Car Accident Settlement Process in Vancouver, BC
Being involved in a car accident is among the most traumatic events you can experience. Too often, car accidents are caused by another motorist’s negligence and result in serious injuries. If you’ve been involved in a car accident in British Columbia, it’s critical that you promptly file a claim to seek compensation for your injuries.
The claims process can be complicated and involve many parties. You may be asked to fill out forms or provide releases for your personal information. The experienced Vancouver car accident lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP are committed to protecting your rights and looking after your best interests. We can help you seek compensation from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).
Below we have outlined the typical auto accident settlement process to help guide you during this difficult time. If you have any questions about the ICBC settlement process in Vancouver, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable and experienced lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP.
The Car Accident Settlement Process in BC
At Warnett Hallen LLP, we realize that no two car accidents are exactly alike. We look at the facts of each case as we determine the types of ICBC claims that may be available to our clients. In many car accident cases, these claims include:
- Accident benefits claim – Also known as a “Part 7” or “no-fault” benefits claim, you can file an accident benefits claim with ICBC no matter who was at fault in the collision.
- Tort claim – Also known as a personal injury claim, you can file a tort claim if the negligent motorist caused an accident that injured you.
A lawyer can advise you on which type of claim to file, based on the circumstances surrounding your accident and the damages you have sustained. While no-fault benefits can help cover your medical care and wage loss, you may be able to recover compensation for more damages through a tort claim. You can seek damages for your lost wages, loss of your future earnings, your future care, and pain and suffering through a tort claim.
The car accident settlement process in British Columbia usually involves the following steps:
- Filing a claim with ICBC.
- Seeking medical attention for your injuries.
- Investigating the accident.
- Reviewing an offer from ICBC to resolve your claim.
- Negotiating for more compensation.
- Proceeding with filing a legal claim.
Once you settle your tort claim, you will be unable to make future tort claims related to the same accident, even if you later discover new injuries. You will also be required to sign a release of claims as a condition of the car accident settlement before you can receive your settlement funds.
You have the right to hire a lawyer to help you through the vehicle accident settlement process. Your lawyer can advise you on whether it is in your best interests to accept a settlement or proceed with legal action.
Benefits of Settling After a Car Accident
After a car accident, ICBC accident benefits are available to drivers and passengers of the vehicles involved. To access these, you will need to file an accident benefits claim with ICBC. Securing these funds will help you pay for medical expenses and reimburse you for lost wages.
Other benefits of settling after a car accident include:
- Avoiding the hassle and stress of a trial
- Protecting your privacy by privately resolving the case
- Achieving certainty regarding your compensation instead of leaving it up to the court to decide
- Receiving the funds you need sooner to cover your medical expenses and lost wages
Factors to Consider Before Agreeing to a Settlement
Determining the value of your car crash and its resulting losses is never as straightforward as it seems. Most people don’t take all of their losses into account, especially when it comes to medical expenses. A seasoned car accident injury lawyer will be able to assess the full value of your present and future medical expenses and lost wages. It’s important that you talk to a qualified car accident lawyer prior to accepting a settlement offer so that you understand the real value of your claim.
ICBC evaluates the extent of your losses in many ways. Factors that contribute to a settlement offer include:
- The severity of your injuries
- Your degree of disability
- Possibility of recovery
- Attempts to reduce harm
- Lost wages
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Your age
- Future needs
- Legal representation
- Pain and suffering
How Long Can the Settlement Process Take?
Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer to this question. Each car accident case is unique. The time it takes to settle your case will depend on a number of factors. Additionally, you will usually need to recover as much as possible from your injuries so you know the full extent of your damages. By working with an experienced car accident lawyer, you can expedite your settlement and take the steps needed to maximize your settlement.
How Can a Lawyer Help Me Through the Process?
An experienced and knowledgeable Vancouver car accident lawyer can assist you throughout the entire process and work directly with the ICBC claims adjuster on your behalf.
If you do not have a lawyer working to protect your interests, ICBC may take steps to access your medical records, or even consult with your employer. The information they gather could later be used to minimize your claim. A committed car accident lawyer will do their best to make sure that ICBC only has access to the information they need to process your claim.
In addition to working directly with ICBC on your behalf, your attorney will:
- Thoroughly investigate your accident to gather evidence to support your case.
- Consult with experts who can help determine fault in your case and support the amount of compensation you’re owed.
- Help you get the medical treatment you need.
- Negotiate assertively for the recovery you need.
- Prepare to take your case to court, if necessary.
We know that a serious car accident can upend your life. At Warnett Hallen LLP, our car accident lawyers will take the burden of a complex car accident claim off your shoulders and dedicate ourselves to securing the full and fair compensation that you’re owed.
Contact a British Columbia Car Accident Lawyer
At Warnett Hallen LLP, our goal is to get you the most favorable outcome possible for your car accident claim. Having a skilled lawyer on your side after a car accident is a step you can take toward maximizing your chances of a successful ICBC claim. Allow our firm to handle your case so you can focus on what’s most important: your health and recovery. Call now or complete our online contact form for a free, no-obligation consultation.