GENERAL PATH of a CLAIM
Not all ICBC injury claims are alike, so they will not all necessarily follow the same path. The following is a general path that an ICBC injury claim can take in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and can apply both to ICBC injury claims and slip and fall claims. The main difference is that we are normally only dealing with one insurance company (ICBC) with respect to motor vehicle related accidents and ICBC injury claims, however with slip and fall claims, there are usually a number of different insurance companies.
After our free consultation, if you decide to meet with us, then we will review our standard contingency fee agreement with you. This is a written contract between you and us that, once signed, gives us authority to act on your behalf. There is no charge for this meeting either. You are not required to pay any money up front, you are not required to make any payments along the way, and you are not required to pay anything until your matter is concluded. In reality, no money ever leaves your pockets, as our fee comes out of the settlement money received on your behalf.
We will then inform ICBC that we will be acting on your behalf in your ICBC injury claim, by sending them a letter of representation. This means that you never have to deal with them again, as long as we continue to act for you.
Your main focus should be on getting healthy again, and returning to your pre-accident status.
SEEKING TREATMENT for YOUR INJURIES
It is very important that you seek immediate treatment for your injuries. Report everything to your family doctor, no matter how minor it seems. For example, you may feel that minor tingling is no big deal, but this could signify nerve damage. As well, you may feel that minor jaw clicking is nothing to worry about, yet this could signify the onset of TMJ (temporomandibular joint dysfunction), which can lead to serious jaw problems, and which should be documented early on to maximize your chances of obtaining compensation for such an injury. Please click here for court cases discussing doctor visits.
Thereafter, it is important that you regularly see your family doctor, and that you do everything he or she tells you to do. This can include attending for physiotherapy treatment, massage therapy, or chiropractic treatment, doing home exercises, or seeing a specialist.
Following the advice of your medical practitioners will greatly enhance the value of your ICBC injury claims. If ICBC sees that you never went to the doctor, and never went for any other treatment, this will drastically reduce the value of your claim when it comes time to settle. Once you and your doctor feel that you have recovered from your injuries, or that your injuries have plateaued and are not likely to get any better, then it is time to settle your claim with ICBC. Having a detailed list of your visits to your doctor, as well as the times you went for other treatment, will greatly improve the value of your claim. It will show ICBC that you took active steps to rehabilitate yourself. You are under a legal obligation to “mitigate” (lessen or reduce) your losses and damages in your ICBC injury claim. Please click here for court cases discussing mitigation.
POSSIBLE SETTLEMENT with ADJUSTER from ICBC
Once you and your doctor feel that you have returned to your pre-accident status, or that your injuries have plateaued and are not likely to get any better, it would then be time to obtain a medical report from your doctor, and attempt to settle your ICBC injury claim.
If we are unable to resolve your claim with the ICBC adjuster to your satisfaction by the two year mark, legal proceedings will need to be commenced in order to preserve your legal right to sue. Once legal proceedings are commenced, your ICBC injury claim will be referred by ICBC to one of their lawyers. Filing the Notice of Civil Claim at the two year mark, in order to preserve your legal right to sue, does not necessarily mean that your matter will go all the way to trial. The vast majority of ICBC injury claims do not go to trial.
Although the ICBC adjuster will likely have requested some documentation surrounding your injuries, such as income tax records or clinical notes, the lawyer for ICBC will likely request further documentation. As your lawyer, we are allowed to request documentation from the other side as well, should it be required. Please click here for court cases on document disclosure.
POSSIBLE SETTLEMENT with LAWYER from ICBC
After ICBC’S lawyer has had an opportunity to review all of the documentation, the possibility of settlement exists. If we are unable to resolve your ICBC injury claim to your satisfaction at this point, the matter would continue through the litigation process.
EXAMINATION for DISCOVERY
If it is not possible to settle your claim with the other lawyer after an exchange of documents, the next step in the process would be an Examination for Discovery, which is governed by Rule 7-2 of the British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules. This is where you, I, ICBC’S lawyer, and sometimes the adjuster, meet at an office boardroom. ICBC’S lawyer will ask you questions about the accident, your injuries, the steps you have taken to rehabilitate yourself, any loss of income you are claiming, etc …, and may request further documentation in this regard. The Examination for Discovery is quite broad in nature, however for the most part is limited to 7 hours of duration. Please click here for court cases on Examinations for Discovery. We are there to ensure that no improper questions are asked of you. The purpose of the Examination for Discovery is for ICBC’S lawyer to gain a greater understanding of your injuries, and how they have affected your life. ICBC’S lawyer is also looking to see how credible of a person you are, and how well you would present yourself to the court, should the matter ever reach that stage. A court reporter is also present to record everything that is said, and you will be under oath, meaning that you must tell the truth in all of your responses.
FURTHER ATTEMPT at SETTLEMENT
Once all of this documentation requested at the Examination for Discovery has been forwarded to ICBC’S lawyer, and he or she has reviewed it, there is a further attempt at settlement of ICBC injury claim. If we can reach a settlement with opposing counsel, then your matter will then be concluded.
EXAMINATIONS on UNDERTAKINGS
If settlement cannot be reached after ICBC’S lawyer has reviewed the documentation obtained through the Examination for Discovery, there may be an additional examination of you based on the documentation requested at the Examination for Discovery. This second examination will be briefer in nature than the Examination for Discovery, and is limited to questions on the documentation requested at the Examination for Discovery.
FURTHER ATTEMPT at SETTLEMENT
A further attempt to settle your ICBC injury claim is made at this stage. If settlement is not possible, your matter will proceed further through the litigation process to possibly a mediation, a settlement conference, and to possibly a Trial.
OTHER STEPS that MAY OCCUR THROUGHOUT the LITIGATION PROCESS
If your matter is referred to ICBC’S lawyer, there may be interlocutory applications throughout the litigation process. These are applications brought to court by either party, and are governed by Part 8 of the British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules. For example, one party may want more disclosure of documents from the other side, so they would bring an application to court asking the judge to order the other side to produce such documents. Please click here for court cases on document disclosure.
This is where you, your lawyer, a mediator, a lawyer for ICBC, and possibly an adjuster from ICBC, would convene in an attempt to resolve your case prior to Trial.
CASE PLANNING CONFERENCES
Either party may request a Case Planning Conference, where a judge would be asked to establish steps and guidelines on how the matter would proceed from that point forward. Case Planning Conferences are governed by Part 5 of the British Columbia Supreme Court Civil Rules.
A judge may order that the parties, along with the judge, convene in private in order to attempt to settle all outstanding issues.
OFFERS to SETTLE
At any point in the litigation process, either party may serve an Offer to Settle on the other party, in an attempt to resolve the matter.
TRIAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCES
Should none of the above procedures result in settlement of your ICBC injury claim, and your matter appears to be heading for Trial, there would be a Trial Management Conference, where you, your lawyer, and ICBC’S lawyer would appear before a judge, who would establish parameters and guidelines for the upcoming trial.
It is quite rare that an ICBC injury claim would proceed all the way to an actual trial, as only about 1% of cases ever do, and these are usually cases involving very serious injuries.
HOW WE CAN HELP
At Veale Law, we offer you a free consultation to discuss your ICBC injury claim, and to advise you of your legal rights and obligations. For a free consultation, call us 24 hours a day at either 604-685-2833 or toll free at 1-855-685-2833, email us at email@example.com, or fill out our free consultation form on the right.
We also offer you a legal contingency fee of 20%, the lowest in the province of British Columbia for a motor vehicle accident. On an average ICBC injury claim, this can save you thousands of dollars. If you have an existing offer from ICBC, and would like us to finalize your matter for you, you will not be charged a fee on the amount of your existing offer from ICBC, and our fee will only be based on any amount recovered in excess of your current offer. You don’t pay us anything up front, you don’t make any payments along the way, and you don’t pay us anything until we resolve your ICBC injury claim for you. In reality, no money ever leaves your pockets, as our fee comes out of the settlement money. For your convenience, home and hospital appointments are also available.
We also serve clients throughout British Columbia, whether you are a resident of British Columbia, or a non-resident of British Columbia, that have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia.
There are many benefits to having Veale Law represent you in your ICBC injury claim:
- Protection of your legal rights
- Explanation of your legal obligations
- Dealing with ICBC on your behalf
- Payment of disbursements on your behalf
- Explanation of what damages you can claim
- Maximization of the value of your injury claim
If you elect to have Veale Law represent you in your ICBC injury claim, we will do so with passion and dedication. We keep fully abreast with the current case law. We will apply our legal knowledge, experience, and skills to the facts of your ICBC injury claim in order to achieve the best possible result for you. ICBC has trained adjusters and experienced lawyers representing their interests. You need someone to protect yours.
We look forward to serving all your personal injury needs in your ICBC injury claim, and to getting you the justice that you so rightly deserve. Contact Veale Law now.