If you are a British Columbia resident who incurred a personal injury motor vehicle accident, the best firm to hire is one that exclusively practices personal injury law in British Columbia. A personal injury lawyer will explain the deadlines and technical requirements that you must follow, help you understand the type of compensation available and assist in completing the necessary documents while you focus on your treatment and recovery.
A personal injury lawyer is the best advocate you can hire to represent you and level the playing field with ICBC, the crown corporation handling insurance in British Columbia, who also has legal professionals working for them. The expertise of a personal injury lawyer is critical in cases where the injuries will be long lasting, where there is dispute about who was at fault for the accident and where there are complicating factors (e.g., municipal liability and hit-and-run drivers).
Your personal injury lawyer can be your best source of medical, psychological and vocational assessment referrals, which can be highly important for your case. Your family physician may not know of specialists who deal with personal injury litigation, which can be problematic in obtaining reports essential for your case. Similarly, the professional opinions of medical or rehabilitation specialists hired by ICBC are not designed to work on your side; independent assessments of experts known and trusted by your lawyer are in your best interests.
What Are the Costs of Retaining a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Lawyers working in personal injury in Vancouver can typically charge up to 33% of the compensation the claimant receives. Our fees are based on a sliding scale of percentages which would be explained to you and documented in our fee agreement. The percentage charged will reflect what stage your case settles at. Firms like ours typically work on a contingency basis, whereby there are no legal fees to be paid if there is no recovery. The initial appointment which provides you with information about your rights, entitlements and potential for a lawsuit also costs you nothing; the consultation is free of charge. We do not require a retainer.
What Are the Costs of NOT Hiring a Plaintiff-Only Personal Injury Lawyer?
You may be acting against your interests if you go up against ICBC alone. There are important deadlines that apply and forms to be submitted within weeks of an accident which you may need assistance with. You also cannot expect to level the playing field against ICBC by simply conducting research about your rights and entitlements; ICBC has unmatched experience dealing with personal injury claims. As such, you should never settle a claim before all the injury symptoms have fully resolved and never allow yourself to be pressured into reaching a settlement prematurely; ICBC recognizes that your symptoms could still escalate and therefore may offer a slightly increased amount to settle early. An offer from ICBC is problematic if your symptoms are long-term and the compensation is too low. Once the claim is settled you cannot go back to recover more later. You should never settle a claim without obtaining independent legal advice. ICBC has no obligation to protect legally or inform you of your rights.
Without legal representation, it is highly challenging to obtain a fair personal injury claim settlement; claims adjusters have very little flexibility when offering settlement amounts and your final compensation could be substantially less than what a personal injury lawyer can attain for you after factoring in the cost of legal fees. The legal process available can help to ensure that ICBC does not make unilateral decisions about your personal injury claim. ICBC does not look out for your best interests and instead is mandated to represent the defendant who caused the injury. ICBC is also required to keep its costs under control as a crown corporation responsible to the public.
Hiring a lawyer with the relevant knowledge and experience to represent your personal injury claim is critical. ICBC maintains a record of the lawyers they have dealt with in the past and knows which lawyers tend to settle their cases early and which lawyers will pursue a matter to trial. Be sure to ask if the lawyer you are considering has trial experience in personal injury in Vancouver. At Bronson Jones & Company LLP, representing vehicle accident victims is all we do.
You may prefer to hire a plaintiffs-only personal injury lawyer. If you have been injured in any type of vehicle accident, or have any other questions, be sure to contact Bronson Jones & Company LLP for a free initial consultation at 1-855-852-5100 (toll free, 24 hours).