If you have been seriously injured by another driver’s negligence, you will undoubtedly have questions about how you will be compensated for the injuries caused by the car accident. An experienced car accident lawyer will ensure that your damages are properly assessed and that you are fully compensated for your injuries. But that raises a related question: how much does it cost to have a personal injury lawyer represent you? In this post, our car accident lawyers will discuss the average legal fee for an ICBC claim and the potential for hidden charges in your claim against ICBC.
Car Accident Lawyers’ Average Legal fee for an ICBC Claim
BC lawyers can provide legal services under a few different types of fee arrangements, for example, a flat fee or an hourly rate for the number of hours worked. However, most personal injury lawyers who handle ICBC claims do so under a “contingency fee agreement.” This means that the lawyer’s fees are based on a percentage of the settlement received or judgment ordered. It also means that if there is no award the lawyer cannot charge legal fees. Under BC law, the maximum contingency fee that a lawyer can charge is 33.3% for a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim arising from a car accident. ICBC lawyers in BC set their firm’s contingency fee percentage in light of that maximum limit. The average legal fee is in the range of 25% to 33.3% regardless of the severity of injuries.
Legal Fees for an ICBC Claim at Simpson, Thomas & Associates
Legal fees at our personal injury law firm are among the lowest charged in BC. Our legal fees are only 20% for catastrophic injury claims (this includes severe brain injury, paraplegia, and quadriplegia) and only 24% on all other types of claims. Some BC law firms use a sliding scale, taking a gradually higher percentage of your damage award at each stage of your claim. Our fee percentages apply no matter what stage your ICBC claim is resolved, and include going to trial if necessary, which means that the car accident lawyers at Simpson, Thomas & Associates are committed from the outset to doing what it takes to secure top compensation in your claim against ICBC. We do not charge a legal fee or disbursements if your case is unsuccessful.
Discuss Fees with your ICBC Car Accident Lawyer Upfront
The contingency fee agreement is the basis of the lawyer-client relationship. Read it carefully before you sign anything to ensure that you understand the terms respecting legal fees and other charges in relation to your personal injury claim. We offer a free initial consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers so you will have the opportunity to ask questions about our contingency fee agreement (you can use this e-Form to book your free legal consult).
Car Accident Lawyers at Other Firms May Impose “Hidden” Charges
Here are some red flags and areas where hidden or unexpected charges may arise:
- As mentioned, some personal injury law firms charge a higher percentage regardless of the severity of your injuries, or use a gradually increasing (“sliding scale”) fee arrangement, taking a higher percentage if your claim settles before Examinations for Discovery, after Discoveries but before trial, etc. These arrangements could cost you a few thousand dollars in the average ICBC injury claim – if not more if you were catastrophically injured.
- You should be clear on how disbursements will be handled under the terms of the agreement. Disbursements are expenses incurred on your behalf throughout your ICBC claim, such as the cost of obtaining clinical records, filing and serving court documents, and fees for medical assessments or other expert reports. Will the law firm cover disbursements up front so that you do not have to pay anything out of pocket until you recover damages? Will the law firm charge you interest on the disbursements incurred on your behalf throughout the course of your ICBC claim?
- You should be clear on what the contingency fee agreement says about legal fees and disbursements if you terminate the agreement prior to resolution of your ICBC claim. You may be required to pay the lawyer’s fees on an hourly basis plus disbursements if you terminate the agreement or decide to change lawyers.
Lastly, be clear on the types of compensation that will attract a legal fee. At Simpson, Thomas & Associates, we do not charge a legal fee on special damages or Part 7 benefits (unless contested by ICBC) and we do not charge a legal fee in obtaining a contribution by ICBC towards your legal fees.
Talk to an Experienced Lawyer about Legal Fees
It is highly recommended that you have a frank discussion about legal fees upfront for two reasons: first, to avoid unpleasant surprises and, second, to gain a better understanding of the value that an experienced ICBC car accident lawyer can bring to your claim. We welcome you to contact us today at 604-689-8888 to book a free initial consultation with one of our team of top ICBC car accident lawyers.