On Most Injury Claims We Will Act For You on a Contingency Fee Basis.
As explained on our How ICBC Works page, your ICBC adjuster will have two settlement amounts for your file. A smaller amount for if you settle without a lawyer, and a higher amount for if you hire a lawyer. The adjuster knows that if you hire a lawyer who understands what your claim is really worth, and who will make sure that your claim is fully explored, that ICBC will typically have to pay more. ICBC may try to discourage you from hiring a lawyer. Indeed, one of the former ICBC adjusters the MacIsaac Group has hired to help us to maximize your ICBC claim made posters for ICBC specifically designed to discourage injured people from hiring lawyers. ICBC did this to try and save money – money that would be going to you.
Mr. Buckley has had the troubling experience where people with very serious injuries have called because ICBC has offered them a settlement amount. The injury claims appeared to Mr. Buckley to warrant settlements of well over $100,000 and yet ICBC was offering $5,000 to $10,000. In some of these cases the persons took the settlement because they felt pressured to do so and because they had no understanding that by trying to “save” on legal fees, they were in fact losing large amounts.
In addition to settlements being too low, another problem with settling quickly for a small amount is that you may not know for sure that your injuries will resolve. In some cases what appear to be minor injuries end up persisting for years or for a life-time. In these cases the apparently minor injuries can lead to significant wage-loss and suffering which simply would not be compensated for in an early ICBC settlement. We recommend that you never settle a personal injury claim without first getting legal advice.
Putting off hiring a lawyer can hurt your claim
Working on a contingency fee basis means we will not get paid unless we are successful in pursuing your claim. That means we will not get paid unless we are successful in pursuing your claim. Most personal injury lawyers also work on a contingency fee basis. What distinguishes the MacIsaac Group from a lot of the other firms is that we pay all of the disbursements (expenses) incidental to pursuing your claim. On many files this can run into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Because your fee is the same regardless of whether you hire us right away or wait, there is no advantage to waiting but there are several disadvantages to putting off the hiring of a lawyer. These include:
- You could miss a limitation period that would prevent you from pursuing your injury claim. Some limitation periods are very short. For example, claims against municipalities, such as slipping on city property, require notice within 2 months of the injury;
- You might give a statement that should not have been given and which unfairly limits your claim. This will not happen when following the advice of your injury lawyer;
- If liability is an issue, a proper investigation can be done while the accident scene is fresh and while witnesses are available and able to give accurate statements;
- You will not have access to the doctors and specialists your injury lawyer can arrange for you to see to both resolve your injuries and to properly assess them;
- You may miss out on insurance benefits you are entitled to because you are not told of them and/or have no assistance in obtaining them;
- You may settle before your injuries are resolved and for a fraction of what your claim is worth.