It is generally in your best interest to get legal advice when you’ve been injured in a car accident. In two recent episodes of AM 650’s The Law Show we discussed situations and types of injuries where it’s particularly important to consult a lawyer before making decisions about how to pursue an ICBC claim. These cases include situations where:
- the injuries are obviously serious,
- there is a dispute over whether ICBC is going to pay,
- there are questions about who is at fault for the accident,
- there are medical-legal issues that suggest the injuries are not solely the result of the accident, or
- there is the potential for a lot of work time to be lost or even an inability to return to one’s former employment.
One situation where it is always advisable to get legal advice is when a head injury is involved. A head injury, even a seemingly minor concussion, is never something to trifle with. A case on point is the recent decision in Wallman v. John Doe, 2014 BCSC 79 (Weatherill J.). In this case, a young emergency room doctor on his way to work was rear ended by a transit bus. While the damage to the vehicles was minimum, Wallman sustained what ended up being a debilitating mild traumatic brain injury that prevented him from returning to work.
Thankfully not all concussions result in permanent brain injuries but until the injured person has been fully assessed by a qualified medical team and allowed time to recover it is not prudent to conclude whether there are any permanent or semi-permanent effects and what that might mean for the injured person’s future. One thing to keep in mind is that people with brain injuries are some of the most difficult cases to handle because the nature of their injuries frequently affects their insight into the problems they actually have. This is why both expert and lay evidence (from witnesses who knew the victim before the accident) are critical.
When you are making the decision whether to hire a lawyer always do your home work. If you can’t get a personal referral from family or friends then we recommend that you interview two or three lawyers. Ask if you can talk to some of their clients as references. Even though many cases settle without a trial, make sure they have courtroom experience by looking at the cases they have actually taken to trial. It is important to know that if you do end up in court that you have someone with a proven track record. Further, you want to be sure that your lawyer is prepared to go to court if necessary and that the insurance company knows this.