It been over 20 years since I began the practice of Personal Injury Law in Vancouver and hiring an injury lawyer has diversified in that time. The decline of the Yellow pages and raise in the search engine has spawned new hierarchies for reliable information.
Hiring a good personal injury lawyer for your ICBC claim will still provide the expertise to obtain the best results but finding that special lawyer to advocate your best interests has become more confusing. Here therefore is a short and simple guide to finding the right lawyer for your case:
- Check that the lawyer is in good standing and is a practicing member of the Law Society of BC. Be aware there is no Province wide accreditation for ICBC personal injury lawyers in British Columbia. A lawyer’s years of experience dealing with ICBC is therefore one critical factor to experience level. Ask the lawyer how many years experience he/she has practicing personal injury law and prosecuting ICBC claims.
- Get a free consultation. Most lawyers representing ICBC claimants will agree to a free consultation on the phone, in person or both. Take advantage of this process to shortlist the lawyers you feel most comfortable with. Make sure you understand the lawyer’s explanations and his or her use of language. Try to learn about the difference between a tort claim and an ICBC claim before hiring the lawyer.
- If English is your second language you do not have to have a lawyer that speaks your language. Unless impracticable, every document prepared for use in the Supreme Court must be in the English language. It is therefore more important that you have a lawyer that is fully articulate in English.
- Talk about legal fees. Lawyers fees are regulated by the Law Society and the Court so you are not going to find a lot of difference when it comes to percentage fees among all the lawyers. Percentage legal fees can reasonably be 1/3 of what is recovered without court approval. Lawyers are free to charge a lower percentage which they feel reflects the value of their work and experience.
- You have to like your lawyer. You and your lawyer must build a relationship of trust and confidence so it is critical that you get along with the lawyer. If you feel your lawyer is hard to talk to or even mean spirited then it will be hard to trust the advice when it is time to either settle or go to court. Try to find a lawyer you enjoy talking with.
The best lawyer for your ICBC case is therefore the one that has the experience in ICBC personal injury law; will provide an initial legal consult; is articulate in English; has explained legal fees; and is someone you get along with. This is of course not an exhaustive list and I have posted extensively on this topic. Please read my other articles to learn more about hiring the right injury lawyer for your case.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.- Serving ICBC injury claimants since 1995.