Most accidents that occur out on the road in BC are dealt with through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). If you are a BC resident involved a motor vehicle accident, the claim is handled through ICBC. Your automobile insurance applies whether the motor vehicle accident was with another automobile or with a motorcycle, truck, bus, commercial vehicle, bicycle or pedestrian. ICBC insurance may apply even if the other person involved in the accident has no valid insurance or is not a BC resident. ICBC will cover you for an accident that occurred out of province or within North America.
Obtaining independent legal advice is recommended for any automobile accident involving a personal injury. Legal assistance in dealing with ICBC is recommended for injuries such as whiplash, broken bones, brain or spinal damage, and others. Each ICBC lawyer in Vancouver at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation has extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with ICBC in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Richmond, Surrey and the surrounding areas. We encourage you or your loved one to call us 24/7, as soon as possible after the accident at 604-654-2250 before contacting ICBC so we can inform you of your legal rights related to the claim.
You need the ICBC lawyer Vancouver uses
ICBC is required to provide accident benefits to you if you are a BC resident that sustains injuries in a motor vehicle accident and you meet the insurance eligibility conditions. These “no-fault” benefits are provided regardless of who was at fault for the accident. The benefits are also known as Part 7 benefits and they include coverage for such things as income replacement for lost wages, compensation for the inability to do housework, direct payment or reimbursement for medical and rehabilitation costs, to list a few of the provisions.
You will be required to apply for coverage under other benefits available to you as well, such as a private disability plan and other health benefits where you have existing policies, including from your employer or employment insurance. In some circumstances, ICBC will subtract amounts covered under other benefit plans from the accident benefits they pay to you. However, these recovery benefits are usually the smallest part of your total compensation if the other driver was at fault. As a trusted ICBC lawyer in Vancouver and area, Kenneth Cristall is committed to ensuring you fully understand all the details of ICBC accident benefits.
It is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer before contacting ICBC. Your lawyer in Vancouver or the surrounding area can report the accident to ICBC for you. The skillset and legal knowledge of a lawyer is recommended for accident reporting because ICBC will use the initial information provided to begin assessing fault. Making an ICBC claim in Vancouver or the surrounding area can be tricky. If your description of the accident leaves anything open to interpretation or you mistakenly leave out important information or do not report all your injuries fully and accurately, ICBC may use this information against you. ICBC may use any information provided to determine liability, to argue that you are in breach of your insurance policy or that you did not sustain certain injuries or are fabricating or exaggerating them. We don’t advise it, but if you already reported the claim directly to ICBC before retaining a lawyer or have plans to make this report first, we won’t turn your case away; we can still handle the rest of the case for you.
If you decide to report the accident yourself, contact with ICBC should be made as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours is best) to protect your rights to ICBC Part 7 Benefits. Call Dial-A-Claim, which is open 24 hours, 7 days a week at 604‑520‑8222 in the Lower Mainland and 1‑800‑910‑4222 in the rest of BC or outside of BC.
When calling Dial-A-Claim, you will need to be prepared to provide your general insurance information, vehicle information, vehicle driver and owner information and the licence number of vehicles involved in the accident. The Dial-A-Claim representative will also ask you for details about the accident, such as where and when the accident happened, and whether you suffered any injuries and the nature of your injuries.
The Dial-A-Claims staff may also seek to set up an appointment for you to come in and meet with an ICBC adjuster at an ICBC accidents claims centre. You are not required to attend an ICBC claims centre, however. To avoid difficulties with ICBC, you may want to ask for an appointment with an adjuster far enough in advance that will give you time to obtain legal advice. You can also take the position that you want to see your own doctor before you meet the adjuster so that you can be sure you are providing them with full and accurate information about your injuries.
If you have not already met with an ICBC adjuster within 30 days to provide a statement, you should send a written statement about the accident within 30 days, however, it is advisable to have a lawyer prepare a statement. It is advisable to send this statement with proof of delivery (e.g., with a signature requirement and keeping your dated receipt). You also must submit a completed Part 7 Accident Benefit Claim within 90 days of the accident.
When you hire Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, one of our lawyers can contact ICBC to report the information necessary. Your lawyer will provide facts and medical evidence about your accident. Your lawyer will prepare and file the written notice as needed and your Accident Benefits claim. Our office will handle any disbursements (expenses) for you and collect most or all of them from ICBC as part of your settlement.
With your lawyer hired to protect your legal rights, your focus should be on getting treatment for your recovery. It is critical to see your family doctor as soon as possible after the accident if you have not done so already even if you obtained medical care in the hospital. Otherwise, ICBC could later argue that you were not seriously injured because you didn’t make seeking medical attention a priority or that you are responsible for aggravating your injuries because you failed to seek treatment where it was available.
Damages or Compensation Due to the Other Driver’s Negligence
Compensation will be awarded in accordance with the injuries incurred as a result of the other party’s negligence. In other words, when fault of the other driver is established, “damages” are awarded to you as a result of your tort claim. If the accident was not your fault or not entirely your fault, you are entitled to monetary damages in accordance with a number of headings, such as pain and suffering, past and future wage loss, out of pocket losses, medical care and rehabilitation*. Damage claims are paid by the insurance company for the driver, usually as a result of a settlement and, in rare occasions, as a result of a trial. Usually, the at fault compensation is the significant portion of funds received from a personal injury accident.
*Some expenses, however, will be paid under “No Fault Benefits” under your insurance policy.
An assessment of fault (or liability) is needed to determine the extent of personal injury damages awards. Compensation for fault is awarded to you to the extent that you were not liable for the accident. If the other driver is 100% responsible for causing the accident, then you are entitled to receive 100% of your losses from the at fault driver’s insurance plan. If the other driver is found to be 75% responsible for causing the accident and you were found 25% responsible, then your entitlement is reduced to 75% of your losses. Sometimes, liability is shared equally and you are entitled to 50% of your losses. If you are found to be more than 25% at fault for the accident, your ICBC safe driver’s discount may also be affected. “No Fault Benefits” are not affected by liability.
If there is a dispute about who caused the accident or the extent each party was responsible and there are two or more motor vehicles involved, ICBC will open two files and assign a different adjuster to each driver. The adjusters will negotiate with each other on behalf of the drivers to determine how liability should be split (called apportionment of liability). In these cases, there is no assurance the adjusters will investigate fully or even interview witnesses before deciding about liability. Further, there is no assurance that adjusters will put any weight on a passenger’s evidence unless it helps the driver of the other vehicle. ICBC will make its own decision about liability for an accident, which is one of the reasons why it is important to have your lawyer in contact with ICBC; your lawyer will put pressure on ICBC to make a fair assessment and compensation settlement for you.
Challenging ICBC Liability Determination
When ICBC makes a decision about liability the decision is not binding on you unless you choose to accept it. Again, this is where having a lawyer is beneficial. If you disagree with ICBC’s decision, you can challenge the decision but the onus of proving the decision is wrong is placed on you and ICBC’s determination will stand if you cannot prove otherwise.
If you wish to challenge an ICBC liability determination, two approaches are available. You may request an ICBC internal review or commence a lawsuit against the other party (but not ICBC) in Small Claims Court or the Supreme Court for a determination on liability. If you choose the option to sue the other party, hiring a lawyer is highly recommended because ICBC will appoint a lawyer to represent the other driver(s) you are suing. Often, your lawyer will bring forth the necessary evidence to convince ICBC to adjust their view of liability, such that it no longer becomes necessary to commence a law suit.
The Importance of Hiring a Lawyer to Deal with ICBC
If you sustain personal injuries from an automobile accident, a Vancouver or Lower Mainland lawyer at Kenneth Cristall can best protect you legally against ICBC. We seek to recover the most damages for you for your accident injuries and emotional distress. Our lawyers at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation know ICBC policies thoroughly and we can represent you against ICBC. Our lawyers work to ensure you receive all the Part 7 Accident Benefits you are eligible for and help you to obtain fair compensation when the other party is at fault. We can assess your situation and advise you when we provide your free initial consultation.
Once retained, we will contact ICBC promptly on your behalf, to avoid you losing any benefits. We will also prepare and file your legal case if needed, depending on how soon ICBC makes a reasonable settlement offer. With your help, we will gather the facts concerning your claim. We can interview and take statements from witnesses and may hire experts to help establish liability of the other party. We will consult with medical specialists to determine the extent of your injuries and review how the law applies to the particular facts in your case. We will fight for you, to resolve any disputes with the insurance company and get you the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
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Call a Car Accident Lawyer in Vancouver and Surrounding Area
Our law firm we will work on your case only and not for ICBC defence. We’re on your side on a contingency fee basis, which means we never collect fees unless we recover funds for you. When you need an experienced ICBC lawyer in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Richmond, Langley and Surrey, call us right away at 604‑654‑2250. We can deal with ICBC, and we'll help you on your road to recovery.