do in the event you are injured in a motorcycle accident. Many motorcycle accidents are caused because car drivers are careless and don’t see the motorcycles. Drivers often change lanes unsafely, tailgate, fail to signal, violate traffic lights, fail to yield the right-of-way or fail to follow other traffic laws. All too often, drivers are distracted by electronic devices or are intoxicated and not fit to drive.
The consequences for motorcyclists and their passengers are often tragic. Motorcyclists are particularly vulnerable to injury because they have little protection in the event of a crash. As many as 80% of motorcycle drivers are injured or killed when involved in a motorcycle accident, according to the federal National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA).
If you are injured as a motorcyclist or passenger, you may have a claim for compensation. If you do, you will need the help of an experienced Wisconsin personal injury attorney. Finding the right lawyer can be daunting, but it is important that to hire an attorney you are comfortable with, and in whom you can place your trust.
A competent motorcycle accident attorney will investigate the circumstances of your case; evaluate your injuries and determine your rights under Wisconsin law. He or she will advise you as to the amount of money you can expect to recover in your case.
What will it cost to hire Lawton & Cates? We only charge a fee when we recover compensation for you. We are paid a percentage of that recovery at the end of the case. At Lawton & Cates, we advance any out of pocket costs such as medical records, filing fees and expert witness fees. You will only pay for those costs and your attorney fees if we recover money on your behalf.
How do I find an attorney to help with my motorcycle accident case? A lot of law firms use heavy radio and television advertising to get you to hire them. Just because a firm has a lot of radio or television ads doesn’t mean they will give your case the personalized, high level attention it deserves. Don’t fall for the hype. When hiring a lawyer to work on your case, make sure you get enough information about them to ensure they will handle your case competently. Keep these things in mind when hiring a lawyer to handle your motorcycle or car accident case:
Don’t Pay for an Initial Consultation. It is standard practice to have a free initial meeting with a personal injury lawyer. There is no obligation to hire an attorney just because you meet with them. Our ethics rules generally require written fee agreements in personal injury cases. If you speak with an attorney who wants to charge for your initial meeting, you should find someone else. If your first meeting is with a non-lawyer, like an investigator, paralegal or assistant, find someone else to handle your case.
Ask Questions. What is the attorney’s experience in motorcycle accident and other personal injury cases? Is at least one member of the firm board certified? Has the firm or have its attorneys been recognized by peers for excellence and leadership in the profession? Some firms advertise the past accomplishments of a senior attorney, who is actually now on senior status and not really actively practicing law. If a firm is touting the accomplishments of one lawyer, make sure that attorney, rather than being on “senior status” or only in the office a few days a week, is actually going to be handling your case.
Don’t Let the Attorney Charge an Attorney Fee for Your Med-Pay Recovery. Med-Pay is a provision of your own motorcycle or auto insurance which pays medical charges not covered by health insurance related to any collision you are involved in. Payment under these policies can usually be obtained by just writing a letter and sending medical bills with a copy of the accident report to the Med-Pay carrier. Our firm does not charge an attorney fee or costs related to Med-Pay and no attorney should. Ask about it at the initial consultation. If the firm charges attorney fees on Med-Pay recoveries, move on.
Make Sure an Attorney will Actually Handle Your Case. Far too often, firms assign cases internally not to lawyers but to paralegals, investigators or other non-lawyers. If you are hiring a lawyer, you should be represented by a lawyer. Ask about how many non-lawyers staff the firm – if there are many more non-lawyers than lawyers, it may tell you who will handle your case.
Find out who will be your primary contact within the firm, who will communicate with you, who will handle each phase of your claim. Your claim is extremely important. You deserve to have it handled by a real lawyer. If you can’t be assured a lawyer will be working on your case, you should find a different firm.
At Lawton & Cates, an attorney will handle your case and work personally with you throughout the pursuit of your claim. You will not be abandoned to other, non-lawyer staff. If you’ve been injured in a motorcycle accident, contact Lawton & Cates to find the right lawyer.
Attorney Terrence M. Polich is an attorney at Lawton & Cates. Attorney Polich is an experienced trial lawyer, specializing in auto accident cases, including motorcycle injury cases.