The following information is not to be considered legal advice and is for general information purposes only. Every situation is different and you should contact us to discuss your particular circumstances so we can properly advise you.
You can pursue a personal injury claim against ICBC without a lawyer. There is an advantage and several disadvantages to doing so. The advantage is that you will not have to pay a portion of your settlement to a lawyer.
The disadvantages are that you have no assurance that the settlement offered to you is fair and reasonable, you will not have professional assistance to ensure all legal deadlines are met, and you may not have the resources to pay for experts to present evidence on your behalf.
Generally, injured persons receive more compensation when represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer. If we feel that you can do better on your own, we will tell you so.
Lawyers will handle most ICBC cases on a "contingency fee" basis. This means that the fee is only payable if you are compensated by ICBC. If you are not compensated, there will be no fee payable.
The fee is a percentage of your settlement. The percentage that law firms charge differs, but it is important to know that the maximum any lawyer can charge you on an ICBC case is 33 1/3%. Please call us to discuss the percentage fee structure that is offered to our clients.
Gantzert Law Office will pay for all legal expenses (also called "disbursements") up front on your behalf. Those expenses include court filing fees, medical records, expert witness fees, etc. Some of these can be quite costly. At the end of your case, the vast majority of these expenses are recoverable from ICBC. The unrecoverable portion will be paid out of your settlement. You will not be asked to pay in advance for any disbursements.
Every person who signs a contingency fee agreement has the right to have the agreement reviewed by the B.C. Courts up to 90 days after their case is settled. This ensures that you, the client, are always protected.
The value of your claim depends on a number of factors including the type of injury, the severity of the injury, the length of your recovery, the amount of your income loss, your future employment prospects and future medical needs.
Because most of these factors will not be fully known at the beginning of your claim, it is not reasonable to arbitrarily assess the value of your case too early. The value of your claim can only be maximized by full and careful gathering of evidence to support the extent of your injuries, and using historical court precedents to determine the amount of fair compensation.
You should be concerned if someone tells you they are able to value your claim early.
The first meeting is free and carries no obligation to hire us. Your personal circumstances and accident details will be reviewed and you will be given advice as to your options. The decision to hire us is completely yours.
Feel free to bring along anyone you like. The only exception to this is that you should not bring along any person who might be legally responsible for the accident in whole or in part. If there are any doubts, please call to discuss.
(Your children are more than welcome to come along so that you don't need to get a babysitter.)