Paine Edmonds LLP - Blog
Auto Accidents in Vancouver and Common Makes Made on Your ICBC Claims
ICBC injury claims are those injury claims arising out of the use or operation of a motor vehicle on a highway, not only in Vancouver but throughout British
Columbia (B.C.). Typically, injured persons are drivers, passengers, pedestrians or cyclists, although this list is not exhaustive. If you’re looking
to file an ICBC claim because of an
Filing Auto Accident Claims
ICBC injury claims commonly involve an ICBC accident benefits claim and a tort claim for a personal injury case. The accident benefits claim must be provided
to an insured person by ICBC regardless of who was at fault for the accident. These benefits are often referred to as “no fault” benefits or “Part
7” benefits because they are set out in Part 7 of the Regulations to the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act of B.C..
The tort claim is against the owners and drivers of all vehicles that caused or contributed to the accident. The injured party must establish some degree
of fault on the part of those who caused or contributed to the accident.
Under the law of negligence, you cannot recover in damages the portion of your injuries and loss caused by your own fault (lawyers call this contributory
negligence). Consequently, if you are found to be partially at fault for the accident or if you are found to have contributed to your own injuries
(as may be the case for failing to wear a seatbelt) your compensation will be reduced to the extent that your own fault contributed to the accident
and your injury.
When dealing with ICBC, it is important to remember that is in their best interests not to pay your claim, either by denying it outright or by undervaluing
the amount of compensation you deserve. To help you, five mistakes to avoid when filing your ICBC claim follow below.
Mistake #1: Not Getting Medical Attention After An Accident
Anytime you have suffered an injury, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if your injury is minor, have it checked out by your family
doctor, and follow instructions precisely for follow up care or treatment. If you go to a walk-in clinic, make sure you see the same doctor for any
follow up visits. Any award of medical or rehabilitative benefits from ICBC will be based largely on your medical records and reports from your doctor.
Do not downplay any symptoms, refuse any testing, or rule out any potentially long-term ramifications as the result of your injury.
Mistake #2: Failing To Notify ICBC After Your Accident
You are required to notify ICBC within 24 hours of being involved in an accident. Even if it was a seemingly minor accident, a hit and run, or occurred
outside of B.C., still report your claim to ICBC. Be ready when you report to ICBC by having the details of the accident handy. Be prepared to explain
when and where the accident happened, the license plate numbers of any vehicles involved, driver’s license numbers for each driver, your preferred
auto body shop, and your ICBC policy number. If any drivers were involved who were covered by an insurer other than ICBC, get complete information
on the policy.
Mistake #3: Implicating Yourself As Being Partly To Blame For The Accident
When reporting your claim, be sure not to implicate yourself or admit any type of fault for the accident. In determining fault for an ICBC car accident
claim, your ICBC claims adjuster will rely on your statement, police reports, witness statements, and accident scene investigations. The adjuster will
then make a determination that you were either at fault, not at fault, or partially at fault for the accident.
If it is determined you were not at fault, the ICBC claims adjuster will then determine the amount of benefits to be awarded. If you were either at fault
or even partially at fault, your claim can be reduced or denied, and your monthly premiums may also rise. It is to the advantage of ICBC to determine
you were somehow to blame. It saves them money in paying out a claim, while also making them money in terms of increased premiums.
Mistake #4: Signing An ICBC Statement Without Reading It
Any remarks or descriptions you make to ICBC can be considered a statement. Your ICBC claims adjuster will often prepare a formal statement of everything
you have told them regarding the accident, and ask you to sign it. Under no circumstances are you compelled to sign anything without first having it
looked over by an experienced injury lawyer.
If you sign the statement and then realize any part of it is incorrect or inaccurate, ICBC can rightly point to your signature as an endorsement of the
statement. Any comments, descriptions, or explanations you have made can be used as a reason to either deny or undervalue your claim. Always take the
time to read any documents thoroughly before signing, and protect yourself and your interests by consulting with a lawyer before making any statements.
Mistake #5: Settling Your Case Without A Lawyer
ICBC and your claims adjuster will take the attitude that they are working on your behalf and have your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this is
simply not true. ICBC does not only represent you – they also represent the other driver. The job performance of your claims adjuster will be judged
in terms of how well they have succeeded in keeping costs down, both in terms of claims settlements, but also regarding the money spent investigating
your claim. You may get the impression that you either do not need a lawyer, or that ICBC is somehow saving you money by eliminating the need for you
to get legal representation. Again, this is false.
Contact Paine Edmonds LLP, Car Accident Injury Lawyers in Vancouver
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, it is important to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. Our auto accident injury lawyers in Vancouver have tremendous experience in dealing with ICBC lawyers in Vancouver. Contact us for
information on your legal rights and to help avoid costly mistakes. Call us at 1-800-669-8599.