Every year, almost 300,000 car accidents and collisions occur in British Columbia, and over 50,000 of these result in a personal injury to innocent people because of the careless actions of irresponsible drivers.
Since ICBC has a monopoly in basic auto insurance coverage for B.C., and a near monopoly (approximately 90%) in optional supplementary coverage, ICBC claims adjusters always have heavy workloads and face the threat, to the detriment of their employer, of having to payout a lot of money in damages.
If you are injured in a car accident because of the negligent driving of someone else, it makes sense that ICBC could keep you in the dark about a few things that could help you receive fair compensation for your injuries. After all, it’s in their financial interests to minimize claim payments as much as possible.
Therefore, understanding the full process of your ICBC claim for a personal injury after a motor vehicle collision is essential to ensuring that your rights are protected.
What To Do After a Car Accident
Some of what is best practice in the immediate aftermath of a car accident is obvious, so ICBC doesn’t have to go out of their way to not make similar recommendations. However, even small details are important, and any slipups can make it difficult to substantiate your injury claim.
Always exchange insurance information, driver’s licence numbers, licence plate numbers and phone numbers. Take as many photos as possible of both vehicles, including the point of collision. If there are any witnesses, ask them to corroborate what happened and be sure to get their contact information as well.
The key thing to remember is that ICBC will look for anything that can minimize your injury claim. The Motor Vehicle Act only requires police involvement if injuries occurred and/or if estimated damages to the vehicles reach $1,000. But sometimes injuries take time to manifest, and at-fault drivers will be eager for there to be no police reports. If you suspect that the other driver is trying to downplay their responsibility for what happened or that there might be an injury, don’t hesitate to contact the police, ask witnesses to stick around and make careful note of any admission of fault that the other driver makes.
The Injury Claim Process
ICBC won’t encourage you to visit a doctor early in the reporting process, because if you don’t and your injuries worsen over time, ICBC can use your lack of medical help after the accident against you. Even if you don’t feel that you have an injury, always see a doctor as soon as you can.
And when an ICBC claims adjuster reaches out to you, their job performance is based on allocated expenses, the amount of resources they spend on your file, and severities, the amount of money paid out. It’s their job to try to fish for details to minimize the size of your personal injury payment in an expedited fashion.
Remember that any phone calls will be recorded and heavily scripted. ICBC won’t tell you that you are not legally required to meet with them. Without legal help, they can insist upon a meeting, making it unavoidable; but with the assistance of a personal injury lawyer, rest assured that we will negotiate with ICBC on your behalf so you can avoid the risk of them using any information against you.
If there’s one thing to always keep in mind, it’s that you should never assume an ICBC claims adjuster is “on your side”—even if they ostensibly show genuine concern for your wellbeing.
Challenging ICBC’s Liability Determination
It can happen that ICBC’s liability ruling of an accident doesn’t line up with the facts and therefore might reduce the financial compensation for your injury that you deserve. If so, you might think that ICBC’s decision is final—but it’s not. If this happens, seek out a trained and experienced personal injury lawyer to help you challenge the decision in court.
Having a skilled personal injury lawyer fighting for you is important in this stage of the process for multiple other reasons as well. For example, on top of your injury payout being threatened, even if you win your challenge of the liability determination, ICBC can make it difficult for you to receive refunds on excess premiums paid.
Vancouver Car Accident Lawyers Who Will Fight for You
Dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be stressful, and certainly ICBC doesn’t make it any easier for you. If you have been injured in a car accident, speak to the personal injury lawyers in Vancouver at Warnett Hallen LLP. All initial consultations are completely free of charge. Call us at 604-737-3300 or contact us online. Settle for More.