You were injured in a car accident and now ICBC has offered you money to settle your claim – should you take ICBC’s settlement offer or hire a personal injury lawyer? As Vancouver car accident lawyers who exclusively represent injured plaintiffs, we are asked that question on a regular basis. People want to know whether the amount ICBC offered is fair and they are often worried about what happens if they reject ICBC’s offer. Here is what you should consider when deciding whether to take ICBC’s offer or hire a personal injury lawyer.
1. You do not have to accept an offer from ICBC ICBC often tries to settle claims early in an attempt to minimize their financial losses. Car accident victims who are trying to cope with their injuries can be overwhelmed by the claims process and feel pressured to accept a settlement offer. You are not required to accept ICBC’s offer. In fact, it is best to wait until your injuries have resolved or the long-term effects of your injuries are known before considering settlement. 2. If you accept a settlement offer, your ICBC claim is closed If you do accept a settlement offer from ICBC, you will be required to sign a Release that prevents you from recovering any further compensation in relation to the accident. Your case will be closed, even if your injuries or symptoms continue (or worsen). For that reason, it is important not to rush into a settlement. 3. There should be a reasonable explanation for the compensation offered Compensation for personal injury is based on a number of factors, including:
The type of injuries sustained (e.g., concussion, whiplash, orthopedic injuries)
How long the injuries last
The impact of the injuries on your day-to-day life and ability to work or go to school
Whether you had any pre-existing issues
Who was at fault for the accident that caused the injuries
If ICBC is unable to explain the offer in terms of the above factors, or if you are unsure whether ICBC’s offer took those factors into account, it is not wise to accept the offer. Vancouver car accident lawyers are able to look at the facts particular to your case and compare the reasonableness of any offer to compensation awarded by the courts in similar cases. Through that process, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you determine if a settlement offer is fair. 4. There are specific types of losses in a personal injury claim Personal injury claims are quantified on the basis of the factors set out above in section 3, and should account for amounts for specific types of losses (known as “heads of damages”), including:
Pain and suffering
Income loss (past and prospective)
Costs for treatment and rehabilitation services you may need in the future
You don’t want to miss out on compensation to which you are entitled. Vancouver car accident lawyers can analyze a settlement offer to ensure that compensation is included for each head of damage. If ICBC’s settlement offer is lacking, experienced personal injury lawyers can work with accident victims to prepare a settlement proposal that includes claims for all applicable heads of damage. 5. Many Vancouver car accident lawyers offer a free initial consultation The best way to determine if an offer is fair is to seek professional advice. Bronson Jones & Company LLP, one of the largest firms of car accident lawyers in Vancouver, offers a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. You will be able to discuss your case, your rights, and the pros and cons of accepting a settlement offer. There is no obligation to hire us after your consultation. If you do decide to hire us, there is no out-of-pocket retainer fee. Our personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means our legal fees get paid only if compensation is obtained for you, and those fees are derived as a percentage of your compensation. Using a personal injury lawyer almost always gets you more money at the end of the claim than without a lawyer, even after legal fees are deducted. Our Vancouver car accident lawyers are here to assist you With over three decades of experience in representing plaintiffs, our personal injury lawyers are in an excellent position to help you navigate the decision-making process. We will provide advice to you on the specific strengths and weaknesses of your case and the fairness of any settlement offer. We will also negotiate with ICBC on your behalf and if fair settlement is not offered, take your claim to trial to fight for the compensation you deserve. Call us toll free at (24 hours) to make an appointment with a personal injury lawyer at one of our 13 convenient locations, including Vancouver, Abbotsford, Burnaby, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Langley, Maple Ridge, New Westminster and Surrey. Legal Guidance & More, from Injury to Recovery Bronson Jones & Company LLP exclusively represents victims of motor vehicle accidents, and that’s all we do! Unlike other law firms, which deal with everything from dog bites to divorce, Bronson Jones has built more than 30 years of trial experience and in negotiating fair settlements for clients injured in motor vehicle accidents. We’ve also developed an extensive network of medical and occupational specialists, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and others to help you recover and deal with the impact of your injury on your physical health, family life, finances and future. Additionally, such reports may be essential in the development of your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call any of the 13 Bronson Jones locations in the Lower Mainland for our expertise and advice. All of our cases are handled on a contingency (percentage) basis and you don’t pay until we collect.