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When is the Ideal Time to Hire a Lawyer on a Motor Vehicle Accident Case?

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This is a common question from victims of motor vehicle accidents. It is not uncommon that, at the outset of a claim, the ICBC adjuster will romance the client to minimize the risk of losing the client to a lawyer. Every adjuster knows that once a claim is being handled by a lawyer, the cost to ICBC goes up dramatically. Eventually, the “true colours” of the adjuster show through and the client is put in a compromised position and is usually cut off from any further treatment benefits.

We have always thought that the best time to hire a lawyer is at the outset of the case. These files are handled on a contingency basis. There is no cost savings to the client in hiring a lawyer at a later stage. In fact, there is a serious risk that a case can be compromised when a lawyer is not involved in the early stages. Adjusters realize that on most files, a lawyer will eventually be involved. Therefore, in the early stages of a file where a client has not hired a lawyer, the adjusters often use the opportunity to get information from the client that they can later use to their advantage later at trial.

In addition, if the lawyer is involved early enough in the case, he or she can help “shape” the case by ensuring that the right doctors and experts are involved from the outset.