It can be a difficult time in your life when you are personally injured from an accident caused by someone else. In addition to dealing with physical pain, medical appointments, and personal frustration about being unable to do activities you previously enjoyed, you may have financial difficulties of being unable to work, care for your family and home. Finding a skilled personal injury lawyer in Vancouver who will handle your case can lower your stress so you can focus on recovery.
What is a Skilled Lawyer?
Although all lawyers must go through vigorous training, conduct a year of articling, and pass the bar exam, not all lawyers are the same. A skilled lawyer for a personal injury case is one who focuses on personal injury law for their career instead of being a generalist who practices multiple areas of law. A skilled personal injury lawyer in Vancouver will stay current on recent case law and current legislation that impact your file. He or she will have fared well in cases, whether these cases were privately negotiated or decided on at trial. The number of years of experience a lawyer has is also an indicator of skill.
Good personal injury lawyers commonly have an excellent reputation and are well known in the geographical area they service, within the legal community, and with ICBC. In searching for a lawyer to represent your case, you will also want your lawyer to treat you respectfully, answer your questions, fight hard for you and achieve the best results possible for you.
Do an Online Search
If you are unable to find a skilled personal injury lawyer by word of mouth, you will be able to find personal injury law firms online. Most people find a lawyer this way or by contacting the Law Society in B.C. or a private referral service. The drawback with a lawyer referral service is that there is no way to know how skillful that lawyer is; the lawyer referral service just means that the lawyer has paid to participate in the referral program.
Examine a Lawyer’s Online Presence
Today a website is a modern day business card. A lawyer’s website should list how long the business has been in practice, the credentials of each of the lawyers, and when the lawyers were each called to the bar. If much helpful information is posted, that can be a sign of client service orientation. If the online content isn’t fresh, however, that could be an indication of lack of attention to detail. Testimonials or references from past clients might be available on the website but you will never really know the veracity of these claims without speaking to the references yourself.
There is value in examining peer rating directories such as Canadian Legal Expert and Martindale Hubble in that other lawyers working in the same field have considered this lawyer to have some merit. Kind in mind that these ratings provide no assurances of a lawyer’s skills and that there are plenty of skilled lawyers who aren’t officially recognized.
Learn What You Can About the Lawyer in Question
The Law Society of B.C. does not endorse any lawyer but can let you know a lawyer’s status with them in a directory. The directory will include any past disciplinary proceedings for unethical conduct. If you do a search on canlii.org, you may be able to find cases the lawyer has represented in court. You can also google the lawyer’s name to see what information is available.
Meet the Lawyer You are Considering
By meeting the lawyer you are considering hiring, you will be able to determine how well he or she gets to know you and your case in a short period of time. A skilled injury lawyer in Vancouver will review the facts of the situation, determine if there is a tort case and the potential compensation, and explain what laws apply in your situation, including time deadlines in filing the case. You will get a sense of how helpful the lawyer is at explaining information you ask about. You will also be able to ascertain whether the lawyer is sensitive to your situation and whether it is a good fit for you to work together.
Ask Questions at Your Consultation
You may want to ask about the firms’ track record in successfully settling major personal injury claims, the frequency of trials had by the firm, including the trial experience of the lawyer who would handle your case. If a junior associate is assigned to your case, you will want to ask who will oversee that person’s work.
You will also want to know if the Vancouver law firm represents plaintiff and defense claims or is a plaintiffs-only law firm. A lawyer who does insurance defense work may not pursue a plaintiff claim as aggressively in order to preserve their relationship with the insurance company.
Find Out How the Lawyer Gets Paid
Most personal injury lawyers offer payment on a contingency fee basis, which means that the lawyer only gets paid legal fees if and when he or she obtains a settlement for you. Your lawyer’s compensation is typically dependent on a percentage of how much he or she can obtain for you.
Not every personal injury law firm can operate without collecting an upfront retainer fee. An established firm with significant resources will have the ability to carry the capital needed without a retainer through until the end of the case.
Call Taylor and Blair, Personal Injury Lawyers in Vancouver
At Taylor and Blair, our Vancouver lawyers are focused on personal injury law. We have decades of experience and over 40 years of combined experience working with all forms of legal dispute resolution (negotiation, mediation and court). We have successfully represented injury victims in cases involving the BC Provincial Court, BC Supreme Court, and the BC Court of Appeals. Our cases have ranged from minor whiplash situations to serious traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
We handle each case with great care and attention and work hard to obtain the best results for you. We pride ourselves on helping our clients feel comfortable with our team in discussing sensitive issues such as their health, medical conditions, work and compensation. Contact us at 604-737-6900 about your personal injury claim. We have the skills to challenge even the toughest ICBC lawyers in Vancouver.