If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, lawyers may not be the first thing you think about. As you recover, however, it is important to consult with a lawyer about your case. You need to hire the right type of lawyer. There are a number of areas of practice for attorneys, and a divorce lawyer probably should not handle a case involving a motorcycle accident.
Lawyers all receive the same basic education. Most have a 4 year college degree, and have graduated from law school. Every lawyer, whether they intend to become a corporate attorney or a motorcycle lawyer, must pass a state bar exam to be admitted to the bar and be licensed to practice law.
Some attorneys become prosecutors. Others become criminal defense attorneys. Many specialize in the area of personal injury, and within that group, a few develop sub-specialties. An example would be a motorcycle lawyer, who is a personal injury practitioner, but has precise expertise in dealing with motorcycle accidents cases. You may even find attorneys who handle motorcycle accident cases who have grouped together to form a motorcycle law firm.
The attorneys in a motorcycle law firm have duties they must fulfill in order to sufficiently represent their clients’ interests. An initial meeting is held between the client and the attorney to determine if there is a viable case. Once an attorney agrees to take on a case, one of the first things done is a letter to the defendant, expressly laying out the damages suffered by the plaintiff. The purpose of the letter is to try to settle the matter prior to filing a civil complaint.
If the parties cannot reach a settlement, the plaintiff’s attorney files a complaint which must be served upon the defendant within a prescribed period of time. Subsequent pleadings include the defendant’s answer, and possibly, counterclaims. Soon after this the discovery process begins: both sides send out requests for documents, interrogatories, and depositions are scheduled. The purpose of “discovery” is to get information from the other party, some of it (hopefully) damaging to their case. There may be motions filed and hearings in court. A motorcycle lawyer needs to know how to successfully litigate a case, but negotiating is another fine art that must be practiced by any good attorney.
If no settlement is reached, the case goes to trial. Some cases are tried before a jury, and this puts into play another talent attorneys must possess. The attorney must be expert at the process of voir dire, or selecting the jury members. The trial then commences with opening statements and finishes with closing arguments, with the questioning of witnesses and presentation of evidence happening in-between. The attorney must have a mastery of the rules of evidence in order prevent detrimental evidence from being presented to the court by the opposing counsel.
Even during the trial the case may still settle. If it does not, the court renders a decision. Attorneys then must determine if there are valid reasons for an appeal. The entire process can take well over a year, and an attorney must be able to anticipate what will happen in a case every day, from beginning to end.