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- When is the best time to try to settle my claim?
- This depends upon what you mean by "the best time. " Do you mean "when you will likely obtain the largest settlement" or "the earliest time that you will obtain a settlement that is marginally satisfactory at best"?
It also depends upon how serious your injuries are and whether you are financially desperate or stressed by the process. If you are in a very difficult position financially, or you find that dealing with ICBC is unduly stressful, you may feel a lot of pressure to settle as soon as possible. Try to resist this temptation. Wait to negotiate—at least until you've had your injuries for several months or until a medical specialist you trust is able to predict your long-term future. If you have ongoing problems or if there is a risk that you may develop post-traumatic arthritis, a specialist may not be able to confidently predict your long-term future for two to four years after your accident. (If you insist, the specialist may be able to give a more general prediction of your future at an earlier date. )
Injury lawyers have learned from experience that ICBC generally is not prepared to pay injured people top dollars to settle their claims until a few weeks, or even days, before their trial date. Therefore injury lawyers tend to wait until as close to the trial date as possible to negotiate most of their clients' claims. You—the client—are the boss, not your lawyer. If your need to resolve your claim early outweighs your desire to obtain the largest possible settlement, you may want to negotiate earlier. You are free to ask us to try to settle earlier than we might normally negotiate a claim such as yours.