Choosing the right car accident lawyer in Victoria BC is the first and most important step you can take to protect your interests after being injured in a collision in BC’s capital.
While there are certainly many personal injury lawyers in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island who advertise their car accident claim services, choosing a lawyer is a personal decision, and choosing the right lawyer for you case depends on the unique circumstances surrounding your accident. Below are 6 key questions to ask a car accident lawyer in Victoria BC before you choose to avail yourself of their counsel and representation:
1. How experienced are you with ICBC claims?
Many personal injury lawyers in Victoria BC deal with various types of personal injury cases not involving car accidents, including slip and falls, medical malpractice, dog bites etc. Negotiating a settlement for an ICBC claim or taking ICBC to trial requires a high degree of experience. For this reason, it is important to find out how many years a Victoria personal injury lawyer has spent handling ICBC claims and whether or not their practice is entirely dedicated to this area of law.
When considering experience, it is best to not just evaluate one lawyer but instead take into account the experience of their entire firm, as the best lawyers leverage the experience of their partners.
2. Do you have experience with major claims?
A car accident lawyer Victoria residents have entrusted with major claims is likely to have a higher degree of experience and expertise than one who has not.
Types of major claims:
Traumatic brain injury
Spinal cord injury
3. Do I still pay you if you don’t collect?
Many of the best car accident lawyers Victoria has to offer will represent you on a “no win – no fee” basis. This means that they will agree to only collect their fee, which can usually be no more than 1/3 of damages recovered, if you collect compensation. A lawyer whose fee is contingent on their performance has a greater motive to carefully and diligently negotiate with ICBC on your behalf.
Also consider that many top ICBC lawyers in Victoria and Vancouver will agree to not charge you for disbursements, which are expenses incurred in the process of bringing your claim if they are unable to collect on that claim.
4. Are there any hidden fees?
While some of the larger Victoria law firms that handle ICBC cases may agree to advance the costs they incur in the process of bringing your claim, many will also charge you interest on these expenses.
As a general rule, make sure a Victoria car accident lawyer provides a clear written description of all costs involved with hiring them before you do.
5. Do I pay you more if my claim goes to court?
Some ICBC lawyers in Victoria use an escalating fee structure, so that they are paid a higher percentage of damages recovered if your case goes to court. It stands to reason that this type of fee structure diminishes a lawyers incentive to negotiate a fair settlement.
6. Have you ever worked for ICBC?
ICBC routinely hires individual law firms on a contract basis. If a lawyer has worked for ICBC, besides having a conflict of interest they may not be able to take ICBC to court if they unfairly deny your claim.