You have the option of hiring a lawyer to handle your ICBC claim. In some cases it may be reasonable to deal with ICBC without legal representation (typically, very minor injury claims where liability is not in dispute). However, in all other cases, you will be best served by hiring a lawyer to protect and promote your interests. Remember, ICBC has a mandate, which is to settle claims quickly and cheaply. This is contrary to your best interest. If you are unrepresented, ICBC understands you will not know the value of your claim and will not have the expertise or resources to build your claim. This puts you at a distinct disadvantage. An experienced injury lawyer will give you the advantage.
A qualified personal injury lawyer offers many benefits. These include (but are not limited to):
- Investigating and obtaining evidence to dispute liability if ICBC says you are at fault. This includes hiring investigators, interviewing witnesses and the police, and retaining engineers and accident reconstruction experts.
- Identifying medical issues and obtaining medical opinions to address these issues. A common example is a dispute over whether an injury or medical condition is due to the accident or some other cause.
- Retaining highly qualified experts to provide opinions on various aspects of your claim, including your injuries, loss of earnings and capacity to earn income, vocational alternatives, and future costs of care. Expert evidence is essential to bolster your claim, get benefits to which you are entitled, and challenge the ICBC doctors.
- Having the resources to finance and build your claim, principally the costs of obtaining medical expert opinions, clinical and employment records, court filing fees, and other incidental costs.
- Handling all aspects of the litigation, as necessary, including preparing and filing the notice of civil claim, obtaining and disclosing documents, preparing and attending examinations for discovery, preparing the case for settlement negotiations, including mediation, and preparing for and attending trial, if necessary. It is imperative that you have a lawyer guide you through the litigation process.
- Ensuring that you do not miss any limitation periods which could extinguish your ICBC claim.
- Having the leverage to negotiate a better settlement, as ICBC knows that if they do not negotiate fairly, the lawyer will take your case to trial.
- Assisting you through the process of obtaining ICBC no-fault benefits (medical rehabilitation, disability benefits, etc.) or non-ICBC benefits, at no extra charge.
- Saving you from the hassle and expense of having to gather records in the possession of others, such as hospital, doctor and therapist records, employment and school records or any other required documents.
- Handling all communications with ICBC, so you can focus on getting better and not worry about dealing with ICBC or legal paperwork.
- Giving you peace of mind knowing that a lawyer is looking out for your interests.
We are confident in saying that in almost all cases, you will get a far better settlement or judgment award if the case is handled by a competent injury lawyer, even after fees are taken into account.