What You Should Know About Hiring A Lawyer For Your Bicycle Accident Case
Hiring a lawyer can be a very intimidating prospect if you’ve never done it before. When people think of lawyers, they often think first of how much money it’s going to cost them to hire a lawyer, and they worry about being ripped off by someone who doesn’t have their best interests at heart.
Working with an attorney can make you feel really vulnerable; you are usually sharing personal details about your life with them, and in turn, they have the power to act on your behalf. Your future is very much in their hands.
That’s why it’s so important, when you do need to hire a lawyer (if you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident and are owed compensation) to make the best possible choice in who you work with.
If you’ve never hired a lawyer for a personal injury case before, there are a few key things you should know so that you can make the best decision. In this post, we’ll share the basics that you should know before hiring an attorney, along with some of the best questions to ask any lawyer before you hire them.
Your very first meeting should be free of charge
If a lawyer won’t have a free first meeting or consultation with you to discuss your case, they are not an attorney that you should work with. It is a common practice that your initial consultation be free, and you should not have to invest your hard earned money just to have a first conversation.
Many people decide not to pursue a case because they think it will cost too much money; however, this first step should cost you nothing so that you can make a logical choice whether or not to actually invest your time and money into pursuing a case.
Talking to an attorney before you decide to hire one should be a free opportunity for you to make a smart decision about your future and your case.
Bring everything you can to your initial consultation
For a lawyer, more information is always better. In a case, you never know what small detail will end up making the difference, and so when you are first laying out your situation for your potential attorney, you should provide them with every detail possible.
If you have kept a post-accident diary, bring that. If you have photos of the accident scene, bring that. Bring your police report and any other official documentation that you have.
Remember that the conversations you have with attorneys are protected and private, so sharing details about your case will not put you at risk. In fact, the more honest you are with any attorneys you are considering hiring, the better they will be able to inform you about the strength of your case and help you decide whether or not you should move forward with them.
Interviewing your potential lawyer
Your first meeting – or when you are calling to set it up — is a great opportunity to interview your potential attorney and find out how they work and if they are a good fit for your case. If you hire them, your lawyer is going to become an important person in your life and so it is key to make sure they are a good match for you, both in their professional experience and in their personal style and demeanor.
If you find it hard to communicate with them or feel like they don’t understand you, then they are probably not your best choice for an attorney. If, however, you are able to communicate with them and you feel like they might be someone you’d like to work with, here are a few questions you should ask before you decide to hire them:
- Have you worked on a case like mine before?
Ideally, you want an attorney who has done this kind of case before. They should have specialized experience and knowledge to bring to the table; that is what will win your case. Plus, a lawyer who knows what they are doing will save you time and money by more efficiently moving through the process.
- How long have you been in practice?
A newer lawyer isn’t necessarily a bad thing; if you are an early client, you are likely to get a lot of time and energy from your attorney who is building their experience and wants to get a win. However, this is a judgment call you will have to make. You don’t want someone who is so brand new that they will make mistakes and waste your time or money.
- Do you have any references you can show me?
You always want to be able to connect with your potential lawyer’s previous clients. They can give you valuable insights into what it is like to work with this attorney, how the process went, and what you can expect. With references, you’ll also be able to see how successful this attorney has been in previous lawsuits. Due to confidentiality, it isn’t always possible for an attorney to share references, but it never hurts to ask.
Choosing between a big firm and a small firm
There are all kinds of law firms who do personal injury cases. However, not all law firms are created equal and your experience can be quite different depending on who you choose.
In general, a big firm may cost you more, since it costs them more to run such a large firm. Their fees tend to be higher, and if you don’t have a case that is likely to win them a huge amount of money, you are not likely to be their biggest priority. You may end up with a newer lawyer, who may or may not specialize in bicycle law cases, and it may be hard to get in touch with them if they are also working many other cases at the same time.
At a small firm, on the other hand, you are likely to be more important to your lawyer. A smaller firm will usually charge lower fees and have lower case expenses and be more available to you to answer questions, offer advice, and give you the best possible preparation for your case.
A big firm does sometimes come with a big name that holds some clout in the courtroom; however, having a smaller firm lawyer who is dedicated to your case and for whom you are a major priority may help you have a better experience with better results.
No matter who you choose, you should look to be paired with an attorney or firm who specializes in bicycle law cases. An attorney who is a specialist and an expert in the field of your case is always the best choice, because they will have experience and relationships that will help them far and above what another attorney can offer.
Need to talk to an attorney about your bicycle accident case?
At Bay Area Bicycle Law, we do offer free consultations and are ready to help you make a smart decision about your case. Helping people who have been in bicycle accidents is all we do. If you need to talk to a lawyer about your case, we are here to talk to you. Just use our contact form or call today.