What if I Was Injured in a Car Accident as a Passenger?
People who are hurt as passengers in car accidents are sometimes confused about whether they can be compensated for their injuries. It’s understandable. Car insurance regulations in British Columbia can be complicated. Fortunately, there are several avenues of compensation possible if you were a passenger in a collision.
Determining which path to compensation is right for you will depend on the facts of your case, the severity of your injuries, and other factors. To learn your legal rights and get help filing a claim with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), contact a Vancouver passenger injury lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP today. All initial consultations are free.
Tort Claims for Passengers After a Car Accident
If a driver’s negligence caused the car accident and your injuries, you could have a tort claim against whoever is at fault. A tort claim is just another way of saying that you could file a lawsuit to claim compensation for your injuries.
In B.C., tort claims are filed against the person(s) who are responsible for the crash. This is good news for a passenger, because it’s rare for fault to rest upon someone who is not behind the wheel at the time of the crash.
As a passenger, you could be able to file a tort claim against:
- The driver of the vehicle who hit you
- The driver of the car you were riding in
Many people feel uncomfortable about suing the driver of the car they were in as a passenger. That’s because those drivers are usually family members or friends. Here’s what you need to remember: Although the driver’s name will appear on the lawsuit, it is ICBC who will be paying out your damages. In other words, you’re not pulling money out of your best friend’s wallet if he or she causes an accident, provided that your friend was properly insured.
Passengers and Part 7 Benefits
Any passenger who is hurt in a car that is registered in British Columbia can also qualify for Part 7 benefits through ICBC. These benefits can account for medical expenses, a portion of your lost wages, and homemaker services if your injuries prevent you from carrying out normal household tasks.
Part 7 benefits can be paid regardless of who is responsible for the car accident. However, they typically cannot pay for the full cost of your medical treatment, lost income, and related disability benefits. That’s where a tort claim can help.
Through a tort claim, you could be awarded the remainder of your expenses that Part 7 didn’t cover. Because these two paths to compensation can work together, it’s essential to talk to an experienced car accident lawyer before agreeing to any kind of settlement with ICBC.
What Types of Compensation Can I Get as a Passenger?
- Medical expenses: Medical expenses may include not only emergency and hospital treatment, but also physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, occupational therapy, home support, and more.
- Assistive devices: If your injuries are so severe that you need assistive devices, such as ramps, lifts on your vehicle, or other accommodations, ICBC will provide compensation for these expenses.
- Wage loss benefits: If you are unable to work as a result of the car accident, you can recoup your lost income through a settlement with ICBC.
- Homemaking benefits: You may not be able to perform all of the same tasks that you completed prior to the accident, such as cooking and cleaning. ICBC can provide compensation for these services as well.
Changes to ICBC regulations have made it more difficult for claimants to collect fair compensation for certain non-pecuniary losses, such as pain and suffering. An experienced Vancouver car accident lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP can determine an appropriate value for your claim and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Keep in mind that ICBC includes very strict timelines for all accident claims. Passengers that do not meet the deadlines may forfeit the chance to recover the compensation they need.
Do Passengers Have to File Separately After an Accident?
Yes. Passengers file injury claims apart from the drivers involved in the crash.
How to File a Claim After a Car Accident as a Passenger
The process of filing an injury claim begins with notifying ICBC of the crash. Keep it simple. Only provide:
- The driver’s license number of all involved drivers
- License plate numbers for each car
- Insurance information for any car not insured by ICBC
Don’t say anything about injuries to an ICBC representative. You may not know if you are hurt until days after a wreck.
After your crash is reported, contact a car accident lawyer. Now is the time to learn what your next steps should be towards compensation. Putting a fair value on a claim is not a guessing game. There are specific ways that a knowledgeable lawyer can determine what your case is worth. They can draw on their past clients’ results for claims similar to yours, as well as prior B.C. court decisions, to come up with an estimated value for your case.
The good news is that Warnett Hallen LLP offers free consultations to accident victims. We believe all people deserve a chance to learn their legal rights without obligation. That way, you can make an informed choice about how to best achieve your settlement goals.
How Can a Vancouver Car Accident Lawyer Help Me if I Was Injured as a Passenger?
Although ICBC provides compensation to accident victims in British Columbia, it is still a business, and a big one at that. Its representatives are trained to find ways to pay the lowest settlement amount possible. You need an accomplished lawyer who knows how to beat their tactics and obtain maximum compensation in your passenger injury claim.
When working on your case, a lawyer will collect the evidence needed to prove your injuries were caused by the car accident and why they should be compensated.
A lawyer will also review your medical records and consult with healthcare experts to determine the severity of your injuries. Consulting with these professionals can also help forecast the full extent of the treatment your injuries will require and how much they will cost, both now and in the future.
If your case goes to trial, a lawyer can also outline a strategy to give you the best chance of a successful outcome before the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
What Warnett Hallen LLP Can Do For You
Warnett Hallen LLP has been representing injured people in Vancouver and throughout B.C. for years. We understand how frustrating it can be to get fairly compensated by ICBC, and we don’t want you to go through it alone.
Reach out to us for a free consultation today. You’ll meet with a trusted Vancouver car accident lawyer who will review the facts of your case at no cost. Then we’ll discuss your legal goals and options to determine the best next steps for you.
Want knowledge, compassion, and skill on your side? Call or contact Warnett Hallen LLP for help with your ICBC passenger injury claim.