Disclosure: Skunkworks works for Jarvis McGee Rice Trial Lawyers LLP on digital marketing efforts.
Our cultural perception of lawyers is primarily based around US primetime television programming. Whether Law & Order, Suits, or Boston Legal, the public sees lawyers as being high-drama litigators. This despite the fact that in Canada, as in the US, most lawyers rarely enter a courtroom. A TV series following a team of tax lawyers structuring a transaction by email would hardly justify Netflix binge watching.
ICBC Claims and Settlements
All personal injury lawyers are technically litigators (barristers in these parts). However, the vast majority of ICBC claims never see a trial. A settlement is usually accepted by the person injured in the accident. This raises the question of whether it is actually important to hire a lawyer with courtroom experience? Why not hire a cheaper lawyer if they only need to help you reach a settlement? Why hire a lawyer at all?
The Importance of Trial Lawyers
You should at least obtain a legal consultation before contacting ICBC. You may have been injured, but ICBC will not be looking after your best interests. They already represent the person who caused the accident.
The lawyer you hire for your ICBC claim will influence settlement negotiations with ICBC. Not only will their experienced trial lawyers help you decide whether to accept a settlement offer, but it may influence the details of the offer itself. ICBC will try to pay-out the lowest amount that it can. Not unlike sizing-up an opposing sports team, ICBC will consider who you have on your legal team. If your lawyer has a good trial record, it may make strategic business sense for ICBC to avoid taking your claim to trial. Injury lawyers like John Rice and Jon Harbut, offer a proven track record for injury claims. This is even more important if your injuries are similar to those that have been previously litigated. In contrast, a lawyer with little or no courtroom experience will not be viewed as much of a threat.
In summary, hiring an experienced trial lawyer may actually make it less likely that your claim goes to trial. If your ICBC claim does go to trial, you’ll also be in good hands. Be sure to review reported judgments for any lawyer that you are considering hiring.