The defense lawyer, in many cases, determines whether your claim will go smoothly or become a long, drawn out and hard-fought battle
ICBC has a list of law firms and specific lawyers approved to do ICBC’s defense work. The lawyers can range from the passive and reasonable to the very aggressive and not so reasonable. The defense lawyer, at the end of the case, is given a rating and assessment from the handling ICBC adjuster. These ratings impact on the amount of work the law firm may get in the future. Therefore, the defense lawyer is usually trying his/her best to impress ICBC. In some cases, this might mean that the lawyer will deliberately make a Plaintiff’s claim very difficult and will personally attack the Plaintiff.
The defense lawyer, in many cases, determines whether your claim will go smoothly or become a long, drawn out and hard-fought battle. Unfortunately, you really have no control over who becomes the defense lawyer, so it really is the “luck of the draw”.
ICBC circulates a bid request inviting lawyers in British Columbia to bid on legal work for ICBC. The work on which bids are sought is primarily the defence of claims arising out of motor vehicle accidents.
In order to preform ICBC work, the law firm must agree not to bringing actions which include allegations of bad faith or claims for punitive, aggravated or exemplary damages. ICBC also requires that law firms that have agreed to act for ICBC in the prosecution of actions alleging fraud decline to defend any such actions.
If you are looking for a lawyer to represent you, a consideration is whether he/she works for ICBC or his/her firm does ICBC work. Although most lawyers try their best for their clients and have a duty to do so, it is naive to expect a lawyer doing defense work to take a strong position for you against his/her other client, ICBC. That is human nature. Also, the lawyer acting for ICBC regularly may have developed a “defense mind” meaning that his/her view of the case is very conservative (i.e. low valuation). The lawyer will then advocate for a low settlement or may allow ICBC to take liberties regarding the discovery process, medical assessments, etc.…
If the lawyer does ICBC defense work, there are potential advantages to you. The lawyer should know how ICBC works and use that to your advantage. The lawyer will have personal relationships in the industry that may help in a favorable resolution of your claim.
Overall, avoid lawyers that work for ICBC or lawyers practicing at a defense firm. There are plenty of good Plaintiff-only lawyers that do not have the same inherent conflict of interest in acting for you while also acting for ICBC on other files.