If you have been involved in a car accident in British Columbia, you can file a claim with ICBC (Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) to seek compensation for your losses. As you begin the process, you will quickly see that working with an experienced Vancouver car accident lawyer will make a major difference for you. A lawyer can assist you by explaining your rights to compensation, proving fault, establishing damages, negotiating a settlement amount and doing much more.
When you meet with a lawyer about your auto accident, you should feel free to ask questions such as:
Do you have experience in car accident law?
Not all lawyers focus on car accident and ICBC claims. If a lawyer lacks experience in this area of the law, the lawyer may lack a deep understanding of how the ICBC claims process works and the steps you can take in order to maximize the amount of your financial recovery. For this reason, you should work with a lawyer who has a long record of handling ICBC claims on behalf of clients.
How many cases like mine have you handled in the past?
Not only do you want to work with a lawyer who is experienced in car accident law, you also want to work with a lawyer who has handled cases similar to your own in the past. For example, does the other driver dispute fault in your case? Does the driver lack insurance? Are your injuries serious? If any of these are true, you want to work with a lawyer who has handled cases involving those types of issues.
Have you ever taken car accident cases to court?
Unfortunately, not all car accident claims end in an out-of-court settlement. Sometimes, claims must go to court. If your case must go to trial, your lawyer should have litigation experience. Ideally, the lawyer should have a long history of courtroom success.
What are my chances of success?
It is impossible to know exactly what the outcome of a case will be. With that said, an experienced lawyer can provide an educated opinion regarding what your chances of success are. Don’t be fooled into promises that you will recover millions of dollars: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Your lawyer should be frank with you, telling you what your chances of success are based on other cases similar to yours that the lawyer has handled in the past.
How do you charge?
Before you hire a lawyer to handle your car accident case, you need to find out how the lawyer plans to charge. Most car accident lawyers work on a contingency (percentage) fee basis, which means that they only get paid if your case is successful. This fee arrangement provides the lawyer with plenty of motivation to secure you the highest settlement amount possible.
Have you ever had any complaints or disciplinary actions filed against you?
Lawyers, like other professionals, can commit malpractice and ethics violations. When you search for a legal professional to represent you during your car accident claim, you certainly do not want to worry about whether the lawyer is ethical and competent. For this reason, you should be cautious about working with a lawyer who has faced a disciplinary action, received numerous complaints or has been the subject of a legal malpractice lawsuit.
Who will be working on my case?
Many law firms rely on a team of professionals, including lawyers, paralegals and legal secretaries. This team approach offers many benefits to clients. However, you want to make sure that the primary party who will work on your case is the lawyer that you meet at your consultation.
How will you approach my case?
Each lawyer is different. You can be sure that not all lawyers will approach the same case in the same manner. Before you decide to move forward with a lawyer, ask the lawyer to provide you with a brief summary of how he or she plans to approach your case. This discussion may cover topics such as the investigative phase of the accident, how the lawyer prefers to ask for a settlement, the lawyer’s opinion on accepting settlements versus going to trial and more.
What Is your background and education?
Whether a lawyer has a track record of success in car accident cases is one of the most important factors you should consider when you seek legal assistance with your ICBC claim. However, you may also want to learn more about where the lawyer received his or her education and training or what other professional experience the lawyer has to offer you. For example, a lawyer who worked exclusively in the insurance industry before practicing law may provide a very different perspective to you than a lawyer who did not.
What is your assessment of my case?
Finally, ask the lawyer to provide you with an assessment of your case. This assessment should cover details regarding how long the lawyer thinks your case will take to resolve, whether the lawyer thinks a trial is likely and how much the lawyer thinks you should be able to recover.
In addition to asking the lawyer the above questions, you should ask yourself a basic question: Can you picture yourself working with the lawyer? Your lawyer is someone you will intimately work with in the coming weeks and months. You should feel comfortable.
How to Talk to a Personal Injury Lawyer
Now that you know the top questions to ask a car accident lawyer, here is some information about how to get ready for your consultation and talk with a personal injury lawyer:
- Bring a printed list of your questions. Use it as your checklist or jot down notes about the lawyer’s answers. Do not leave your consultation until you feel as though the lawyer has fully answered your questions.
- Bring all documents and evidence related to your accident. This includes medical information, car accident report, photos and other relevant items. You should also bring contact information for any eyewitnesses.
- Be professional. Remember, this meeting could significantly affect your future. You should go to the meeting with a professional mindset and dressed in business or business-casual attire.
- Don’t be too intimidated. Question-and-answer sessions with a lawyer should be friendly and professional – not intimidating. Keep in mind that the lawyer’s job is to serve you and make sure you get the information that you need in order to make a smart decision as you move forward.
- Don’t be afraid to say no to working with the lawyer. The point of a free consultation is to provide you with information. If you decide at the end of the consultation that you do not want to work with the lawyer, the lawyer should respect your decision. A lawyer should provide a consultation that is completely free of obligations.
Schedule a Car Accident Consultation with Klein Lawyers Today
At Klein Lawyers, we know what you are going through after being involved in a car accident in Vancouver. Although ICBC should protect you and provide you with compensation when you suffer injuries in a crash, the ICBC claims process is rarely as straightforward as it would appear.
If you are involved in a collision and want to learn more about your legal rights and options, we urge you to contact our experienced British Columbia car accident lawyers today. A consultation with our law firm is completely free and carries no obligations. We can talk 24/7. We also offer our no-fee guarantee – if we don’t win, you don’t pay. Contact us online or by phone today to get started on your case.