Car accidents are on the rise in British Columbia, much to the dismay of drivers everywhere. There were 260,000 car accidents in British Columbia in 2011, according to a study conducted by ICBC. By 2015, that number had increased to 300,000 – bringing the 5-year average up to a harrowing 270,000 incidents annually.
One of the most important things to understand about these situations is that ultimately, the party at fault for the accident will be determined by ICBC first. That decision can affect everything, from your eligibility for insurance benefits for any injuries you sustained to the future of your insurance status and more. Understanding how ICBC determines who is at fault is the key towards making sure you take the most appropriate course of action moving forward.
Determining Who is at Fault
ICBC’s process for determining who is at fault in an auto accident is outlined in great detail in a document called the Motor Vehicle Act. In the beginning of the process, an adjuster for ICBC will typically take statements from both you and any passengers, but also from other people involved in the accident and even eye-witnesses on the scene.
That same adjuster will likely review any police reports related to the incident, and they can visit the scene to assess certain driving conditions. They will consult with an estimator to determine damages in terms of your car and the car of others and more.
All of this information will then be compiled and the adjuster will make a good-faith effort to determine who caused the accident in the first place. Unfortunately, this can be a very challenging process and the party at fault isn’t always obvious. This is especially true if people give conflicting statements or if all actionable information isn’t readily available.
Generally speaking, this determination will be made around 30 or so days after the accident – though this can take longer depending on the circumstances. Keep in mind that you should also never admit fault for a car accident while at the scene – especially if you know that you didn’t actually cause it to take place. Though the Apology Act of British Columbia dictates that apologizing does NOT equate to legally admitting fault, it’s still a good idea to contact a licensed and experienced legal professional BEFORE making any type of definitive statements one way or the other.
We recommend you consult a lawyer before making a statement directly to ICBC.
Warnett Hallen, LLP
If ICBC determines that you were not at fault for your auto accident, it is still essential for you to understand that you have rights that need to be protected by an experienced legal professional. At Warnett Hallen, LLP, we have years of experience helping car accident victims all across British Columbia. Whether you’re talking about preparing to take your case to trial, one-on-one consultations with our principals or any other essential matter, we’ll be by your side every step of the way.
If you’d like to find out more information about car accidents in British Columbia, or if you’ve got any additional questions that you’d like to see answered, please don’t delay – contact Warnett Hallen LLP today.