Q: Do I need a lawyer?

At Frame & Co. Injury Law we have a long history of acting for injured people. We rely on investigators, consultants and referrals to medical specialists to insure that your injuries are fully canvassed before you settle. We will do accident investigation to ensure that you are not held at fault for the accident. We will ensure that all future problems and possibilities of problems are investigated so that you can receive full compensation for your injuries and the future costs and expenses associated with them.

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Q: Do I have to prove that someone else is at fault for the accident?

Yes. To recover the majority of benefits in a law suit you must prove the other party was completely or partially at fault for the accident. If you are completely at fault for the accident you will only be entitled to "no fault" benefits which are extremely limited. To prove fault we will obtain witness statements, photographs of the vehicle and accident scene, police reports and we may require traffic reconstruction experts in complicated cases. It is important to obtain this evidence while memories are still fresh, before vehicles have been fixed, and while the accident scene remains unchanged.

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Q: What if I am partially at fault for the accident?

Even if you are partially at fault for the accident you can still recover compensation from the other driver. The amount of the compensation will be reduced by what is called "contributory negligence".

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Q: Who is entitled to make a claim for compensation in British Columbia?

Anyone who has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident may have an ICBC injury claim. This includes pedestrians and cyclists who are injured in car accidents as well as any passengers or drivers. In the case of a death, family members may also have a claim.

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Q: How long do I have?

Normally in British Columbia you must commence your accident within two years from the date of the motor vehicle accident. The time is much shorter if you are suing a municipality or an unidentified driver. In addition, you must provide a statement within 30 days of the accident and complete an Accident Benefit Claim form within 90 days of the accident. These are normally tasks we can do on your behalf.

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Q: Do I have to go to ICBC’s office?

No. There is nothing that requires you to attend at ICBC. We can attend to completing the various forms that are required and ensure that you comply with all of the provisions of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act.

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Q: Will ICBC do any investigation that I am not aware of?

Yes. The ICBC adjusters have an obligation to investigate the claim and assess an opinion on both fault for the accident and the value of your claim from ICBC’s point of view. Remember, the ICBC adjuster is paid by and works for ICBC. You will need an advocate to ensure you receive fair compensation.

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Q: How long will this take?

The length of time your claim will take depends primarily on your medical recovery. You should not settle before you have completely recovered and returned to you pre-accident work or your doctor has given you a definitive prognosis for the future. You are entitled to claim compensation for as long as your injuries last and into the future if there is a permanent partial disability or the possibility of ongoing problems.

Normally the claim can be settled as soon as you recover. If you recover from your injuries quickly, the claim can be resolved within six months. If the claim is more serious with permanent ongoing injuries the claim may take 18 to 24 months from the date of the accident. Generally speaking, the length of time will be determined by the extent of your injuries and the impact it has had on your life.

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Q: How does my lawyer get paid?

Lawyers do cost money and litigation can be very expensive. At Frame & Co. Injury Law, we offer a contingency fee option for our clients which is a percentage fee based on the amount of the settlement. This amount normally ranges from 25% to 33 1/3%. If you do not recover any money from the insurance company, your lawyer is free. In other words, you don’t pay us until your claim settles.

If you retain us on a contingency fee basis our firm normally funds all of the expenses required to prosecute your claim. These are called “disbursements” and include things such as court filing fees, costs of medical-legal reports, photocopying and witness fees.

If you wish to hire us on an hourly basis we normally send interim accounts for payment as the work is completed and require a retainer to offset any disbursements as they are incurred.

In some cases, the insurance company will make a contribution to your costs and the disbursements incurred on your behalf. You should discuss legal fees with your lawyer at the outset of your claim.

The choice is always yours.

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Q: Will ICBC pay me the same amount without a lawyer?

In our experience un-represented plaintiffs generally receive 1/3 of what the claim is actually worth to what is paid to represented plaintiffs. This is the reason why ICBC may be actively encouraging you not to retain a lawyer – because it saves them money.

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Q: If I settle early and I have continuing problems can I go back to ICBC?

No. Generally, once you have signed a ‘release’ and accepted payment you are not entitled to go back and claim additional compensation. Even if your injuries are much worse then you had anticipated at the time of the settlement. This is the main reason you should retain Frame & Co. Injury Law to ensure that you are receiving fair compensation and you will not regret an early settlement later on.

Frame & Co. Injury Law, located in Campbell River, serves clients from Campbell River to Courtenay.

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