If you get into an accident in British Columbia, before negotiating with ICBC it is advisable to get a qualified ICBC injury lawyer. Lawyers can be expensive, but retaining a lawyer is more beneficial than harmful. Personal Injury Lawyers often work on Contingency. Contingency means that you won’t have to pay the lawyers unless they win your case. If you are retaining the services of a lawyer, ensure that the you ask about any other fees associated with the case and make sure that your contingency agreement is in writing.
Contingency fee limitations
There is a statutory limit on contingency fees in B.C. for personal injury and wrongful death cases. Lawyers can take a maximum of one third of the total amount recovered from a motor vehicle accident. If the personal injury or wrongful death claim isn’t associated with a motor vehicle accident, personal injury lawyers can take a maximum of 40 percent of the amount recovered. This amount does not include the costs recovered in the case. Lawyers are required to charge PST and GST on all fees. Contingency fees may seem large, but you are paying for the best possible representation for yourself and your needs.
Even intraffic court in Quebec, the plaintiff must pay court costs. In personal injury cases, you may not have any upfront costs but you may still be responsible for court costs and the cost of disbursements. Disbursements include, medical reports, court filing fees, fees for expert testimony and photocopying charges. Read through your contingency agreement thoroughly to ensure that you are not responsible for these costs. In some cases, you still have to pay for disbursements even if you’ve lost your case. Some personal injury lawyers allow clients to defer these fees until the settlement, but the cost may incur interest. Even if you do not have an agreement in place, the client is legally responsible for the disbursement fees. Lawyers are required to charge GST and PST on most disbursements.
Is an hourly fee a better choice for my case?
Contingency fees may not be the best possible choice for your case. To know if you should opt for an hourly rate instead of a contingency fee, you must determine whether or not your claim will be disputed and the extent of your injuries. Cases that are likely to be disputed over a long period of time may require more resources from the lawyer. In this case, a percentage based fee would be worth it for both the plaintiff and the lawyer. If your injuries are minor, having a contingency would work out in your favour because the hourly amount for the lawyer may equal the amount recovered. If your entire settlement is spent on your legal fees, are you really winning? Opt for the percentage, rather than the hourly rate if your injuries are minor.
If you’ve signed a fee agreement it isn’t too late to go over it with your lawyer. You can also have the fees reviewed by the courts up to three months after the agreement was signed. Personal Injury Lawyers will work more diligently on your case when they have a larger incentive to win. It is always a good idea to shop around, but remember the best price doesn’t always amount to the best value. Ensure you know the entire fee schedule for your agreement so that there are no surprises when the final bill comes in. Contingency fees may not work for every case, so ensure that you’re choosing the best monetary option for yourself.