What To Do After A Car Accident
Car accidents happen every day in British Columbia and the damage can range in scope from minor to severe. Accidents involving property damage less than $1,000 can be reported at the local police collision centre and, for any further damage, including injuries, the police should be called to the scene.
You are required to report the accident to police and to your insurance (within 24-48 hours is best) even if you don’t make an insurance claim. The police will record what happened according to the drivers and any other witnesses, visit and observe the accident scene, note the available evidence, issue a ticket to one or both of the drivers where it seems warranted, and arrest a person when applicable, and make a diagram of the accident in making a police report, but not always depending on availability.
If your insurance policy is valid and in good standing, you will be entitled to make an insurance claim through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) for the car accident; it makes no difference whether the auto collision involved a car, 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. In some cases, ICBC will cover you for an accident that occurred in Canada or the United States.
If You are Not Injured
If you are certain that there are no injuries resulting from the accident, you can report the accident yourself by contacting ICBC. ICBC’s Dial-A-Claim number is 604-520-8222 in Lower Mainland and 1-800-910-4222 in the rest of BC or outside of BC, and it is open 24/7.
If You are Injured
If you are injured from the accident, it is recommended that you contact a lawyer immediately, who can report the accident to ICBC for you. We won’t turn your case away if you already reported the accident to ICBC or plan to, but recommend that you come speak with us first because how you handle the case from the outset can affect the outcome. The skill set and legal knowledge of a lawyer is recommended for accident reporting because ICBC will use the information you provide to minimize your claim. ICBC has a positive duty to keep down costs for policy holders and, as a public institution, to lessen the burden on taxpayers. A lawyer that represents you legally can level the playing field.
Once ICBC is notified of the accident, an adjuster will be assigned. The adjuster will likely call you to confirm your address in order to mail a package of forms to you and then casually ask you what happened. Aside from confirming your name, address and insurance policy number, it’s best that you direct any ICBC inquires to your lawyer to avoid somehow incriminating yourself about the accident. The adjuster will ask you to come in to sign a statement about the accident but you are not obliged to meet them. Your lawyer will help you deal effectively with ICBC as he or she is familiar with ICBC strategies, including their efforts to try to minimize and close claims quickly and efficiently.
Submit the Necessary Forms On Time
To qualify for accident claim coverage, a written statement about the accident must be provided within 30 days. Your lawyer can prepare and send this statement or review what you would like to send with you. The statement should be sent with proof of delivery (e.g., with a signature requirement and dated receipt kept). A completed Part 7 Insurance Claim Application must also be submitted within 90 days of the accident.
Focus On Injury Recovery
Once your lawyer is hired to protect your legal interests, 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.
Hire a Lawyer to Represent You
It is critical to obtain independent legal advice if you are injured from an automobile accident. You need a personal injury lawyer that works only on injured parties cases and not for ICBC defence as well. Our lawyers at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation can represent you solely. We provide a free consultation wherever and whenever it is convenient for you.
When you hire a lawyer at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation, your lawyer will contact ICBC to report the necessary information and follow all the required time deadlines, including the limitation period to file a personal injury lawsuit where you have a case. 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, resolving any disputes with ICBC and get you the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
Our car accident lawyers at Kenneth Cristall Law Corporation have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with ICBC accident claims in Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, 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 entitlements and prepare you with independent legal advice about your claim.