Settling Your ICBC Injury Claim Without a Lawyer

October 29, 2014- Not all injury claimants need an injury lawyer in order to settle their injury claim.  If your ICBC adjuster has been cooperative in funding recommended treatment and you fully recover in 4 to 6 weeks there is usually no need to hire a personal injury lawyer.

However, be careful that “full recovery” is not just temporarily  being symptom free because there maybe an underlying medical condition that may get worse over time.  Always ensure your doctor does a thorough examination of you, and orders any tests, before agreeing to settle your case with ICBC.

If it is obvious that your injury will last more than a couple months you should talk to a personal injury lawyer immediately.  Most lawyers will agree to talk with you for free before taking your case.

If you have signed a release to settle your case when you did not have a lawyer and now your condition is much worse you may be able to have the court over turn the settlement.

In the ICBC injury claim case of  Lidder v. Munro , the claimant, a thirty-five-year-old labourer suffered neck, wrist and knee injuries in a car accident  and was unable to return to work. Six weeks after accident claimant was discharged from an ICBC recovery program as “fully recovered”. Two months later claimant’s doctor completed a disability certificate indicating sufficient recovery to return to light work duties. However, the  physiotherapist and chiropractor reported worsening symptoms and the ICBC adjuster did not follow up to obtain updated medical reports.   At a meeting the ICBC adjuster discouraged injury claimant from getting a lawyer.  The claimant then foolishly settled for $6,500.00 and  signed release without a lawyer.

In the  following months the claimant’s condition worsened and he was unable to return to full time light work for sometime.   The court  ordered the settlement set aside and said the  settlement was outrageous because of the  unequal bargaining position between ICBC and the claimant. The court also found the settlement to be simply unfair. The injury claimant’s language barrier, lack of sophistication, and absence of supporting friend at signing of release underscored unequal bargaining position between ICBC and the claimant.  The ICBC Adjuster’s advice discouraging legal assistance came close to interfering with claimant’s access to justice.

The Judge  ordered that the release be set aside and the claimant  return the $6,500 to ICBC.

I think, even though the claimant did get out of the settlement in the end,  if he had hired a competent lawyer none of this would have happened.

Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness

Issue: Should ICBC adjusters be punished by the court for discouraging legal assistance for injury claimants?

12 Responses to Settling Your ICBC Injury Claim Without a Lawyer

  1. Pingback: Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer- Call a Car Accident Lawyer Before ICBC Dial-a-Claim « Holness Law Group Blog

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  3. pudzzy says:

    am settling with ICBC for whip lash without a lawyer. I took into account how much the lawyer would take. Then had an amount in mind . I checked whip lash cases & found around 20 To 25 thousand is the settlement of most cases. Of course ICBC offered me a silly amount of 3 thousand at first. I laughed ..After 5 offers we have agreed on 15 thousand What does anyone think of this. ANd be warned never take the first offer .Tell them you will get a lawyer I did talk to my hubby’s lawyer who said that amount seems right to him ..My hubby has been waiting over 3 years for his lawyer on his icbc case to be settled ..IM not waiting that long .My accident was last Jan when we where rear ended in the blowing snow

  4. Renn Holness says:

    If settling an ICBC whiplash claim quickly is a priority you will usually have to compromise the settlement amount. Check-out,for example, this very recent ICBC case example http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/jdb-txt/SC/13/01/2013BCSC0144.htm – almost no damage to the vehicles and the claimant was awarded $35,000 for pain and suffering. That claimant will also be entitled to $11,500 toward their legal fee and their case expenses paid for. So that claimant, with a lawyer, would end up with much more in their pocket than you. That accident however occurred 2.5 years before the award and their injury may well be more severe than yours. So it really depends on whether you are in a rush to settle or want what your case is really worth.

  5. pudzzy says:

    I’m retired .This women was working /I read the recent settlement above. I do not work ,have no more head aches & finished my therapy . They paid me for all my therapy & gas.

    The lawyer takes 33% which would make it around $25thousandif I took this ladys settlement .
    She waited 3 years & had to go to court. I spoke to a lawyer who said that they thought 15 thousand was ok if I didn’t want to wait . Most people get around 25 thousand before lawyers fee.
    Our car was completely destroyed in the back end & we got money for a new car .
    At my age 70 I’m not waiting 3 years for money I can use now ..I know its maybe a mistake but my hubby has been waiting 3 years for an early accident.. Still nothing from ICBC . They keep moving his file to other offices & the lawyer has to keep tracking it down .

    NO thanks. Ill take my money now ,Invest it & enjoy it now ..If my hubby ever gets his then we will be ok .Money is tight right now .Our daughter passed away last year & I have a sick dog .Lots of expenses .Thanks for feed back though

  6. pudzzy says:

    ps where did you get the amount 11,500 toward their legal fee and their case expenses paid for ..Legal fees usually come off your settlement dont they ? my payments for gas etc where already paid but it was only $300. Does this mean she gets $35,000 plus 11,000 Then take lawyer fees off that .

  7. Renn Holness says:

    If the personal injury case is under fast track then Unless the court otherwise orders a claimant is entitled following toward legal fees:
    (a) if the time spent on the hearing of the trial is one day or less, $8 000;
    (b) if the time spent on the hearing of the trial is 2 days or less but more than one day, $9 500;
    (c) if the time spent on the hearing of the trial is more than 2 days, $11 000.

    The great thing is that the personal injury lawyer is not permitted to take a legal fee on an award for costs so the lawyer could only take a fee on the $35,000 and the $11,000 will go to the client to help reduce the effect the of the legal fee.

  8. Renn Holness says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it is refreshing to hear that your car accident settlement with ICBC went well without the need for a lawyer.

  9. Pingback: How Much Should I pay for My Personal Injury Lawyer in British Columbia | Holness Law Group

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