Oh, how personal injury lawyers are lambasted in popular culture. From being characterized as ambulance chasers to leaches, personal injury lawyers get a bad rap.
In one little-known episode of airplane hijacking, a group of terrorists hijacked a plane full of attorneys on their way to a personal injury conference. When contacted by hostage negotiators, the terrorists threatened to release “one personal injury attorney every hour unless our demands are met.”
But let’s face it, when you get injured, you want somebody in your corner making sure your legal rights are protected.
Personal injury law is the body of law developed around situations where someone suffers harm (the plaintiff) and someone else (the defendant) might be responsible for that harm through the application of the laws of negligence.
Just as you don’t do things that could harm your neighbour, you need to take care when doing things that you could expect would harm somebody if you didn’t take care. That’s what lawyers call having a duty of care and will give rise to liability if you breach that duty.
Common examples where negligence can be found include car accidents, employer-employee relations, doctor-patient, and manufacturer-consumer. If the responsible party ignores the risk to others, and a plaintiff is injured, the defendant could be found liable at law and have to compensate the plaintiff.
In British Columbia, the most common personal injury cases involve a motor vehicle and the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.
It’s important to remember that ICBC is an insurance company – that means they represent the insured party (the defendant driver) and not the driver or pedestrian who was struck by the defendant (the injured plaintiff).
If you want someone in your corner, best to hire a lawyer who answers only to you and will make sure your rights are protected.