As a lawyer I represent personal injury claimants in British Columbia and have come to appreciate how important it is to advocate for injury claimants independent of government and ICBC, which was created by government in 1972. Imagine a world where a government run insurance company could control what your lawyer was allowed to do and say. Perhaps even a system where your injury lawyer would be assigned, controlled and paid by a government office.
Luckily in British Columbia injury claimants are usually able to hire a car accident lawyer with no money up front. Lawyers can advocate solely for the injury claimant, not ICBC or the government. In this type of arrangement the lawyer is paid a percentage of the settlement or court award.
Lawyers in BC are regulated with respect to the legal fees charged and as stated by our Law Society Rules,
” Subject to the court’s approval of higher remuneration under section 66(7) of the Act, the maximum remuneration to which a lawyer is entitled under a contingent fee agreement for representing a client up to and including all matters pertaining to the trial of an action, when acting for a plaintiff in
(a) a claim for personal injury or wrongful death arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle, is 33 1/3% of the amount recovered, and
(b) any other claim for personal injury or wrongful death, is 40% of the amount recovered.
(2) Despite subrule (1), a contingent fee agreement may provide that the lawyer may elect to forego any remuneration based on a proportion of the amount recovered and receive instead an amount equal to any costs awarded to the client by order of a court.
(3) This Rule does not prevent a lawyer and client from making a separate agreement for payment beyond the amount specified in subrule (1) to compensate the lawyer for representing the client in an appeal from a trial judgment pronounced in the proceeding for which the lawyer was retained.”
In many complex personal injury cases it is fundamental to have your own legal advocate because ICBC and other third party liability insurance companies have their own client’s interests at stake. I have posted before about how personal injury lawyers are paid in British Columbia and would like to end off with my own three tips to finding your “top car accident lawyer”.
I would like to believe that “Top car accident lawyers” is an ideal in British Columbia defined as lawyers independent of government influences able to look out for your best interest. This term is not a designation that requires accreditation in BC. Here are my tips if you are injured in a car accident looking for a lawyer:
1. Find a personal injury lawyer that does not represent ICBC if you have a bad faith claim against ICBC;
2. Remember legal costs are regulated and cannot be denied by ICBC if an injury claimant is awarded costs by the Supreme Court of British Columbia; and
3. Do not be afraid to ask the potential personal injury lawyer about their experience prosecuting personal injury cases.
Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness