Frequently Asked Questions About ICBC Claims in Vancouver
Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”) provides all British Columbian drivers with automobile insurance that includes no-fault accident benefits. This means if you become injured in a motor vehicle accident, you are entitled to medical treatment and rehabilitation benefits as well as wage-loss assistance from an ICBC claim. These benefits are available regardless of who is at-fault for the accident.
For the purpose of this blogpost, “ICBC Claims” refers to these no-fault accident benefits claims. In addition to these benefits, you may be entitled to additional compensation through a tort claim for pain and suffering and any losses not covered by the accident benefits claim. However, this post will discuss only the frequently asked questions about the ICBC claims.
Who Can Make a Claim?
In British Columbia, everyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident is entitled to make a claim with ICBC, including an at-fault driver, not at-fault driver, passenger, cyclist or pedestrian involved in a motor vehicle accident. If someone involved in the accident is killed in the accident, the family members of that accident victim may be entitled to additional benefits.
When Do I Have to File My Claim?
A motor vehicle accident should be reported to police and ICBC right away (with 24 hours is ideal). If you are injured in an accident, you must also provide a statement within 30 days of the accident and complete an ICBC claim form within 90 days of the accident. An ICBC injury lawyer in Vancouver can assist you with the application process.
How Can a Lawyer Assist With the ICBC Claim Process?
There are many ways in which an injury lawyer can assist you with your claim. In addition to being the point of contact with ICBC and helping you complete ICBC claim forms, your lawyer will provide the appropriate records to ICBC to prove your claim and advise you throughout the process. Personal injury lawyers in Vancouver at our law firm are experienced in ICBC rules and general practices. We can advise you of rights you might not know of. ICBC adjusters have no obligation to inform you of your entitlements.
If I Hire a Lawyer, Will it Negatively Impact My ICBC Claim?
Although all ICBC adjusters are required to treat your case the same whether or not you hire a lawyer, having a lawyer can be particularly beneficial. Knowing you are represented by legal counsel should prevent the adjuster from trying to convince you to accept options that are not in your best interest. Your lawyer will seek to ensure you receive the treatment and wage-loss protection you require.
What Kind of Compensation/Benefits Can I Anticipate?
Injured accident victims can potentially receive both medical rehabilitation benefits and wage-loss protection from ICBC. ICBC is required to pay all reasonable and necessary expenses for medical, surgical, dental, hospital, ambulance and professional nursing services, physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, occupational therapy and speech therapy, prosthesis or orthosis. ICBC may pay for the following treatments if it is in their opinion that it will likely promote rehabilitation: vocational training, home care, medical equipment, alterations to your residence, and a specially equipped vehicle.
If you are unable to return to work following the accident you may also qualify for wage-loss assistance, which is calculated at the lower of $300 per week or 75 percent of your pre-accident income for the duration of your disability, up to 104 weeks. Beyond 104 weeks, you can only receive wage loss benefits if your disability makes you unable to do any job that you are suited for based on your age, education and experience.
If you are a homemaker responsible for the majority of housekeeping in your household and you are unable to perform most of your regular household tasks, then homemaker benefits may be paid to you for a maximum of $145 per week for the duration of your disability, up to 104 weeks if your disability arises within 20 days of the accident. A seven day waiting period applies to these benefits.
If a death has resulted from the motor vehicle accident, death benefits (including burial and funeral expenses up to $2500 and survivor benefits for dependents) are payable.
How Long Will it Take?
Most no-fault ICBC benefits can begin almost immediately after the accident. If the benefits are stopped by ICBC, your lawyer may begin a court action to obtain an order from a judge forcing ICBC to pay your benefits. The length of this process can vary depending on the circumstances.
What If I Can’t Afford a Lawyer?
Many lawyers that deal with ICBC claims, including the Vancouver lawyers at Paine Edmonds LLP, provide services on a contingency fee basis. A contingency fee means that you are not required to pay any money up front at the start of your claim. In fact, you usually only have to pay if the lawyer is successful in negotiating a settlement or obtaining a court judgment in your favour.
Does ICBC Have to Pay Me Additional If I Retain a Lawyer?
ICBC is required to pay a contribution to your legal fees, which means ICBC will pay some but not all of your legal fees, usually approximately 40-50 percent. Additionally, unrepresented applicants often receive less than they would if they were represented by counsel, as they are not aware of or unable to fight for their rights.
Contact Paine Edmonds LLP, ICBC Injury Lawyers in Vancouver
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact a trusted ICBC lawyer in Vancouver for advice as soon as possible. Paine Edmonds LLP has proudly served injured accident victims for over 70 years. We can answer any questions you may have. Contact us at 1-800-669-8599 to set up a free consultation today.