Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are injured every year in preventable accidents. When these injuries are serious, victims can be left with significant medical expenses, an inability to work, psychological and emotional issues, and even long-term disabilities. When the accidents that cause these injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence and carelessness, the people who are injured are usually able to obtain compensation for the economic and non-economic losses they sustain.
People who have been injured as a result of the negligence of others should retain legal counsel prior to accepting any settlement offer made by the other party. At McLarty Wolf, not only will we represent your legal interests, we will also assist in making sure appropriate arrangements are made for the rehabilitative care and income replacement to the extent possible.
Protecting the legal rights of people injured in Vancouver and the surrounding areas
Our lawyers are committed to helping people who have been injured as a result of the negligence of others and are qualified to represent individuals injured in a variety of accidents. Some of the kinds of accidents and injuries that we routinely handle include:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Maritime accidents
- Car accidents
- Recreational accidents
- Wrongful death/fatal accidents claims
- Neck and spine injuries
- Head injuries / Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Slip and fall/Occupiers liability claims
The above list is not meant to be exhaustive, and anyone injured in an accident that they believe may have been caused by the negligence of others should discuss their case with an experienced lawyer.
Personal Injury Claims Process
While every case is different, the claims process should follow the same basic path:
Talk to a Lawyer
A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and help you with your claim. You have a better chance of getting full compensation for your injuries and loss when you have legal representation.
Report to ICBC
Report your accident to ICBC by calling DIAL A CLAIM (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Once your claim has been reported, a claims adjuster will be assigned to your case. That adjuster will then try to obtain your medical and employment history for the purposes of investigating your claim.
- 1-604-520-8222 within the Lower Mainland; and
- 1-800-910-4222 from anywhere else in the province or outside B.C.
Beginning a Legal Action
Under BC law, you generally only have two years from the date of the accident to commence a lawsuit in respect of your claim. If you don’t commence the lawsuit, you may lose your right to recover damages for your injuries even though you have made a claim through ICBC. If you choose to sue in court, your case can either go to trial or it can be settled after negotiation. In some cases, you may begin by negotiating a settlement, but if you cannot come to an agreement you will move on to a trial.
Parties to a lawsuit have to disclose documents relevant to the claims that have been made. Your lawyer can assist you to collect the documents you need to prove the various elements of your claim: pain and suffering, loss of income or earning capacity, cost of care, out of pocket expenses, etc.
Examination for Discovery
Parties to a lawsuit also have to submit to be questioned under oath by a lawyer representing the other side. A transcript of those questions and answers is created that is used by the parties to assess the merits of their claims (or in the case of ICBC, its defences). The transcript can also be used at the trial for certain purposes. Let your lawyer guide you through this process.
Personal injury cases almost always require medical evidence in the form of opinions of doctors and other healthcare providers who have assessed the injuries of the claimant. Depending on the severity of the injuries, a number of different experts may be asked to provide reports including potentially a doctor appointed by ICBC. Your lawyer will assist you to obtain the expert evidence you require to ensure that all aspects of your claim are proved.
Settlement or Trial and Judgment
The case concludes with either a settlement or it goes before a judge (and maybe a jury) at a trial who decides what compensation you are entitled to. Well over 90% of lawsuits settle before trial. Negotiating a settlement or proving your case through evidence presented at trial is a complex and challenging process. In all but the most straightforward and minor of personal injury claims, you are much more likely to receive the damages that you deserve as compensation for your injuries if you are represented by an experienced personal injury lawyer.
When people consider retaining legal representation, one of their main concerns is the cost. After all, lawyers are known for charging highly hourly rates, sometimes in the range of hundreds of dollars per hour. As a result, legal services may be financially out of reach for many people, or so they may think. In some cases, people may be able to obtain legal representation without having to pay anything at all unless their case is brought to a successful resolution.
Contingency Fees Align Interests and Ensure that Injured Victims have access to Legal Counsel
A contingency fee arrangement is one in which a lawyer agrees to represent a person for a percentage (usually one-third) of any recovery that is ultimately obtained. If there are up-front costs associated with litigation, the lawyer or firm will pay for them out-of-pocket. This type of arrangement aligns the lawyer’s interests with those of his or her client – if the client does not recover compensation, the lawyer does not earn any money for his or her work. In addition, the more the client recovers, the more the lawyer earns, incentivizing zealous representation. Additionally, contingency fees allow people who need legal representation to obtain it, regardless of their ability to pay.
When are Contingency Fees Used?
Not every case is appropriate for a contingent fee arrangement. Contingency fees are most often used in personal injury cases as there is typically a good chance of recovery and injured parties are not in a position to pay legal fees until after their cases resolved. Contingency fees are also used in certain construction and commercial cases in which a person or businesses has suffered financial losses as a result of a breach of contract or negligence. Some cases can be handled on the basis of a low, affordable hourly rate, together with a reduced contingency fee, depending on your specific circumstances and the type of case.
Contact a Vancouver personal injury lawyer today to schedule a free consultation
People who are injured in accidents that are caused by the negligence of others are often able to recover significant compensation by filing a personal injury claim. At McLarty Wolf, we limit our caseload in order to allow our lawyers to develop a personal relationship with our clients and make ourselves available to answer all of our clients’ questions and concerns. In addition, we do not shy away from taking your case to trial, should we be unable to reach a reasonable settlement through negotiation or mediation. Please contact us today at 604-688-9542 or use our online contact form to reach us regarding any accident in which you have sustained injury.