1. Higher Awards
When injured by someone else, you have the right under the law to be compensated in a manner that can place you in a similar position before the accident. The insurance company will offer to settle your claim quickly, even before the full extent of your injury is known and generally before you have fully recovered. If you accept their minimal offer, you sign off your rights for fair compensation. So if for example, it turns out that your injury is much worse than originally thought, you cannot receive more compensation.
Statistics show that awards negotiated through a lawyer can be up to ten times higher than what an insurance company will offer.
2. Focus on recovery
Injuries are stressful, not only to your health but financially and mentally as well. Apart from coordinating your own health care treatment, you must deal with the insurance company as well as negotiating and funding time off work.
Insurance companies like ICBC defend cases from the first time you speak to them. Anything you say can be and will be used against you to minimize the compensation you are entitled to. Once you retain a lawyer, ICBC must contact your lawyer (and not you) whenever they require information or clarification of any aspect of your claim. This means that you do not have to deal with insurance adjusters and can instead concentrate on your recovery.
3. Medical funding
Westpoint Law Group has the resources to fund specialist appointments as well as medical tests such as an MRI much faster than through the public health system. This may mean the difference between waiting a few days as opposed to weeks or months to get a medical treatment. Expediting your medical appointments may lead to faster diagnosis and treatment of your injuries.
Insurance companies like ICBC generally send claimants to their own private medical experts who are paid by the insurance company, and who may derive a large portion of their income from that company. Insurers like ICBC will generally ask these experts to write medical opinions on your health that may be used against you to negate or minimize your claims.
4. Evidence and Witnesses
It is very important to track down witnesses as soon as possible after an accident. All other evidence such as police reports, photographs, and expert accident reconstruction reports as well as expert medical reports must be gathered as well.
These pieces of evidence are key to any successful claim for compensation. While these are important and necessary, some reports, like expert reports, are usually very expensive to obtain. Westpoint Law Group has the resources to retain appropriate experts and fund their costs instead of you. Any such reasonable costs are usually paid for by the insurance company once the case is settled in or out of court and will not diminish your award. It is generally difficult for plaintiffs to fund these experts before they receive the compensation they are entitled to.
5. No cost
Personal injury lawyers tend to charge a percentage of any settlement or judgment award instead of asking clients to pay an hourly fee.
This means that if the lawyer does not recover anything, you do not have to pay for his or her fee for services.
Under the Law Society of B.C. rules, the maximum a lawyer can charge is 33 1/3% of the amount recovered in a motor vehicle action or 40% of the amount recovered in any other personal injury claim.
Some Myths About Retaining A Lawyer
1. Retaining a lawyer will make it more difficult to settle my case.
This is not true. A lawyer knows the appropriate information ICBC or other insurance company requires to settle your case and presents this information in a way most beneficial to you.
2. A lawyer’s fee will decrease my award to the point where I may receive more by settling the case myself.
The opposite is true. A lawyer can significantly increase the amount of compensation you receive. A lawyer generally maximizes your award to the point where even after the legal fees have been deducted; you still receive a significantly higher amount than negotiating on your own.
3. Retaining a lawyer will negatively impact the way that the ICBC adjuster handles my case.
This is not true. You are entitled to the same amount of compensation regardless of whether or not you have a lawyer. Retaining a lawyer generally means that the proper evidence is collected and presented in the way most advantageous to your claim. Having a lawyer simply ensures that you are fully aware of your rights.
4. I must go to trial if I retain a lawyer.
This is not true. Approximately 95 % of ICBC cases where the claimant has a lawyer settle without going to trial.