Because your lawyer will probably be your advisor and your advocate for all aspects of your claim, and throughout a process that will probably take many months, and often years, it is important that you ensure that you feel comfortable with and have confidence in the lawyer that you choose.
Before selecting a lawyer to act on your behalf, you may want to consider asking them the following questions:
- Do you handle personal injury matters exclusively?
- Many lawyers who handle personal injury matters also practice in a wide variety of other fields, such as criminal law, estate law, family law, or criminal law. Therefore, they only spend part of their time focussing on the management of personal injury matters. At McCardell & Associates, Ryan’s practice is focussed entirely on personal injury litigation.
- Will you be the lawyer working on my file?
- At many law firms, the lawyer you hire is not necessarily the lawyer who works on your file day-in and day-out. In fact, it may be that you rarely meet that lawyer again. Instead, your matter could be handled almost exclusively by a less experienced lawyer, a paralegal, or a case manager. At McCardell & Associates, the lawyer you meet will be the lawyer handling your claim from beginning to end. You will be free to contact Ryan at any time as we move forward toward the successful resolution of your claim.
- Do you work for ICBC or other insurance companies?
- Many firms handling personal injury matters also work for ICBC or other insurance companies. In fact, for some of these firms, work for ICBC or other insurers is a large part of their business. The advantage to working for both is that these firms have experience in handling matters from both the perspectives of both the injured plaintiff and the insurance company. This experience could assist in negotating an effective resolution to your claim. Of course, the disadvantage is that these firms may have a divided loyalty because they rely on ICBC or other insurers for business. It would be unfortunate if this divided loyalty affected the recommendations which these firms make in handling your claim. Also, in the case of those firms working for ICBC, there are claims which they cannot make against ICBC on behalf of their clients, including claims for bad faith on the part of ICBC. Ryan does no work for ICBC or other insurance companies.
- Do you have any experience handling matters for insurance companies?
- As mentioned above, experience handling matters for ICBC or other insurers is an advantage because it allows a lawyer to handle personal injury claims with an understanding of the insurance adjuster’s interests and perspective. Ryan has that experience, having worked for nearly 4 years at a local insurance defence firm handling claims for both personal injury victims and insurance companies before beginning his personal injury practice.
- Do you have experience as a Trial Lawyer?
- While the vast majority of cases are resolved without a trial, often a key to obtaining a fair and reasonable settlement is the lawyer’s reputation for taking a case to trial if the insurance company is acting unreasonably. Ryan has experience conducting trials at both the Provincial Court and Supreme Court Level. He is also a member of the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia.
- Do I need to make an appointment if I want to meet with you?
- No. Ryan’s goal is to be as available to his clients as possible. No application, screening process, or advance arrangements necessary. Of course, I cannot promise to be available if you call without an appointment, but I will do my best to meet with you if I can.
- Do I have to pay any money in advance for you to handle my claim?
- No. Like almost all firms handling personal injury matters, McCardell and Associates works on a Contingency Fee basis. This means no legal fees have to be paid until your claim is resolved. At that point, our fees are paid as a percentage of the settlement funds. If we are unable to collect on your claim, you don’t pay any legal fees. Also, at McCardell & Associates, we advance the disbursements, or the costs to bring and prove your claim, to you. Again, those expenses do not have to be paid until your matter is concluded.