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Tag: icbc personal injury lawyers

ICBC Personal Injury Claims, Lawyers and Trust

I have previously written about some practical things to consider for people wishing to  fire their ICBC Injury Claims Lawyer.

Today while stuck at the Kelowna Airport waiting to fly back to Victoria and got to chatting with a fellow traveler who was contemplating firing his accountant.  Hearing this and the reasons for it made me think of sharing some further thoughts on the topic of hiring/firing an ICBC Claims Lawyer.  And being stuck in an airport I have plenty of time to do so!

Trust.  Trust is the most important factor in having a successful relationship with your ICBC Injury Claims Lawyer.  Trial experience, past settlement results, experience with your type of case, whether your lawyer sometimes acts for ICBC, whether your lawyer signed the SAA are all very important factors to consider when hiring an ICBC Injury Claims Lawyer but nothing can undo a relationship between a lawyer and client faster than lack of trust.

Your ICBC Injury Claims Lawyer will have to give you advice on many topic most importantly, advice on what a fair range of settlement is.  If you don’t trust that your lawyer is taking your claim seriously and don’t trust his/her advice it will be difficult if not impossible to make an informed decision regarding whether to settle your ICBC injury claim or proceed to trial.

Settlement offers are made in almost all ICBC personal injury claims.  Your lawyer’s job is to give you advice on the merits of any offer and to offer a ‘risk assessment’ about the potential benefits and pitfalls of trial.  You must trust that your ICBC Injury Lawyer is giving you good advice otherwise you risk making a poor decision.  If you don’t trust your lawyer your decision-making ability will be compromised and this can lead to very unfair results.  For example you may take a settlement offer that your lawyer says is unfair because you don’t trust his/her judgment or on the other hand you could proceed to trial, lose and face significant ‘costs’ consequences after failing to heed advice that an ICBC settlement offer is fair and should be seriously considered.

Trust goes to the heart of a lawyer/client relationship and if this is missing then a claim may be compromised.  So what can be done?  If there is a lack of trust the first and most important thing you should do is communicate this to your lawyer.  Try to work through the problem.  Make your lawyer make time for you.  Most ICBC Injury Claims Lawyers work on a contingency basis meaning they don’t bill you for every phone call, e-mail or meeting.  Make time to sit down and speak with your lawyer and work through any perceived problems.  This will likely cost you nothing and can go a long way to building up a mutual trust which will help your lawyer get a good result for you.

 If, after all reasonable efforts, you still can’t build a level of trust in your lawyer you will need to seriously consider retaining new counsel.

The bottom line is this: If you run into problems in your legal relationship you should talk to your lawyer.  He/she works for you and you are entitled to have all of your questions answered.  Put effort into working things through.  If things can’t be worked out consider moving on.  You don’t want to second guess yourself when you decide if and how you resolve your ICBC Personal Injury Claim.

$60,000 Pain and Suffering for Chronic Soft Tissue Injuries

Reasons for judgment were released today awarding a Plaintiff just over $73,000 in total damages as a result of injuries and loss sustained in a 2005 BC vehicle collision.
The Plaintiff’s vehicle was rear-ended.  The collision was significant with enough force to brake the seat assembly in her vehicle.  She was 59 years old at the time of impact. The Plaintiff suffered injuries to her neck, shoulder, wrists, knee and elbow. Most of her injuries healed in short order.  The Plaintiff’s neck and shoulder injuries did not and she testified that those areas were painful everyday  some 3 years after the collision.
The Plaintiff’s injuries and their effect are summarized well at paragraph 14 of the judgment which I reproduce below:
[14]            The main complaints of the plaintiff are that she has suffered significant, ongoing, chronic and permanent left neck and shoulder pain, and continuing anxiety, all caused by the motor vehicle accident.  She has kept working throughout, for the most part.  She has continued to work long hours, and at the same time has, on the advice of her doctor, tried a number of different kinds of therapy.  She has gone for two different kinds of physiotherapy, massage therapy, acupuncture, and has sought the services of a kinesiologist, a certified personal trainer.  She also went once for counselling to a psychologist with regard to her anxiety.  She applies ice and heat to alleviate her pain, and uses medications, with apparently limited results.
The Plaintiff called her husband to give ‘before and after’ evidence along with her treating chiropractor and family physician.  The defence called no evidence which is somewhat unusual in a contested injury claim.  In most ICBC injury claims that proceed to trial the court hears from both Plaintiff and Defence expert medical witnesses who provide opinion evidence as to the extent of injury and its relationship to the trauma in question.  It appears here that the defence was content to simply rely on their cross examination of the Plaintiff’s physicians.
The court found that the Plaintiff and her husband were ‘extremely credible’.   The court accepted that the Plaintiff’s ongoing complaints were caused by the collision.  In justifying an award of $60,000 for pain and suffering Madam Justice Morrison made the following comments:
[58]            In my view, there has been a significant loss of enjoyment of life for this plaintiff.  She suffers the pain and discomfort that she has described while working, and particularly while sitting at a computer, which involves much of her day.  She will continue to work.  Perhaps even more significantly, she has and will continue to suffer the loss of enjoyment of life that has occurred in her life beyond work.  There has been a significant and negative change in the lifestyle of Mrs. Larlee, ranging from her day-to-day household activities, her passion for gardening, her lifelong involvement with the piano and the accordion, and an active lifestyle which involved vacations and other activities.  Her pain is chronic and ongoing.