When dealing with the ICBC, it is important to recognize that the ICBC adjuster is engaged by the ICBC to ensure that claims are paid out quickly and as cheap as possible. This means the adjuster does not necessarily look out for your best interests. With this goal in mind, the ICBC might force you to take a settlement that is unfair to you and does not properly compensate for the damages. The ICBC can portion the blame between the two parties involved even when it can be proven that the other party was in the wrong and was negligent in their actions. It is also good to know that the ICBC adjuster does not have to be a lawyer so he/she might not understand the legal issues involved and the implications of the claim.
The ICBC will make a settlement offer that is in the interests of efficiency and cost and usually is in favor of the ICBC. In a simple case where the liability is not in dispute, this criterion works best for both parties. However, in a case where liability is disputed, this could lead to an unfair settlement for the person who was wronged. This is why you need a personal injury lawyer to negotiate for your best interests.
When the ICBC refuses to make a reasonable settlement, a personal injury lawyer will initiate trial proceedings to force a fair ICBC settlement through negotiations and the courts if necessary. This is where the real value of a qualified personal injury lawyer becomes evident. The lawyer will help make your case by:
- Initiating collection of evidence to support your case – This includes obtaining copies of records like medical records, police accident reports, therapist records and so on. This involves tackling the bureaucracy in the possession of these records.
- Obtaining expert witnesses for your side – In many litigation cases, the defendant will try to disprove that the medical condition of the plaintiff is linked to the accident. A lawyer will get witnesses to give testimony showing that your medical condition is directly linked to the accident and the other parties negligence.
- Obtain the necessary resources and testimonies – The lawyer will marshal resources to retain these experts to make this testimony when they are required by the court.
- Making arguments for your case in court – In a trial, the other party will have a lawyer who could damage the evidence with clever legal arguments. Having legal representation is the only way to avoid such a situation.
- Negotiating a settlement if the ICBC decides to settle – This is a complicated process where some details could escape a person without this kind of training and experience working with the ICBC and ICBC claim settlements.
- Helping collect the no-fault benefits from the ICBC – A personal injury lawyer will assist in collecting the no-fault benefits as well as other benefits from sources other than the ICBC.
It is highly advisable to rely on the expertise of a personal injury lawyer than the whims of the ICBC adjuster. A personal injury lawyer will be looking out for your best interests, often a BC personal injury lawyer will also be an ICBC lawyer who specializes in ICBC disputes.