Thursday, May 22, 2014

ICBC Tip of the Month (May 2014): Do I need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

"Do I need a Personal Injury Lawyer for my ICBC case?" 
Sometimes the word "lawyer" scares people.  There is a feeling or perception that lawyers are expensive or aggressive or intimidating.  In ICBC injury claims, lawyers are becoming an important part of the investigation, medical-legal evidence, negotiation, settlement, and/or court process. You need to make sure you go through the exercise of finding the right lawyer for you, and use the no-fee free initial consultation to do that.
Let's get into the nitty-gritty. ICBC has a mandate or objective to reduce exposures and pay out injury claims at the least amount possible.  If ICBC was prepared to offer full value based on precedent case law to unrepresented people,  then there would be no need for personal injury lawyers. That typically won't happen and a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer almost always gets you more money at the end of the claim than trying to handle the claim without a lawyer.
Sometimes, hiring a personal injury lawyer is important at the outset. These situations could include:
  1. Inability to work or earn income due to accident related injuries;
  2. Hospitalization due to injuries;
  3. Death in a car accident;
  4. Fault or liability for the accident is at issue (see tip);
  5. Hit and Run claims require certain obligations (see tip);
  6. Low Velocity Impact Claims or ICBC says that the material damage estimates are too low to recognize an injury (see tip); OR
  7. Resulting permanent injuries that will impact your future income earning or the need for future care and treatments (see tip).
In most cases, lawyers need to carry out early investigation before evidence is lost and most importantly he will need to obtain a series of expert reports to ensure a proper diagnosis and prognosis legally connected to the claim. Early and regular advice from the lawyer will hopefully ensure that the claim is properly documented and the collection of those records is protected.
Although a personal injury lawyer will likely provide a legal bill based on a contingency fee agreement (percentage of recovery), in the majority of cases, the lawyer will  obtain an offer from ICBC well in excess of what you can do on your own. In other words, in most cases you are likely to yield a higher net recovery with a lawyer, after you pay the legal fees. ICBC can also be demanding in terms of your time via telephone and email - hiring a personal injury lawyer will make that process less stressful.
It should also be noted that there are personal injury claims for which it may not be beneficial to hire a lawyer. For example, if you have suffered a soft tissue injury which is short in duration (weeks or months), you may be able to convince the ICBC adjuster to provide a reasonable settlement proposal to you and then you can settle the case for a reasonable dollar. It may be worthwhile to review that offer with a personal injury lawyer on a no-fee initial consultation.

Do you have questions about your ICBC personal injury claim or accident?  If so, click here arrange your free consultation with  ICBC Claims Lawyer Perminder S. Tung (Services provided for ICBC injury claims throughout all of BC: Vancouver, Surrey, Langley, Burnaby, Richmond, Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Tri-city area and all over BC)

No comments:

Post a Comment