Vancouver Car Accident FAQs
Warnett Hallen LLP can help you through the stress and confusion that follows a Vancouver car accident. Our personal injury attorneys have dedicated their careers to fighting for fair compensation for accident victims throughout British Columbia.
We can help you, too. The following frequently asked questions will provide general information about car accidents in B.C. For specific advice about your case, please schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers.
Contact us to arrange your case evaluation today.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Involved In A Vancouver Car Accident?
Car accidents can be disorienting. However, there are ways that you can protect your legal rights in the midst of the confusion.
- Check for injuries: Always check yourself and any others involved in the accident for injuries. Call for emergency help immediately if someone is hurt.
- Get medical attention immediately: Visit your doctor as soon as possible after the accident, even if you feel fine. Many serious injuries can have a delayed onset. Seeing a doctor can prevent unseen injuries from worsening. In addition, getting prompt medical attention will tell the insurance company that you did everything in your power to avoid making your injuries worse.
- Take photos and/or videos: Document the accident scene while the evidence is still present. Take pictures of the vehicles from multiple angles. Get shots of any skid marks, missing signage, traffic signals, and environmental conditions that may have contributed to the wreck. Also take photos of your injuries throughout the healing process.
- Keep a journal: Memories fade over time. Write down everything you remember about the car accident while it’s still fresh. Continue to document the recovery process with notes about your condition, emotional state, and information from doctor’s appointments. Share this with your lawyer only.
- Notify ICBC: Every B.C. driver is required to have insurance through the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). By law, you must report your accident, regardless of whether you intend to file a claim or not.
- Hire an experienced Vancouver car accident attorney: If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a crash, handling an ICBC claim by yourself is not recommended. At Warnett Hallen LLP, our lawyers can examine the facts, determine what your case is worth, and fight so that you aren’t shortchanged by ICBC or another private insurance company.
The steps you take in the days, weeks, and months after a car crash in Vancouver can be very important to the ultimate outcome of your case. Reporting to ICBC is essential, but the way the case is presented can dramatically impact the amount of compensation you will receive. Call or contact us now to learn more about protecting your rights.
How Do I Know if I Need An ICBC Lawyer?
Not all accident claims require the help of an ICBC lawyer. If you’ve been in a small crash and there were no injuries, you’re probably fine managing the ICBC claim yourself. However, there are certain circumstances in which having an attorney is essential.
Consider hiring an ICBC lawyer in Vancouver if:
- Your injuries are serious: If you or a family member suffered serious or catastrophic injuries in a car crash, you could be facing a future with ongoing medical needs and a limited ability to work. A skilled car accident attorney will be able to estimate future costs and argue for your final award to include compensation to account for those needs.
- The accident involved multiple parties: Crashes involving more than one vehicle automatically become more complex. For one thing, you’ll be dealing with multiple insurance companies, and not necessarily all parties will have ICBC insurance if they are from outside the province. In addition, the fault for the crash may not involve other drivers, but perhaps a government entity. The deadlines for filing claims against those parties are very different, so you need to consult with a lawyer to make sure you take advantage of all avenues of compensation.
- You’re concerned about a settlement offer you’ve received: If you’ve already initiated the claims process on your own, you may have received a settlement offer from ICBC and/or another private insurer. If the offer seems low, you could be right. Speak to a lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP right away so that you don’t settle for less than what you are due.
- ICBC is claiming that your injuries are minor: Recent changes to car insurance laws in British Columbia have made it more difficult for claimants to obtain compensation for serious injuries. If the severity of your injuries is being challenged, consult with an experienced ICBC lawyer to figure out your next steps.
Dealing with ICBC can be tricky, and you need to proceed with caution at every step. That’s where an ICBC lawyer in Vancouver can provide the all-important support for your claim to give it the best chance of success.
How Will Hiring a Lawyer Affect My ICBC Claim?
Your insurance claim with ICBC won’t be affected negatively if you choose to seek legal representation. In fact, studies have shown that those who promptly retain a lawyer receive a higher settlement than those who decide to handle their claim on their own.
At Warnett Hallen LLP, we will investigate your claim and obtain the evidence needed to prove who was at fault in the crash and why they should be held financially liable.
Potential sources of evidence include:
- Medical records
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Photos of your injuries and the accident scene
- Video surveillance from the crash site
- Testimony from experts who can attest to the severity of the injuries and their impact on your life
ICBC will also be performing its own investigation of the case. But their aim is to find evidence to reduce your claim for compensation or deny it altogether. The more evidence that your car accident attorney has to submit, the stronger your claim becomes.
At Warnett Hallen LLP, we have decades of experience working on cases just like yours. You can count on us to make you a priority and seek the justice you deserve.
I Can’t Afford a Lawyer. Now What?
Warnett Hallen LLP works on a contingency fee basis. That means that you don’t have to pay any upfront costs for our car accident lawyers to work on your case. We only get paid if we obtain a successful verdict or settlement on your behalf.
There are several advantages of this fee agreement:
- You get legal help regardless of your ability to pay: Justice should not be limited to those with the means to pay right away. With Warnett Hallen LLP, you’ll get high-quality legal help that will fight for your claim to be settled as quickly and fairly as possible.
- You can rest assured that your Vancouver car accident lawyer believes your case has a good chance for success: No attorney can guarantee that your case will win. However, when Warnett Hallen LLP accepts a case, you can trust that we have confidence that the claim is a valid one. The financial risk is on us — not you — because we won’t earn anything unless your case prevails.
In addition, our fee structure is spelled out in writing when you sign a retainer agreement in compliance with the rules of the Law Society of British Columbia.
What Is a Fair Car Accident Settlement?
Our motto at Warnett Hallen LLP is “settle for more.” That means reaching full and fair ICBC car accident settlements for our clients. An appropriate settlement amount is usually enough to cover the cost of your medical expenses, lost pay, anticipated future costs, pain and suffering, and any other losses you have sustained because of the wreck.
Damages you can seek compensation for typically include:
- Medical bills
- Hospital or urgent care fees
- Occupational therapy
- Psychological services
- Chiropractic care
- Lost wages
- Vehicle damage
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Permanent disability
The key to success in any car accident claim is proving that the other party was negligent. This is accomplished by providing airtight evidence of fault. Working with an accomplished attorney at Warnett Hallen LLP, you can trust that your case will be prepared with the best possible outcome in mind.
If ICBC refuses to pay or offers less than we believe you deserve, our experienced trial lawyers won’t hesitate to file a lawsuit and take your case to court. Our litigators have a successful track record fighting for our clients at trial. We’ll fight for you, too.
How Long Is the Car Accident Claims Process?
The time it takes to resolve a car accident claim varies. Our Vancouver ICBC lawyers always work to obtain settlements as quickly as possible for clients. However, cases do evolve. If ICBC disputes your claim, it may require the collection of additional evidence to obtain the best results.
You can expect the case to take longer if it goes to trial. A claim can be filed in a lower court or in the Supreme Court of British Columbia within two years of the date of the accident.
There are strict procedures that must be followed during the trial process, all of which can add to the duration of the claim. The attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP will discuss all of the risks and benefits of trial with you before making any decisions in your case.
As long as treatment is still medically necessary and you’re still accruing healthcare expenses, making a final settlement demand will be put on hold. We want to make sure you’re fully recovered or have improved as much as possible so we know the exact amount of benefits to seek.
How Will The Recent Changes to ICBC Laws Impact Me?
The laws regarding payouts for injury claims and the process for resolving disputes recently changed in British Columbia. As of April 1, 2019, ICBC placed a cap of $5,500 on payouts for pain and suffering claims for minor injuries, as defined by BC law. ICBC will assess (based on a medical professional’s opinion) whether or not the injuries you’ve suffered are considered minor or serious.
If you dispute ICBC’s assessment of the severity of your injuries, there is a new independent dispute resolution panel that evaluates your claim. Disputes will have to be heard by the online Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), which will make decisions based on the facts of your case. You can be represented by a car accident lawyer before the CRT.
So, what does this mean if you’ve been hurt in a crash? For one thing, the $5,500 cap on pain and suffering claims means that it will become more difficult for crash victims to secure the fair compensation they need after an accident. Also, the process for disputing an unfair or inaccurate injury designation is also more complex with the implementation of the CRT. That’s why having an attorney from the start of your case is a smart plan.
What if the Other Driver Was Uninsured?
If the other driver involved in your car accident has no insurance, you can file a claim on your own ICBC policy. Uninsured motorist insurance provides benefits to injured drivers regardless of fault in British Columbia.
However, there are limitations for when ICBC will pay damages. For this reason, it’s important for you to contact one of Warnett Hallen LLP’s injury attorneys for a free consultation.
More Questions? Warnett Hallen LLP Has The Answers
When you’ve been injured, you need answers about your legal options — and fast. You can count on Warnett Hallen LLP to give you the facts, including how our law firm can help you recover from your Vancouver car accident. Our goal is to obtain the compensation you need to restore your financial security and personal wellbeing.
Ready to talk? Our legal team is available to speak with you 24/7. We’ll give you an honest assessment about your claim and discuss all possible sources of compensation for your injuries and losses.
Call or contact us right away to arrange your free consultation. Whether you choose to hire a lawyer or not, you can relax knowing that you’ve investigated all of your legal options.