© Copyright 2021 by Tim Louis & Company Barristers & Solicitors
A lawyer is not needed when making an injury compensation claim, but it is highly recommended that you have one. When you hire a lawyer it doesn’t mean you are ready to go to court it just says you want to seek legal advice from someone rational who is not emotionally involved in the claim.
It is not necessary to hire a lawyer when dealing with the Insurance Corporation of British Colombia (ICBC), but if you do, then you must make very informed decisions. The ICBC will appoint an experienced adjuster, who works for them, to negotiate for the settlement of your claim at a reasonable amount from ICBS’s point of view. The adjustors continuously deal with injury claim so they will be tough negotiators.
A good lawyer will do the following for you:
If your lawyer and the designated adjustor can’t come to a proper settlement, then it’s up to your lawyers to take the case to court so that they can obtain a full and fair compensation on your behalf. Less than 1% of the ICBC claims proceed to court.
If you are unsure on whether you should enlist for the services of a lawyer then pay a visit to one of the many experienced BC personal injury lawyers and seek legal advice and also obtain knowledge on the matter. Most of the lawyers offer initial legal consultation free of charge or obligations. After the meeting, you will be in a better position to decide whether you need to hire a lawyer.
The cost of a lawyer is entirely dependent on the case in which they are handling. In a personal injury insurance claim, you have the right to hire a lawyer and pay on a contingency basis. A contingency fee agreement means that the lawyer you hire will accept a predetermined fixed percentage of the recovery or the money to be paid to the client, if you recover nothing from your claim then you shouldn’t spend your lawyer anything. Regularly, contingency fees in British Colombia range from 20 to 33 percent of the total recoverable amount. Lawyers hired on contingency basis receive their payments at the time when they collect your compensation cheque from the insurance firm not before.
Most of the time when you want to enlist for the services of a lawyer you have to visit him. During the first meeting the lawyer gets to familiarize himself with a case, and then you will move on to the sensitive fee issue, make sure you understand the fee contract before signing it. In some cases the lawyer’s services can be paid using a predetermined hourly rate, when using such a mode of payment the lawyer may ask you for a retainer, a retainer is an amount of money that acts as security and will be used to meet the lawyer’s upcoming expenses, the lawyer will thereafter send you interim accounts for immediate payment. The method of payment while hiring a lawyer is entirely up to you.
While still discussing the topic of remuneration you must get to understand who will be responsible for disbursements. Disbursements are the expenses that the lawyer will incur in the prosecution of the claim example of such fees are the cost of medical records, cost of hiring experts, court registry fees, and other similar expenses. The disbursements may quickly sum up to thousands of dollars.
If you are to pay the lawyer on a contingency fee basis, then all the expenses incurred in the prosecution of the claim are covered by financed by the firm. It’s important to understand who will be responsible for this cost is they can’t be recovered from the ICBC. At times lawyers will deduct the expenses from their final fee if they can’t be collected as part of their final settlement.
There are specific laws in place to govern the relationship between the lawyers and their clients. The rules of the law society of British Colombia states that in case a court awards a higher amount, the maximum amount a lawyer is entitled to for personal injury and wrongful death arising from the use or operation of a vehicle is 33.33%. Lawyers rarely charge this percentage except in exceptional circumstances like a highly complicated case or if several numbers of procedures need to be taken to bring the claim to an amicable solution.
Also, there is a 90 day cooling off period; the law states that within 90 days of hiring a lawyer you can appeal to the district registrar of the supreme court of British Colombia to have the agreement reviewed if the fee is found to be too high it shall be adjusted accordingly.
From the moment we stepped into your office we felt the start of a turn-around for us. My wife sent out many requests for help but you were the only one who was willing to get involved and came to our aid. Your name and reputation had great impact. Please do not ever change.
J.M. & S.M.