by Peter Buxton, trial lawyer
There are many lawyers who will take on your personal injury claim, but do not be too quick to sign up.
Everyone has an Uncle Billy who had a lawyer do his Will or help him buy a house back in the day and apparently that same lawyer has also done an ICBC case. Be careful!
HOW DO I FIND THE RIGHT LAWYER?
Finding the right lawyer might be one of the most important things you do in bringing your claim. Ideally you want a lawyer with experience in personal injury claims and dealing with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia. Make sure the lawyer you consider has trial experience and is able to properly deal with the complexities of your case. There are some personal injury lawyers who will start your claim with ICBC and help you try to settle, but they are not prepared to take your claim to trial if need be. ICBC keeps track of which lawyers go to trial and what their success rate is and you should too. Hiring a trial lawyer does not mean that your case will go to court. That is your decision to make in consultation with your lawyer. However, having a successful trial lawyer on your side will tell ICBC that you are serious about your claim and that you are prepare to go to court if necessary to get a fair settlement.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I MEET THE LAWYER?
Most personal injury lawyers will not charge you for your initial consultation. You can speak with most lawyers for up to an hour to discuss your claim and make a decision about whether that lawyer is right for you. During this initial interview you should be speaking with a lawyer, not a paralegal or legal assistant. If a lawyer does not have the time to meet with you personally do you really want to trust them with your claim?
Make sure to ask the lawyer the following questions:
- Do they do litigation (civil trial work) and how long they have been practicing in the area of personal injury law;
- Do they go to court; and
- Will they be your lawyer throughout the whole claim or will your file be handed off to another lawyer once you sign up.
WHAT DO I BRING TO THE FIRST MEETING?
Make sure you bring all of your papers and documents relating to the accident and your injuries to the first meeting with your lawyer. This includes:
- Scraps of paper with information about the accident scene and witnesses;
- Pictures of the accident scene, damage to the vehicle and the injuries;
- Information, letters and and documents that you received from ICBC, including a copy of any written statements you may have given to ICBC (more later);
- Information, letters, prescriptions and medical records from your doctors;
- Information, letters and documents relating to your employment and time off work; and
- Receipts for any out of pocket expenses that you may have had as a result of the accident and your injuries.
This information will help your lawyer understand your case and begin to advise you regarding the next steps to be taken in making your claim and dealing wiht ICBC.
The lawyer will discuss the fee and review a Contingency Fee Agreement that you may sign to retain the lawyer.
If you have any questions about this post or relating to your motor vehicle accident or injuries contact me today for a free consultation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 604.372.4550 ext. 207.
Visit my website at https://panlegal.ca/peter-buxton-qc