Do I need a lawyer to settle my ICBC claim?
If you have been injured in an accident you and ICBC have different interests. ICBC wants to settle your claim for as little money as possible in order to protect people who pay premiums. You want to be fairly compensated for both the pain and suffering you experience as a result of the accident and your economic losses. You owe it to yourself to get advice from a lawyer as to whether ICBC is treating your claim fairly, and if not, to help you present your claim for compensation.
How much is my claim worth?
The law says that people who are injured in an accident caused by another person’s carelessness are compensated for those injuries. The amount of compensation depends on the kinds of injuries you suffer, how long your injury takes to resolve and whether as a result of your injury you miss work or your future employment options are limited. You should have a lawyer advise you as to how much your claim is worth, because each case is different, and the law recognizes that fact.
How Long Does it take to Settle My Claim?
Two factors influence how long it takes your claim to settle. First you should make sure that your injuries have either healed or stabilized before you consider an offer. The second factor is the proximity of your trial date. Most claims settle before they go to Court. An approaching trial date usually forces ICBC to realistically consider its chances and to offer more money to settle your claim. In Vancouver trial dates are usually set within 12 -18 months after you formally start an action in Supreme Court. A lawyer can assist you in getting your case ready for trial, and see to it that you get a trial date as soon as your injuries have resolved.
What are Part 7 benefits?
Part 7 benefits are monies paid to you for medical expenses, such as physiotherapy and wage replacement regardless of whether or not you were at fault in the accident. In order to get Part 7 benefits ICBC insists that it get regular reports from your Doctor. ICBC reserves the right to cut off Part 7 benefits if they feel you are no longer entitled to those benefits. If ICBC cuts off your Part 7 benefits, and you think that you are still hurt and need treatment, you should see a lawyer.
How much does it cost?
In many cases lawyers will make contingency fee agreements where you do not pay any fees until you receive money from ICBC. The Rules of the Law Society in motor vehicle accident cases allow a maximum charge of 33% of the amount recovered. All contingency fee agreements must be in writing. You should always discuss fees with your lawyer, including how they will be charged and when they will be payable.