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6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

By Matt Lalande in Motorcycle Accidents on March 30, 2024

6 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Choosing a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

“Motorcycle Accident Near Me” is one of the top Google search terms when people are looking to hire an accident lawyer. Let me be Brutally Honest and Tell you why.

Hiring a motorcycle accident is no easy task. We are bombarded with media sales, billboard ads, television ads, radio ads, digital marketing ads, Instagram ads, TikTok ads – you name it. I will be the first to admit it – lawyers are fearless in spending money on marketing. That’s the truth. I am guilty of it, too, with our buses that constantly ride around the city of Hamilton.

But with over two decades of practice, I can tell you firsthand that I spend LOTS of time talking with our clients. An inordinate amount of time – and most of our motorcycle accident victims who retain us tell us that when it came time to find a lawyer, they were quite confused. They did not know a lawyer; they never hired a lawyer; they had no access to one – and had nowhere to turn to. This is why most victims and family members quickly turn to Google and start their frenzied research in the hospital waiting room or after coming home.

I know firsthand how overwhelming and confusing it can be to choose the right motorcycle accident to represent you during such a challenging time. With so many options available, it’s easy to make mistakes that could jeopardize your case and your chances of receiving the compensation you deserve. That’s why I’ve decided to share my advice after two decades of practice on the common pitfalls to avoid when selecting a motorcycle accident lawyer. Common pitfalls that I would avoid if my wife or kids were hurt and I had to hire a lawyer.

I do hope my brutal honesty provides you or your family with a bit of knowledge necessary to make an informed decision and protect your rights as an accident victim.

1. Don’t Hire a Pompous Jerk. Ever.

Does this say enough? If you are a family member who is hurt, hiring the right motorcycle accident lawyer is going to be one of the most important decisions of your life. You need to get along with them. You need to have that “good feeling” when you talk with them. You need to feel comfortable and at ease.

Picture the first time you meet a motorcycle accident lawyer. He struts into the boardroom in a big suit with an air of superiority, his ego barely fitting through the door. He speaks in lofty legalese, revelling in the sound of his voice as he tries to dazzle you with his self-proclaimed brilliance. He sounds dismissive or impatient in conversation, making you feel small or uninformed. He boasts about past successes or name-drops meaningful connections as if their reputation alone should be enough to win the case.

Is this what you want? Or do you want to hire a motorcycle accident lawyer who enters the room with a warm smile and a genuine handshake, listens attentively to your story, asks thoughtful questions, and shows empathy for your situation? A lawyer who understands that behind every case is a real person with unique needs and concerns.

A lawyer who breaks down complex concepts into easy-to-understand terms, ensuring that you feel informed and empowered to make decisions about your case. Someone who takes the time to address all your questions and concerns, no matter how small they seem.

Don’t hire a pompous jerk. Take your time and hire the right person. If not, trust me – you will regret it and then be in a position of Googling “Can I Change Personal Injury Lawyers?“.

2. Don’t Hire a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer from a Billboard (or bus!) without Doing your Homework. Ever.

Many lawyers advertise with what we call “traditional advertising,” which includes billboards, buses, television, radio, etc. Just because a lawyer can afford to pay big advertising dollars does not mean they are “good lawyers.”

In the early 2000s, journalist Alec Wilkinson published a piece in The New Yorker magazine titled “The Texas Hammer: How a Personal Injury Lawyer Became a Power Broker.” In this article, Wilkinson used the term “settlement mill” to describe the practices of certain personal injury law firms in Texas that focused on settling a high volume of cases quickly rather than pursuing maximum compensation for each individual client.

A settlement mill is a type of law firm that prioritizes the quick resolution of a large volume of cases, often at the expense of maximizing the value of each case. These firms typically handle a high number of personal injury cases, with the primary goal of settling cases as quickly as possible with minimal effort and resources invested in each case.

While many lawyers who advertise using traditional methods are good, others could be labelled as settlement mills. How would a hurt person know the difference?

3. Don’t accept gifts from people you don’t know in the hospital. Most times, the gifts are a Bull*** Sham.

About four years ago, a lady called me at the office. She barely spoke English. She seemed eastern European. She asked if I could come to the Hamilton General. Her husband was hit by a car and was in the ICU. When I arrived, I told her I did not need to see him. It made me uncomfortable, even though I was in plain street clothes (unlike many others, I refuse to wear a flashy suit to a hospital to visit a new client).

She tried to tell me that he had to see me before hiring me. I understood it might be a cultural thing – so I agree. We went into the ICU and made our way toward his bed. I remember standing between the bed and the window. This gentleman had suffered brutal orthopedic injuries and had recently been operated on. He was on a ventilator.

He wanted to grab and shake my hand, so I reached out. He was incredibly weakened and only ended up grabbing my finger while his wife spoke about me.

I backed away and let her move up towards his head, and as she spoke to him, I backed away and looked over at his side table, which had a beautiful bouquet on it. The card in the flowers was from a personal injury law firm – which was not even from Hamilton. There was also stationary from another law firm on the table. I could not believe it. I asked her who had delivered the flowers, and she mentioned that they were from a lovely man who identified himself as “Hospital Flower Delivery.”

We spent another hour together in the hall and discussed their lives, her husband and the accident.

I never got the file, and I don’t know why. But I was left with the memory of how brutally deceiving some law firms can be. I felt sickened by it.

Don’t accept gifts in the hospital from people you don’t know. It’s all a bull**** sham.

4. Never Hire a Lawyer who “Dabbles” in Motorcycle Accident Law. Ever.

Would you want a neurosurgeon to deliver your baby or a plumber to repair the electrical in your home? No. Doctors go to medical school but specialize in different areas of medicine. Lawyers go to law school but specialize in different areas of law. You would never want to hire me to defend you in a criminal case or represent you in Divorce Court. I will be the first to admit that the result would be an insurmountable disaster. You would end up in jail, or your ex-spouse would end up with everything.

The matter becomes a bit more complicated if there is a death involved. The valuation of dependency claims and compensation to protect survivors can get really complicated, really fast – and requires not only expertise in the field of wrongful death – but also the involvement of actuaries and economists with whom your lawyer should have a good connection and relationship with.

Whatever you do, hire a motorcycle accident lawyer with experience in insurance and no-fault litigation—not someone who dabbles. Insurance defence lawyers will catch on real quick, and although things might go your way, I can guarantee they would have gone a lot better if you had hired a specialist.

5. Never Hire a Paper Tiger. Ever.

If you’ve been involved in a severe motorcycle accident in Ontario, hiring a trial lawyer is essential due to their unique perspective and approach to handling cases. There is no doubt that trial lawyers with courtroom experience see and evaluate cases differently than lawyers who primarily focus on settlements. They understand the intricacies of presenting a case before a judge and jury and know how to craft compelling arguments that resonate with the court. This trial experience enables them to prepare cases meticulously, anticipating potential challenges and developing strategies to overcome them. Clients can take comfort in knowing that their lawyer has the confidence and ability to take the case to trial if necessary, as they have a proven track record of success in the courtroom. This reassurance is invaluable.

Secondly, insurance companies often have teams of experienced lawyers working to minimize payouts and protect their bottom line. A trial lawyer can level the playing field by leveraging their expertise and reputation to negotiate a fair settlement or, if necessary, take the case to trial. They can anticipate the tactics used by insurance companies and counter them effectively, increasing the likelihood of a favourable outcome for the client. Moreover, the mere presence of a reputable trial lawyer can often encourage insurance companies to offer a more reasonable settlement, as they know the lawyer is prepared to take the case to court if necessary.

6. Lastly, Never try to save Money by Hiring a Paralegal to Litigate a Motorcycle Accident Case.

I have seen this many times. Clients either think lawyers are too expensive or know a friend of a friend in their community who is a paralegal. This is NOT a knock-on paralegals. Paralegals can be extremely valuable, and in fact, we refer many of our CPP cases and WSIB or workplace injury cases to a well-known paralegal in town who is highly experienced and does a fantastic job. She is amazingly smart, and I have no problem referring any my clients to her.

However, there are certain limitations on what they can do. Paralegals cannot represent clients in family law matters, such as divorce, custody, and support issues. They cannot draft wills or handle estate matters, nor can they represent clients in criminal cases that are outside their scope of practice, such as indictable offences.

Paralegals cannot conduct jury trials or appear in the Superior Court of Justice, except in Small Claims Court or in certain limited circumstances. They are also prohibited from providing legal services that fall outside their prescribed scope of practice, such as advising on matters beyond their expertise or engaging in activities that constitute the unauthorized practice of law.

We have seen that the client typically will retain a paralegal, who will have the client sign a retainer. In motorcycle accident cases, that paralegal is entitled to assist with accident benefits, but they cannot handle the motorcycle litigation. That paralegal will then work with a lawyer (who may or may not specialize in motorcycle accidents (see pt. four above) and have the client sign a second retainer. That lawyer (whom you did not research and choose – and who you don’t know) will charge you a 30% fee as well and then pay part of that fee to a paralegal. Now, you are working with two separate entities, who are both charging you legal fees. In addition to not saving money and paying fees twice, you are working with two separate entities – until you get frustrated and call us.

The “Take it or Leave it” on hiring a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

When hiring a motorcycle accident lawyer, avoiding common mistakes that could jeopardize your case is crucial. Do not settle for an inexperienced lawyer who lacks the necessary trial skills and knowledge to fight for your rights in court. Be wary of lawyers who seem full of themselves. Avoid lawyers you feel uncomfortable with, as this can lead to misunderstandings and missed opportunities. Please do not choose a lawyer based solely on their fees, as the cheapest option may not always provide the best representation. Finally, never hire a lawyer who pressures you into making decisions or fails to listen to your concerns and goals.

By avoiding these pitfalls and selecting a skilled, experienced, and trustworthy motorcycle accident lawyer, you can confidently increase your chances of obtaining the compensation you deserve and navigating the legal process.

Questions about Hiring a Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyer? Give Me a Call.

If you or a loved one has suffered severe injuries in a motorcycle accident, you have the right to pursue legal action against the negligent driver who caused your injuries and losses. We can’t undo the past, but our Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers can ensure that you and your loved ones are financially secure in a time of need.

Since 2003, our Hamilton Motorcycle Accident Lawyers have recovered tens of millions in compensation for residents in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, call us today, no matter where you are in Ontario, at 1-844-LALANDE or local in Hamilton and throughout Southern Ontario at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can email us confidentially through our website or chat 24/7 with our live chat operator.

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