According to the California DMV, more than 10,000 bicyclists are seriously injured in this state each year. While cycling can be an enjoyable and healthy hobby, it isn’t without its risks.
If you’ve suffered a physical injury or property damage after a bicycle accident, you need an experienced attorney by your side. A legal expert can help you navigate all of your critical next steps. They’ll also work to secure a settlement for you that can help you recover and heal.
As you begin searching “bicycle accident lawyer near me,” we’re here to help. Today, we’re sharing how to find a lawyer that meets your needs and knows how to fight for your rights.
1. Ask Around
Often, the best referrals are those that you receive by word of mouth. This is especially the case when you’re looking for legal support. If you ride in a group with other bicyclists, ask if they’ve ever been in an accident before.
If so, did they hire a bicycle accident lawyer? Would they recommend that specific law firm? Why or why not?
With so many options for lawyers, it can be difficult to know where to begin. If you can get a personal referral from someone you know and trust, that’s a great place to start.
2. Read Reviews
When you have the name of a few law offices you want to try, go online and check out their web presence. Do they have a professional website? Are they active and responsive on social media?
The best law firms will have a polished, well-designed site that’s easy to navigate. As you explore all of their pages and learn the types of services they provide, take the time to read any reviews they’ve shared.
Reading online reviews is a great way to gauge how your own experience might go with a prospective lawyer. While every bicycle accident case is different, there are some common threads that unite them all. Pay special attention to what past clients say about the lawyer’s professionalism, demeanor, and work ethic.
Though it can be impossible to predict what will happen with your claim, it’s always a good sign if a lawyer is reputable and well-reviewed. You can often find these reviews right on their website.
3. Verify Licensing
It may go without saying, but it’s critical to ensure that any lawyer you work with meets all licensing and accreditation requirements in your province. These requirements and laws can differ, so call the law firm’s office for more information if these details aren’t readily available.
In addition, you can also search for lawyers on the State Bar of California website. Use the site’s “Look Up a Lawyer” tool on the homepage to learn about each potential attorney you may hire. As you review each one, it’s important to verify that they have not engaged in any type of professional misconduct.
4. Ask About Experience
Everyone has to start somewhere, but you do not want to be a learning experience for any lawyer you hire. Ask about their experience in accident law, and make sure they’ve specifically worked on bicycle accident cases like yours. Not every personal injury lawyer will specialize in this field, and even some accident lawyers don’t handle bicycle collisions.
If they do specialize in bicycle accident cases, ask about their success rate.
How many cases similar to yours have they worked on in the past year? Of those, how many have they won, how many have they lost, and how many have gone to court? What is the amount of their average settlement?
An experienced lawyer will understand how bicycle laws work in California. This can help them understand more about how your accident happened and who was at fault. Details like these can make all the difference in your claim, so you should partner with someone who’s familiar with them.
5. Compare Fees
Another way to narrow down your list of options is to begin comparing lawyer fees. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means you shouldn’t have to pay any up-front costs out of pocket. Instead, they’ll take a pre-determined percentage of your earnings if you win your case.
There’s no set percentage, and every firm will be different. As you compare fees, remember that there are other factors to consider, as well. Yes, you want a lawyer you can comfortably afford, but you don’t want to sacrifice service or quality along the way.
Before you sign any dotted line, make sure to get all of your financial details in writing with your attorney. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. There may be some fees you’ll need to eventually pay out of pocket, such as filing fees, but your lawyer should make those clear and transparent early on.
6. Schedule a Consultation
Once you’ve shortened your list to only a few law offices, go ahead and schedule a few consultations! These initial meetings are usually free and are a great way for you to get a feel for how communication will go down the road.
During the consultation, you can discuss the high-level details of your case and ask any questions you might have. The potential lawyer should not be able to guarantee you any type of settlement, and you should be especially wary of anyone who begins listing dollar amounts at this juncture.
Use this valuable time to see how the interaction goes. Do you feel comfortable sharing details about your case with this person? Were they on time and professional throughout the meeting?
A few of the key questions you can ask each lawyer during the meeting include:
- How long have you worked in personal injury law?
- Do you have experience working on bicycle accident cases?
- Do you represent only victims, or defendants as well?
- Are you the person who will be personally handling my case?
- Can you provide me with references from past clients with cases similar to mine?
If you feel rushed, ignored, or belittled at any point during the conversation, consider this a red flag and continue your search elsewhere.
Looking For a “Bicycle Accident Lawyer Near Me”?
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, your next steps are important ones.
As you heal physically, mentally, and emotionally from the collision, your lawyer can work on your behalf. They’ll uncover the details of the event, communicate with the insurance company, and do everything in their power to maximize your payout.
If you’ve been searching online for “bicycle accident lawyer near me”, start with us. At Armstrong Accident Attorneys, we specialize in a range of personal injury services, including motorcycle and bicycle cases. Contact us today to request a free consultation.