Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Have Your Been Injured in a Accident that was not Your Fault?

While our primary role at LawLINE is giving legal advice, sometimes it’s more appropriate to give legal information or refer people to other services that are more suited to their needs.

For example, from time to time we get calls from people who have recently been in a motor vehicle or some other type of accident.

We can certainly tell them that the general law in British Columbia is that if you are injured in an accident due to the fault of another person, you can claim compensation for damages you have suffered as a result. Damages can include loss of wages, out of pocket expenses for medication, and compensation for pain and suffering. This is the essence of the law of negligence.

Apart from this, we feel it’s more appropriate to refer these people to the private bar. There are plenty of lawyers out there who do personal injury work. Practically all of them will give a free first meeting to prospective clients.

Also, personal injury lawyers usually work on contingency. That means that the lawyer’s fees are calculated as a percentage of the settlement or award. If the client’s claim does not succeed, the lawyer charges no fee. (However, the client will still usually be responsible for the lawyer’s expenses, such as court filing fees, postage, etc.)

Contingency fees are usually staggered so that if the case settles early, the percentage will be less than if the matter has to go through a trial. The maximum percentage is 33 1/3% for a motor vehicle related case, and 40% for personal injury and wrongful death cases not relating to motor vehicles. The market is somewhat competitive, so it may be a good idea to shop around before making a decision.

For more information about lawyers fees, check out this page from the B.C. Law Society’s website:

http://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/public/lawyers_fees/types_fees.html.

To find a personal injury lawyer, ask family or friends, or consult the yellow pages.

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