Do’s & Don’ts In Parked Car Accidents
In the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident with a parked car, or where someone has hit you in your parked car, it is important to understand how to react, what to do, and what not to do.
- Contact the owner of the other vehicle. If you have struck a parked and unoccupied vehicle, make all efforts to leave your contact information, even if you do not believe any damage was done to the other vehicle. Pursuant to BC’s Motor Vehicle Act, you must leave a note on the other vehicle with your contact information, or make efforts to notify the driver of the following information:
(i) the name and address of the driver, operator or other person in charge of the vehicle involved;
(ii) the name and address of the registered owner; and
(iii) the licence number.
- Take pictures immediately following the accident. While it is important to let the other driver know that there has been an accident, you do not want to be taken advantage of. Be sure that you take detailed photos of both vehicles after the accident.
- Speak to any witnesses. If there are witnesses in the vicinity of your accident, ask for their contact information, and ask them to make note of their understanding as to how the accident transpired.
- Report your accident to ICBC and to the police. Even if you believe that there was no damage to either vehicle, or if you believe the damage was below the threshold required to report to the police ($1,000), it is wise to be safe and report. It is also required to report a collision to the police if someone has been injured, regardless of the amount of damage. Sometimes, a person does not believe that he or she is injured immediately, and it only becomes apparent later that he or she has suffered whiplash or other soft tissue injuries.
- Avoid telling ICBC about the accident. If you do not tell ICBC about an accident because you have decided to try to handle it privately, ICBC may not protect you if the person you hit claims that he or she has been injured and commences a lawsuit against you.
- Leave the accident scene without leaving your contact information. You may believe that no damage was done to the other vehicle, and want to avoid the hassle altogether. However, if the other car is equipped with a camera, or the other driver in some way identifies you and disagrees whether there was any damage occasioned to the vehicle, this can cause serious problems. Leaving the scene of an accident without leaving your information can result in being charged and fined under the Motor Vehicle Act.
If You Are Injured
If you have been injured as a result of being struck while in your parked vehicle, part 7 benefits are available under your ICBC policy, as they are in any other accident, regardless of who is at fault. These are generally referred to as “no fault” benefits and include income loss benefits and medical/rehabilitative benefits to regulated maximum.
To maintain your eligibility for no fault benefits, you must follow the steps outlined in s. 97 of the Insurance Motor Vehicle Act regulations. Namely, within 30 days of the accident, you must provide ICBC written notice of the circumstances surrounding the accident and the consequences of it and within 90 days deliver to ICBC a proof of claim form.
Because part 7 benefits do not necessarily cover all losses that arise from an accident, it is important to know that you can pursue a claim against the at-fault driver (called a “tort claim”) for his or her negligence. In such a lawsuit, you can pursue compensation for all losses that you can prove arise from the accident and your injuries. This includes the full amount of any income lost due to an inability to work, and any expenses incurred for reasonable medical and rehabilitative expenses above and beyond the amount available under the no-fault scheme. Lastly, a head of damages called “non-pecuniary general damages” is available in the context of a tort claim, and is an amount awardable for general pain and suffering.
Accidents involving parked vehicles can be just as serious as those involving moving vehicles. For example, in Netter v. Baas, 1995 CanLII 2773 (BC SC), the plaintiff was parked in his vehicle when the defendant vehicle struck him from behind. The plaintiff suffered relatively serious soft tissue injuries and ongoing pain. He was awarded $55,000 in non-pecuniary general damages, and $45,000 for income loss, in addition to other compensation for various out of pocket expenses.
Fault Determination Fault in Parked Vehicle Accidents
Liability in parked vehicle situations can be more complicated than initially expected as it depends in part on the accident location – at a private parking lot, private driveway, or on a roadway. A lawyer can assess whether the third party driver may be liable and if commencing a lawsuit against the said driver is recommended.
Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation Can Help When An Injury Occurs
Contact our car accident lawyers in Vancouver and surrounding areas for assistance with ICBC accident compensation or tort compensation if you have been injured in a parking accident. We can help you get access to compensation you are entitled to and can inform you if you are uncertain of your rights and obligations. If you have a personal injury, Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation aims to make the process easier for you with many satellite offices. We can meet you in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Langley, New Westminster or Richmond to help! For more information, call us at 604-654-2250 today!