As a personal injury lawyer since 1995 my law firm and I have assisted thousands of claimants in search of a legal advocate after an injury. One of the most common questions: Do I need a lawyer?
Why? Answer: To obtain better compensation without dealing directly with ICBC is often the reason a claimant hires a lawyer. To decide whether to hire a lawyer after a car accident injury consider:
- Is the claimant unfamiliar with the compensation available or the claim requirements?
- Will the claimant likely receive more compensation even after the lawyer’s professional fee?
If the answer is yes to one or more of these questions, it is important at minimum to get a free consultation with a lawyer or have a friend or family member get the information. Lawyer fees are regulated by the Law Society and will go to a maximum of 331/3% for car accident cases.
* If the auto accident occurred after January 1, 2018 changes to ICBC accident injury benefits may result in a larger deduction from the compensation against the at fault driver.
When? Answer: Getting a lawyer in the first 48 hours avoids perils and does not cost more in percentage legal fees. Important deadlines and claims may have already been missed after 30 to 90 days but delaying may only aggravate the situation. I suggest hiring a lawyer within the first 12 months as it can make the claimant’s life a lot easier and result in a better overall result. Cases, of course, will vary so the sooner the better.
Where? Answer: Litigation costs can be reduced if the law office is close to a courthouse and court registry. Availability of resources for the lawyer such as a law library, court reporters, experts and other colleagues are also factors. Most personal injury lawyers in the Province are based in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
Hiring a lawyer with an office close to the claimant’s home is unnecessary and many lawyers will agree to a home visit no matter where the law office is located. The lawyers location will be more important in the case at times than where the claimant lives.
How? Answer: By written agreement with the lawyer who will cover the costs of prosecuting the case until the end. Most law firms will already have a written agreement. The agreement is required to include the following wording:
Under the Rules of the Law Society of British Columbia, without court approval, a lawyer may charge a maximum of 33 1/3% of the total amount recovered in a claim for personal injury or wrongful death arising out of the use of a motor vehicle…
Who? Answer: A practising member of the Law Society of BC with a combination of personal injury experience and a personality right for the case. I have written extensively on the topic of finding the best lawyer for your injury claim so take some time to get familiar with the issues and find a legal advocate right for the injury claim.