Firing Your ICBC Claims Lawyer: The Costs/Benefits Analysis
As discussed last year in the below video, if you hire a lawyer to represent you for a personal injury claim and are not satisfied with their performance you can fire them. However, there usually is a cost associated with this.
When people are seeking a new lawyer my typical advice is to first have them review their contract and determine how much it will cost them to change counsel. From there an informed decision can be made whether the shortcomings in their current lawyer relationship outweigh the costs of moving on. Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating the costs that come with switching lawyers.
In this week’s case (Alafriz v. Mathivanan) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision and hired a lawyer to represent him. The Plaintiff eventually changed lawyers. A dispute arose over how much was owed to the first lawyer for services rendered. The lawyer sent a bill seeking $5,825. The client refused to pay this and the Court was asked to settle the issue. Ultimately Registrar Sainty held that the first lawyer’s bill was “far too pricey in these circumstances“.
Despite this the Court held that the first lawyer was entitled to a fee for the services rendered and ordered the client to pay $3,000. This case is worth reviewing in full to see the types of factors the Court considers in addressing the appropriateness of a fee for a personal injury claim where a client changes lawyers prior to settlement or trial.