I just gave a free consultation to a biker who was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident. He suffered severe injuries in his motorcycle accident and his life has been permanently altered.
This biker told me that he already has a lawyer but is not satisfied with the service the lawyer is providing to him in his case. Further, I was told that this lawyer advertises himself to be a motorcycle accident “specialist.” He also told me that this guy seemed to have no clue about riding motorcycles. He felt like he was getting the runaround.
You have probably heard the term Caveat Emptor which is a Latin term meaning “let the buyer beware.” Caveat Emptor rings true when you are selecting a lawyer to handle your motorcycle accident case.
California State Bar Rules of Professional Conduct 1-400(D)(6) states that: No attorney may state that a member is a “certified specialist” unless the member holds a current certificate as a specialist issued by the Board of Legal Specialization, or any other entity accredited by the State Bar to designate specialists pursuant to standards adopted by the Board of Governors, and states the complete name of the entity which granted certification.
Currently the State Bar does not certify Personal Injury or Motorcycle Accident’s as a specialty.
What this means in plain language is that beware of any lawyer that is running around holding him or herself out to be a “certified personal injury or motorcycle accident specialist,” because it is flat out unethical for them to do so, and is a blatant violation of the California Rules of Professional Conduct. You can always check with the State Bar to see if a lawyer is a “certified specialist.”
I know by writing this article that I am not going to gain any brownie points amongst my fellow personal injury lawyers; however I feel that the public has a right to know about this issue, especially bikers and motorcyclist who are being duped into thinking that they have a certified motorcycle accident specialist representing them. There is no such thing in California at least at this time.
I have recently observed websites wherein lawyers are saying that they specialize in personal injury or motorcycle accident cases. I have even seen websites wherein lawyers advertise “guaranteed results.” No lawyer can ethically guarantee the outcome of any matter. It would be like trying to predict the lottery numbers. Unless a lawyer is clairvoyant they cannot tell you what a jury may or may not do in any particular case.
I personally handle motorcycle personal injury cases, and I also ride motorcycles. My current motorcycle is a Harley Davidson Electra Glide.
I am sure there are many competent lawyers out there who can competently handle a motorcycle injury case, and that do not have first hand experience riding motorcycles. There are also many competent personal injury lawyers who play by the rules and who are ethical. Watch out for the ones who hold themselves out to be specialist or who make guarantees.
You can always call the State Bar to check out whether an attorney is a licensed and active lawyer in the State of California, whether they have a record of discipline in the past, and whether they are a certified specialist.
So why would you want to pick a certain lawyer to handle your motorcycle injury case?
Many of my clients come to me because they know I actually care about my clients. Furthermore they know that I ride motorcycles just like they do, so I can relate to them from my first hand experience of being a biker myself. My clients know that I will come visit them in the hospital when I can, and they know that they can reach me after hours and on the weekends when necessary. They also know that I will call them back in a timely manner, I will listen to their concerns, and that I will not treat them like dirt because they are bikers.
There seems to be a prejudice in the general community against bikers and motorcyclist. Some people seem to have the attitude that people who ride motorcycles know it is dangerous so they should not complain if they are injured in an accident. This bias needs to be addressed at trial if the motorcycle accident case goes to trial.
Bikers and Motorcyclists have the same rights to share the road as do people in cars. I feel that it is my firsthand experience of actually being a biker that gives me an advantage in handling these types of cases.
The choice is yours. Do you go with a lawyer because of his fancy ads, or do you go with a lawyer because you can communicate with him? Do you go with a lawyer because he says that he is a so-called motorcycle accident specialist, or do you go with a lawyer because he also rides like you, and can competently handle your case? Do you go with a lawyer who has paralegals handling your case, or with a lawyer that personally handles your case?
By >Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. , Copyright 2006