Here are a few points I'd like Bicyclists to consider when hiring a lawyer.
I can assure you my fees are reasonable and customary in the legal profession. When hired, I work on a contingency basis - which means no recovery - no fees paid by the client. This means I work for free, if we lose. I also advance investigation and litigation costs in most cases, which are reimbursed at the conclusion of the case. However, if a client can afford to contribute case costs, I encourage it.
As many of you know, attorneys' fees are negotiable by law. There are "discount" lawyers, or big firm lawyers in it only for the dollar, or lawyers who have very little jury trial experience. However, I would urge you to examine the difference. I am a trained trial lawyer by profession and am proud to represent the injured and some times the accused against the mighty power of the insurance industry and government. America's finest trial lawyer trained me: Mr. Gerry Spence, of Wyoming.
This means I will try your case in front of a jury. I have tried over 55 jury trials to verdict. I like court, and won't sell you out to make more money or because of laziness, or fear of court. I use focus groups for mock trials conducted in my office, to help my clients' fine tune their presentation before going to court. When forced to a jury trial by low ball insurance settlement offers, I have obtained jury verdicts far in excess of the low ball insurance offers. My web site contains jury verdicts and justice obtained for bicyclists.
Many insurance adjusters and their defense attorneys know my trial record. Hence, my clients' settlements usually reflect this. They don't intimidate me.
By contrast, if a bicyclist hires an attorney who has little or no jury trial experience, they are no threat to the insurance industry because they have not demonstrated they can win big in trial. Hence, the insurance companies settlement offers reflect this.
Moreover, since 1983, I have always represented the bicyclists against the powerful insurance industry. By contrast there are bicycle injury lawyers who used to do the dirty work for their insurance masters, at the expense of the injured bicyclists - the people. Many of these lawyers have "converted" to representing bicyclists because it's more profitable. Look at the lawyer's background and ask if they have represented insurance corporations in any way. You should know I help bicyclists' recover even if it's not profitable. In fact, I donate many free hours a year counseling bicyclists who have small cases or want to negotiate on their own. No case is too small.
I should mention I am selective in the cases I take. If I sense the prospective client has a history of litigiousness, or is driven by a motive of secondary gain (as opposed to recovery of health and justice), I won't take the case. This preserves the reputation of bicyclists, and society benefits as a whole.
I love bicycling and bicyclists. To that end, I publish Free articles on my website and blog, designed to assist cyclists. I would encourage you to read them, particularly the one that discusses how to obtain adequate insurance coverage in case you're hit. All too often defendants and cyclists are under insured. A portion of my attorney fee is donated back to the bicycling community and the Challenged Athlete Foundation. The member also receives a $500.00 reduction off my attorney fees as well.
I have represented many age group and pro triathletes and cyclists, so I know how an injury will affect your lifestyle. This allows me to argue for the maximum recovery for you. Also, racing triathlons give me perspective of my clients who are recovering from crashes. Recently I road along side a female TCSD member and triathlete who was recovering from surgery. I happened to catch up to her wave while on the bike, and I slowed to observe her. Then I rode with her for a while offering her words of encouragement until she order me to get back into the race. She is a TCSD member.
In closing, one of my proudest recent cases was recovering a handsome settlement for a bike commuter. He was uninsured, but I secured medical treatment and surgery on a lien. This means I was able to obtain advance financing for his needed surgery, as he was uninsured. I shopped many surgeons to find the right one for him. In the end, this fixed his shoulder and documented his loss. This increased his case value because we proved his loss, whereas he would have received far less without the above medical care.
Knowledge of lien law is also critical in order to preserve your recovery, as health care insurance companies try to snatch your hard eared recovery by claiming "subrogation" rights under their contracts of insurance. In the above uninsured case I was able to reduce a hospital lien claim by 55%, there by increasing the client's net recovery.
Thank your for allowing to explain my fees and for considering my office. I hope the above information is factored into who you hire. I've been loyal to bicyclist rights and the Triathlon Club of San Diego for over 20 years and I'm proud of that record!
Ride safe - Ride strong!©