When to settle your ICBC claim is a big decision. There is no easy answer and often depends on the facts of each case. Each case is as unique as the individuals involved and no two claims are alike. Similarities do arise from one case to the next and oftentimes the results are heavily dependent on the level of experience of the parties involved, or on whose negotiating. An unrepresented claimant with little or no experience dealing directly with a senior injury adjuster is like taking a knife to a gunfight. You have no chance and it’s over quite quickly. One bullet and you’re dead.
The most significant element to assessing the value of an injury claim is the medical opinion of the Expertise involved. The key questions that the Expertise need to address are: what is the diagnosis, what is the cause of the injuries, what treatment is required in future, and what is the prognosis? Perhaps the most important of these is “prognosis”. What is a prognosis, you may ask? According to Google, prognosis is “a forecast of the likely course of a disease or ailment”. Or as I like to put it more simply, where will you be with your injuries in future? What impact will the injuries have on your future employability? These are questions of the utmost importance and no claim should be concluded until you have received an opinion outlining a clear prognosis by your medical expert.
When I say “your medical expert” I mean an expert that you have chosen or have been referred to by your treating physician, not someone you’ve been referred to by your friendly ICBC adjuster. Relying upon the opinion of the medical expert chosen by ICBC is a big mistake. A good lawyer will always advise against it. Heck, even a bad lawyer would advise against it! There are many examples of cases that have gone to trial where the defense Expertise have been shown to have been completely disingenuous and even negligent in their assessments of an injured plaintiff. That’s not to say that none can be trusted but the fact that there are any examples of it suggests that you are well advised to rely only upon the opinions of the Expertise you have chosen. Putting your trust in and relying upon the opinion of a doctor who is paid by the insurance company is a recipe for disaster.
Many lawyers offer a free initial 30 minute consultation, which is a great way to learn more about your case. I offer a free initial one-hour consultation, which I feel is necessary for you to truly be given an accurate overview of the options available to you. Give me a call at 604-580-7080.
Perry Armitage, Partner