Preetka Brar was a grade 7 teacher on the road to becoming an elementary school principal when she steered onto the prestigious path of practicing law. She founded her Surrey-based law firm, Brar Law, and practices exclusively in the area of Personal Injury. Preetka’s story serves as a reminder that we can continuously further our professional lives and can have multiple careers in one lifetime. Find out what made her become an ICBC lawyer, what ultimately drove her to open up her own practice and the knowledge and experiences she gained along the way.
Why personal injury law?
I have a personal issue with insurance companies. As the eldest of four children, I had the responsibility of assisting my disabled father with his lengthy insurance claim applications and handling his routine denial letters. At a young age, I quickly learned the frustration that came with the entire process and the imbalance of power that can occur when there isn’t a lawyer there to assist you. Dealing directly with ICBC is stressful forinjured persons and it is important to level the playing field by hiring a lawyer. I deal with a great number of claims each day, but with each client I come into contact with, I am reminded of my father’s struggle and my ultimate goal is to assist injured clients with their insurance claims. At Brar Law, if you have been injured we are on your side and deal with ICBC for you.
Why did you decide to defend ICBC claims?
Knowledge is power. I was practicing exclusively in the area of ICBC personal injury claims for injured victims in the lower mainland for several years when I had the opportunity to work at one the top insurance Defence firms in Canada. I took the leap of faith and embraced the journey of working on the Defence side to learn how ICBC managed litigated files. My new client became ICBC and not the injured victim. This was a strategic career move. I became one of their own and took instructions from adjusters, who just a year ago I was arguing with from the other side. I ventured to the “dark side” as some of my colleagues call it. Now that I have worked on both sides I have a strong foundation to help my clients. Brar Law is a personal injury firm where we specialize exclusively in ICBC injury claims and we act only for injured persons.
What made you go from an ICBC defense lawyer to opening a private practice?
I am an entrepreneur at heart. I was practicing on my own prior to joining the downtown firm and then returned back to practicing on my own. The grass always looks greener on the other side. However, I quickly realized I enjoyed the business aspect of law and assisting injured persons rather than defending the insurance company and meeting billable targets every month. I returned to my roots determined to serve the community where I grew up. I want to give back by helping my community and that gives me personal satisfaction.
What is Brar Law’s mission statement?
We understand how stressful it can be dealing with ICBC on your own. The process for many injured clients is daunting and our goal is to work with our clients as a team. Consulting with a lawyer is intimidating for many and at Brar Law, our mission is to provide exceptional service to our community and successfully obtain a higher settlement from ICBC in a timely manner for our injured clients.
What advice do you have for people who are considering changing careers but feel hesitant?
What do you want to be when you grow up? Is not a question that has only one answer. Yes, some do have a clear answer and pursue that one career and are very happy with what they do for a life time but some do not know. I agree it can be scary switching careers especially with looming financial responsibilities. I followed my inner voice and that led me to my calling in life. I believed I could and I did. Sometimes you find yourselfin just the right place at just the right time.
3 QUICK TIPS FOR HANDLING AN ICBC CLAIM
1. Consult a personal injury lawyer before speaking to ICBC
2. If you are injured see your family doctor or walk in clinic as soon as possible and follow what the doctor is advising you to do, such as physiotherapy treatment
3. Do not sign ICBC documents such as statement, authorizations, or settlement release until you fully understand what you are signing. If you are unsure consult a personal injury lawyer