Q: Do ICBC adjusters act in my interest?
A: No. ICBC adjusters always act in the interests of ICBC and are representatives of ICBC. They usually have objectives other than maximizing the settlement of your claim. Your personal injury lawyer at Yearwood – Dyson* Lawyers will give you advice and act in your interests as your own representative.
Q: My ICBC adjuster told me that I don't qualify for any settlement monies or health care benefits because there was very little damage to my vehicle. Does that mean I have no case or claim?
A: No. Just because there was not much damage to your vehicle does not mean that you were not injured or do not have a valid claim. Vehicles differ in the degree that they show damage after an accident. Furthermore, a car body is very different than a human body. Judges will often award damages to accident victims whose vehicles did not show very much damage.
Q: Do you handle Low Velocity Impact Program cases and, if so, why?
A: Yes we do. ICBC's controversial Low Velocity Impact Program proceeds from the premise that if there was little or no damage to the vehicle, then there must not have been any personal injury suffered. Of course, there is no scientific or medical basis whatsoever for such a proposition and, in fact, the scientific research suggests clearly that injuries can occur with or without corresponding damage to the vehicles just as, on the other side of the coin, people can walk away without a scratch from collisions that result in considerable damage to the vehicles. The reason why ICBC maintains the program is simple: they have found that 4 out of 10 people with perfectly valid claims, when told they have no claim at all, never pursue it further. However, the courts have consistently refused to legitimize the "no crash = no cash" notion that ICBC relies upon. The reason why Yearwood – Dyson* Lawyers represents people whose cases have been categorized as LVI cases is because they are valuable. We can make money on them and so can the claimants.
Q: I've heard from ICBC that it usually takes longer to settle a case when lawyers are used. Is this true?
A: Yes. That is true. Our personal injury lawyers will not settle a case right away when your injuries have not yet been diagnosed by a doctor. It often takes months or more before your doctor can give a report that will enable us to properly assess your claim. Some injuries last a long time or may not become known right away. We don't believe in settling your case too early to get a quick payoff. If ICBC doesn't agree to pay you what we think your case deserves, we'll take your claim to trial.
Q: My accident occurred almost two years ago. What happens to my claim after two years?
A: Your right to take legal action in a court of law expires two years after the date of the accident if you don't sue. That is the effect of the Limitation Act. If your claim is almost two years old, please telephone us immediately to set up an appointment.
Q: I'm injured and cannot work. Can I get temporary benefits from ICBC until my claim settles?
A: ICBC does provide limited temporary wage loss benefits and some reimbursement of medical expenses and physiotherapy. Please contact one of our Surrey lawyers to find out more.
Q: I am an employee and was working at the time of my motor vehicle accident. Who should I turn to: ICBC or WCB?
A: If the other driver who hit you was working at the time of the accident, you may not have the right to sue the other driver and your best bet may be to turn to WCB. If the other driver was not working, then you likely have the option of claiming through ICBC or applying to WCB for benefits. Please keep in mind that there are very strict and short time limits to apply to WCB for benefits. Our lawyers can help you navigate through the complexities of both the ICBC and WCB claims process and decide what is best for you. Our lawyers, Pat Yearwood and Chris Dyson, have experience dealing with both ICBC and WCB, and we invite you to sit down with us to discuss your work-related motor vehicle accident.
Q: My injuries have made me unable to do my own housekeeping. Will ICBC compensate me for these costs?
A: Courts may compensate you for some of these anticipated expenses if you can prove that they are needed. However, you can expect ICBC to vigorously resist such claims.
Q: If I am successful at trial or if ICBC settles my case, will I get any compensation for my legal fees?
A: Yes, it is possible. If your settlement or judgment is greater than $25,000, you may be entitled to reimbursement for taxable court costs. Typically, these costs only cover a portion of your legal fees, usually between one-quarter and one-third of your actual legal expenses. If you do recover taxable court costs, they belong to you. If you are hiring a lawyer on a contingency fee basis, these costs will often reduce the actual legal fees from one-third (roughly) to one-sixth or less. Sometimes, when the legal work is considerable and the recovery fairly low, the taxable court costs can actually take the place of the legal fees and you can end up keeping the entire damage award while the lawyer takes only the taxable court costs.
Q: I was just in an accident but the driver who hit me took off and I don't who this person is. What should I do?
A: You will need to immediately report (within 24 hours) your claim to ICBC and the police as a hit-and-run accident. Then you will need to take immediate steps (such as posting signs or running newspaper advertisements) to find the unknown motorist. If you don't take adequate steps to find the unknown motorist, you may lose your claim. If you find yourself in the situation where you were injured by an unknown driver, you should immediately make an appointment to see one of our lawyers who will help you protect your claim.
Q: I live in the United States but was in British Columbia on vacation when I was injured in a car accident. Can you help me?
A: Yes, we can, and we will ensure your legal rights are protected to the fullest extent of Canadian law. Our lawyers, particularly Chris Dyson, have experience working with clients who were injured in British Columbia but reside in the United States or Asia. With our fully computerized office, we are set up to provide prompt and efficient service to our out-of-town clientele.
Q: I am a British Columbia resident who was injured in a car accident outside of British Columbia. Can you help me?
A: Yes, we can. In some cases, where the driver who hit you is uninsured or underinsured, we may be able to negotiate with ICBC to get you the settlement you deserve. However, in most cases, we will refer you to an experienced trial lawyer in the jurisdiction in which you were injured. For example, Pat Yearwood and Don McCrimmon previously practiced law in Alberta and have a wealth of trial lawyer contacts in Alberta who can help you with your Alberta accident. Chris Dyson has access to a network of trial lawyers in a number of U.S. states which you can access by meeting with us.
Q: I don't live in Vancouver or Surrey. Can you represent me?
A: Yes, we can. We serve clients not only from the Lower Mainland but also Vancouver Island, Alberta, the Okanagan, Asia and the United States.
Q: I can't get to your office because my injuries prevent me from driving. Can you help me?
A: Yes, we can. If you are suffering from significant injuries, like brain injury, our lawyers in Surrey or Vancouver will travel to your home or hospital room as needed. Please contact us at our Surrey or Vancouver location to make an appointment to meet with one of our caring and experienced lawyers.
Q: ICBC is offering me $2,000 to settle my claim. If I sign the release and take the money, can I change my mind later if my injuries worsen?
A: The short answer is, no. Once you sign a release and take your settlement funds, it will be very difficult if not impossible to change the situation and increase your settlement. That is why it is a good idea to speak with a lawyer before you sign any document that ICBC requests you to sign.
DISCLAIMER: Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results and the amount recovered and other outcomes will vary according to the facts in individual cases.