ICBC Claims in Vancouver
Anyone who’s been in a car accident in British Columbia is familiar with ICBC. All B.C. drivers are required to purchase auto insurance through the corporation to provide basic coverage if someone is injured in a crash, regardless of fault.
The Basic Autoplan through ICBC should pay for medical expenses and lost wages for accident victims, but getting proper compensation after filing a claim is not always a simple process. There are many ways that an ICBC claim can get hung up, preventing injured people from receiving the accident benefits they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident in Vancouver or anywhere in British Columbia, the ICBC lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP, can assist you with filing a claim and handling any disputes that may arise. Whether your injuries were temporary or permanently disabling, our experienced attorneys will fight so that you get the compensation —and peace of mind — that you are owed.
Call (604) 265-7900 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Types of ICBC Claims
There are three types of ICBC claims that you can make after you have been in an accident. They include claims for:
- Part VII benefits: These are ICBC’s no-fault benefits. They provide compensation for medical expenses, partial wage replacement, and household support benefits for anyone who is injured in a vehicle accident, no matter who is to blame. Part VII also provides funeral and death benefits if a family member has been killed in a crash.
- Tort claims: You can take action against a negligent driver by filing an ICBC tort claim. This could be an avenue for compensation for you as long as you were not entirely responsible for the crash. A successful tort claim can provide compensation for medical expenses and wage loss that exceeded the limits of your own ICBC accident benefits coverage, as well as pain and suffering. Even motorists who are partly at fault for a crash can file a tort claim.
- Vehicle damage: You may have an ICBC claim for property damage if you are either not at fault for the accident or have collision coverage. If you chose to purchase collision coverage through another insurer, you will need to check with them about handling that aspect of your claim.
Recent changes to ICBC insurance laws means that the amounts of compensation possible for accident victims may differ depending on the date the accident occurred. For that reason, it’s important to contact our Vancouver ICBC lawyers to determine how much you could be entitled to after your accident.
Reporting Your Car Accident to ICBC
It’s important to take note of certain time limits involving your ICBC claim. The most important deadline is how long you have to file a claim if you have been injured in an accident.
- You have 2 years from the date of the crash to file an ICBC claim. This is also the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit against a negligent driver through the B.C. legal system.
However, there are other time limits that you must remember after an accident. Failure to meet certain deadlines can prevent you from receiving compensation altogether. That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss your case with one of the car accident attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP, as soon as possible. We can make sure that your claim is filed promptly and properly, no matter the circumstances.
- You must provide notice of the accident to ICBC within 30 days in order to file no-fault (Part VII) benefits. They will need to know:
- The date, time and location of the accident
- License plate number for every vehicle involved in the crash
- Driver’s license number for every driver
- Insurance information for any vehicles not insured by ICBC
- Police file number (if any)
- Names of witnesses
- Injury details
Be careful what you say when you make your initial accident report. Stick to the facts only, without making speculation about who is to blame. An ICBC claims adjuster will contact you discuss what happened and take a recorded statement. Always talk to your attorney before giving a statement on your own. He/she can prevent you from saying something that accidentally jeopardizes your ICBC claim.
An alternative to meeting with a claims adjuster is to have your car evaluated at an ICBC-accredited repair shop in Vancouver. You will then be able to submit a statement describing your injuries and the details of the accident. But just like a verbal statement, your written explanation might inadvertently say something that gives ICBC the ammunition it needs to deny or diminish your claim. Our knowledgeable ICBC attorneys can determine what information ICBC needs to know.
Additional Deadlines for ICBC Claims
Even though the deadline for most ICBC claims is 2 years, there are exceptions. In some cases, you must file a lawsuit sooner. These circumstances include:
- If you are filing against a city or government, or one of their employees: Notice should be given within 2 months, and lawsuits should be initiated within 6 months.
- If you were the victim of a hit-and-run accident: ICBC needs to know within 6 months.
Keep in mind that if you have purchased optional auto insurance coverage through a private insurer, their time limits may differ from ICBC’s. The best way to sort out all of the details is to bring all of your car insurance information to your free consultation with Warnett Hallen LLP. Let our lawyers figure out what you are entitled to. That way, you can focus exclusively on getting healthy again.
How Do I Submit an ICBC Claim?
You can file an ICBC claim 24/7, seven days a week. It can be done online or by phone. If you are not in a condition to do it yourself, our attorneys can assist you with every aspect of the process.
What to Expect Once You’ve Filed an ICBC Claim
Submitting your ICBC claim is just the tip of the iceberg. A number of steps will follow, including:
- Waiting for the claims adjuster to investigate your claim: This is when the adjuster evaluates your accident and injury information to come up with a settlement offer. The settlement will be based on:
- The severity of the injury
- How long the injuries will incapacitate you
- Your ability to return to work
- Whether you share any fault for the crash
- Your age
- What kind of ongoing care you may need in the future
During this time, our ICBC claims attorneys will be conducting an independent investigation of your crash. We will collect the evidence we need to determine what happened, who was responsible and what a fair value for your claim should be. That way, we’ll be ready to negotiate your ICBC settlement when the offer comes in. It’s very likely that the first offer will be lower than what you actually deserve.
- Preparing for any disputes: ICBC could deny your claim, try to increase your percentage of fault for the accident or argue that your injuries are not serious. We will collect medical reports and consult with health care experts who can testify about the impact the accident has had on your life.
- Initiating an appeal (if necessary): Your adjuster is required to explain the reason for the denial of any accident benefits. You can request to talk with the adjuster’s manager, who can review your Part VII claim or see if you are eligible for an ICBC Claims Assessment Review.
- Going to court: As of April 19, 2019, all disputes for ICBC settlements for up to $50,000 are resolved through a Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT can make minor injury determinations, assess fault (for claims of up to $5,000) and decide what types of accident benefits you are entitled to. Awards for pain and suffering for minor injuries are capped at $5,500. The remainder of claims will go to small claims court or the B.C. Supreme Court for resolution. Any accidents that occurred before April 1 will still go to the other courts.
The good news is that more than 95 percent of ICBC claims can be settled out of court. That means a faster, less risky resolution for you.
Is Having an ICBC Lawyer Mandatory?
You are not required to hire an attorney to handle your ICBC claim. However, working with a lawyer may improve your chances of obtaining a larger settlement. An ICBC adjuster is not required to explain B.C.’s motor vehicle laws to you. The adjuster’s only job is to offer the lowest settlement possible, no matter how friendly they sound.
Our lawyers are familiar with all of ICBC’s regulations and the tactics they use in an attempt to minimize accident victims’ total compensation. We can counter their claims with tough litigation skills and a refusal to back down.
In addition, you should know that it is against the law for an insurance adjuster to advise you against retaining legal counsel for help with your ICBC claim.
Injured in a Car Accident? Let a Vancouver ICBC Attorney Help You
At Warnett Hallen LLP, our motto is “Settle for More.” If you’ve been injured in Vancouver or the greater Vancouver area, please contact our skilled ICBC attorneys to help you maximize your compensation for medical expenses, lost income, diminished earning capacity and other losses.
Call or contact us today to arrange your free consultation.