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Insurance Corporation of BC Personal Injury Lawyer in Vancouver, BC

ICBC is a provincial crown corporation that initially began as a non-profit corporation but became Canada’s only for-profit public auto insurance company. While private insurers compete for many kinds of optional coverage, ICBC essentially maintains a monopoly on automobile insurance in the Vancouver area.

Accident cases can be complicated when they involve vehicles registered outside British Columbia. Victims will want to be sure to get the names of the driver’s insurance company in such cases.

The important thing to keep in mind about ICBC is that it is an insurance company, and its primary concern is not what might be in your best interest. Instead, the only commitment ICBC has is to its bottom line. This usually means that it wants to settle cases for the lowest possible amount, and the corporation will frequently go to great lengths to accomplish this goal.

Do you need assistance filing an ICBC claim in Vancouver or a surrounding area of BC? It will be essential for you to hire a legal team with experience in dealing with ICBC to give your claim the best possible chance at success.

The Insurance Corporation of BC Personal injury lawyer in Vancouver at Warnett Hallen works on behalf of injury victims and on never on behalf of ICBC. Our firm can examine your case during a free consultation as soon as you call us or contact us online.

Most motorists rely on auto insurance payments for financial support after they’ve been injured in a car accident. In British Columbia, those claims are handled through the crown corporation ICBC.

Every licensed driver in British Columbia must have basic insurance coverage through ICBC. While private insurers compete to provide many kinds of optional coverage, all drivers are required to purchase ICBC’s Basic Autoplan and follow the rules for reporting a car accident. Failure to do so could result in denied claims for compensation.

But the road to a fair settlement with ICBC can be fraught with potential pitfalls. Contacting an experienced ICBC lawyer in BC as soon as possible after a car accident can preserve your rights to compensation.

The ICBC attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP, work exclusively on behalf of injury victims. If you or a loved one was hurt in a car accident in Vancouver or anywhere in B.C., call or contact us today for a free consultation.

What to Know About ICBC

The most important thing to remember about ICBC is that it is an insurance company. Its primary concern is not necessarily what’s in your best interest. Instead, ICBC’s sole commitment is to its own bottom line. This usually means that it wants to settle cases for the lowest possible amount and will frequently go to great lengths to accomplish this goal.

Because the stakes are so high, it’s important to talk to an ICBC attorney before starting the claims process. Although an attorney is not required, having a skilled lawyer who is familiar with the tactics that ICBC uses to make lowball settlement offers may improve your chances of getting full and fair compensation.

Notifying ICBC of Your Car Accident

You have 30 days to report your car accident to ICBC to file a claim for Part VII (no-fault) benefits. It’s a good idea to do it within 24 hours if possible. However, there are several important things you need to know before notifying the insurance company:

  • Stick to the facts. Make your report basic, only telling ICBC when and where the crash occurred and the contact information, insurance information and license plate numbers of everyone involved. Provide the names of any witnesses if possible.
  • Don’t speculate about who is to blame. You should never say who you think is at fault for the accident, even if you think you were responsible. Insurance adjusters will be listening for any statements suggesting an admission of guilt. Anything you say can and will be used against you.
  • There’s no need to mention injuries. You are not required to report any injuries when you first notify ICBC. Some car accident injuries can have a delayed onset and may not develop for weeks after the crash. But if you tell ICBC you weren’t hurt and report injuries later, an adjuster could argue that you made them up or are exaggerating.
  • Do not provide a recorded or written statement. An ICBC adjuster will likely want to meet with you and request a formal statement about the accident. You are not obligated to do this as a policyholder.

Working with ICBC can be tricky, and you need to proceed with caution at every step. Our attorneys can file your claim on your behalf and help in any other dealings with ICBC. Having a lawyer by your side also puts pressure on ICBC to settle fairly because they know there is an increased risk of a lawsuit.

Putting a Value on Your ICBC Claim

It’s surprising how quickly the expenses from a car accident can add up. Even a simple fender-bender can cost thousands of dollars to repair. When someone is hurt or killed, the accident-related expenses and losses are even higher.

ICBC adjusters are counting on the fact that accident victims don’t know the true value of their injuries. That’s why they jump at the chance to make settlements as soon as possible. Many times, the ultimate prognosis for a victim — particularly one who is catastrophically injured — can’t be determined for months after the wreck. But if accident victims agree to an early settlement, they could unknowingly end up with much less compensation than they are entitled to.

A knowledgeable ICBC lawyer in BC can help place a full and fair dollar value on your ICBC claim. This will be calculated by analyzing factors such as:

  • Severity of the injuries
  • Expected duration of the injuries
  • Occupation and the impact on the ability to work
  • Your role in mitigating damages (what you did or could have done to minimize the injury)
  • Your liability
  • Age
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Need for future care

icbc lawyer in bcThe attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP, know how to negotiate settlements with ICBC and have years of experience dealing with these types of claims. Our firm will be able to accurately measure the true value of your claim and fight to help you obtain maximum compensation.

Proving Fault in a Vancouver Car Accident

You can file an ICBC claim for Part VII benefits for basic medical expenses and wage replacement stemming from an accident, regardless of fault. That means that you will receive some compensation even if you are solely responsible for the wreck.

If someone else was fully or partially at fault for the car accident, it’s possible to file a tort claim against them to recover compensation for losses that you suffered due to their negligence. This compensation can include:

  • General or non-pecuniary damages
  • Psychological injury or nervous shock damages
  • Future expenses and losses
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of household support
  • Past, current and future care costs
  • Loss of pension
  • Pain and suffering
  • Aggravated or punitive damages (in rare cases)

A car accident attorney from Warnett Hallen LLP, will conduct a thorough investigation into your crash to prove that another party caused the accident and should be held liable. Our legal team works with medical experts, accident reconstruction specialists and other professionals to build strong claims that are difficult for ICBC to dispute.

Understanding the Deadlines for ICBC Claims

Accident victims must meet strict deadlines to file claims with ICBC or risk being barred from compensation forever. That’s why it’s so important to contact our lawyers as soon as possible after your crash. We are familiar with the deadlines and can ensure that your claims are filed accurately and on time.

The time limits vary significantly depending on the type of claim that you will be filing. They are:

  • Part VII claims: You have 30 days to notify ICBC for no-fault benefits.
  • ICBC lawsuits: Claimants have 2 years to file a lawsuit in a British Columbia court.
  • Hit-and-run claims: You have 6 months to file a hit-and-run claim with ICBC. You must also notify the police and make an extensive attempt to identify the party that hit you. That could include posting signs looking for witnesses or publishing an ad in the newspaper.
  • Government claims: Any claims against a British Columbia city or government employee (acting in official capacity at the time of the accident) must be filed in writing within 2 months of the crash.

If you or a loved one has been injured, it can be difficult to keep up with filing requirements when you’re trying to recuperate and get your life back on track. Let Warnett Hallen LLP, deal with the deadlines so that you can put your energy into healing.

Understanding ICBC Settlement Claims

Dealing with ICBC can be tricky, and you need to proceed with caution at every step. It is always in your best interest to get a lawyer involved as soon as possible, preferably within 24 hours of your accident. Your lawyer can help you in any dealings with ICBC.

Many settlements will be helped by steps you can take at the accident scene. For example, taking pictures of the accident scene and your injuries, as well as collecting the names and phone numbers of all people who witnessed your accident could help if there is a dispute about your claim.

Avoid writing or posting any photos about your accident on social media. Even if you delete them later, insurance companies may have already secured screenshots of posts with damaging information that could be used against you.

Make sure that you are honest with a lawyer about your health. Do not exaggerate the nature of your injuries or attempt to hide any pre-existing injuries. Dishonest claims will be exposed later and can ultimately lead to you recovering nothing for your injuries.

What to Do After a Crash in Vancouver

There are key steps that you can take to protect your rights to compensation after an accident. These include:

  • Collecting all relevant information from the other drivers. You will need the names of all drivers in the wreck, along with their driver’s license numbers, license plate numbers and insurance information. Never depart from the accident scene without obtaining this information (assuming that you are not too injured and don’t need emergency medical assistance).
  • Identify any witnesses to the car accident. This could include other motorists who stop to help, occupants of the vehicles involved or bystanders who saw what happened. Get their names, addresses and phone numbers.
  • Notify the police. British Columbia law requires drivers to report an accident within 24 to 48 hours after the crash if the property damage is expected to exceed $1,000. They must be notified immediately if someone is seriously injured or killed. Although the police are not required to respond to every crash, calling them creates a paper trail that can be useful when our lawyers build your ICBC claim.
  • Take photos or videos. Many settlements can be helped by steps you take at the accident scene. In the age of smartphones, it’s easy for most people to snap photos or take videos of the scene. Take pictures from multiple angles, looking for details such as skid marks, road obstructions or anything else that you believe could be useful evidence.
  • Seek medical attention. Always see a doctor after being in a car accident. It’s important to be assessed for invisible injuries, such as soft tissue damage or even things as serious as internal bleeding. Not only could an examination save your life, but it also shows ICBC that you took every step possible to minimize your chances of further harm.
  • Keep a journal of your injuries: Write down everything you remember about the crash as soon as possible. Memories about the accident can fade over time. It’s important to document that information while it is still fresh in your mind. Do not share this information with anyone except your car accident attorney. Take pictures during different stages of the healing process as well.

Don’t worry if the severity of your injuries prevented you from doing all of these things after your accident. While they can be very helpful to your lawyer while preparing your case, it is not a deal-breaker if you could not gather the information. Our legal team has the knowledge and resources to collect the evidence needed to support your case. The most important thing is —and should always be — your health.

Biggest Mistakes That Could Jeopardize Your ICBC Claim

The time after a car accident can be uncertain and overwhelming. Dealing with ICBC is inevitable, but there are ways to avoid getting caught in traps that limit your compensation.

Here are some common mistakes that could complicate your ICBC claim:

  • Writing or posting about the accident on social media. Even if you delete the comments or pictures later, insurance companies may have already secured screenshots of posts with damaging information that could be used against you.
  • Failing to get prompt medical care. While many accidents result in minor aches and pains that go away after a few days, other seemingly benign symptoms can be signs of a more complicated medical condition. If you don’t get a checkup, ICBC will seize upon that in an attempt to reduce your settlement.
  • Giving ICBC a recorded statement. Remember that adjusters are trained to save ICBC money. They will most likely be representing the other driver(s) in your case, too. Providing a recorded statement without consulting a lawyer could result in you inadvertently making damaging comments.
  • Not following doctor’s orders. Do everything the doctor says. Don’t miss physiotherapy appointments or stop taking medications early. ICBC can root these details out to show that you did not take your injuries seriously.
  • Not telling your lawyer everything about the accident and your injuries. Attorneys and clients have a confidential relationship. You need to be honest about what happened on the day of the accident and if you have any pre-existing conditions that could have impacted your injuries. Dishonest claims will be exposed later and can lead to you recovering nothing for your injuries.

Lawyer Fees in ICBC Claims

Attorneys Manjot Hallen and Paul Warnett understand the financial stress that victims and families often feel in the aftermath of a severe injury accident. We believe that everyone is entitled to qualify for legal assistance when dealing with ICBC.

ICBC injury attorney vancouverThat’s why our firm provides legal representation on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t have to worry about any upfront costs. We won’t collect any fees until your ICBC or other insurance claim is resolved.

The fee percentages at Warnett Hallen LLP, are in compliance with the rules of the Law Society of British Columbia. You will be fully informed of all applicable fees when you sign a retainer or agreement with us.

Talk to a Vancouver ICBC Lawyer Today

If you’ve been in a car accident in the greater Vancouver area and are preparing to file an ICBC claim, let the lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP, give you the best chance of recovering maximum compensation.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.

 

Have a Question About Your Case? Call Us Today:

ICBC Settlement Process

After an accident, you need to take certain steps within certain time frames. The ICBC settlement process usually begins with the need for a victim to take several steps within the first 24 hours of an accident.

Section 97 of the Insurance Vehicle Regulation under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act establishes that notice of the accident must be provided to ICBC within 30 days to file a claim for no-fault benefits or Part VII benefits.

Your first step should always be to seek medical care, even if you do not initially think that you were hurt. You will also need to report your accident to ICBC, but remember that this conversation will be recorded. Your initial report to ICBC will require you to provide the date, time, and location of the accident, your vehicle license plate number and registration, the names, driver’s license numbers, and vehicle details of all other parties involved in the accident, how the accident happened, injury details, witness information, and a police file number if police were notified.

When you contact Warnett Hallen, LLP, we can file your ICBC claim on your behalf. Within 30 days of your accident, ICBC will want you to meet in person with a claims adjuster to review the damage to your vehicle, make a recorded statement about your accident, and discuss your injuries.

You may be able to have your car assessed by an ICBC-certified repair shop and submit a signed accident statement and injury statements instead of meeting with the claims adjuster. ICBC will ask that you provide a blank authorization to collect information about you, but our lawyers can help manage the information you share when dealing with ICBC.

You will need to file a claim for Part VII benefits for basic medical expenses regardless of fault and a tort claim when another party was at least partially at fault. Both types of claims have specific notification and limitation deadlines, neither of which ICBC will inform you of. Failure to submit a claim on time can result in an inability to hold the negligent party legally liable.

You will have two years to decide whether to accept a proposed ICBC settlement. When a settlement cannot be achieved, you may need to file a lawsuit within the two-year window.

Why You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer for an ICBC Claim

The fact that ICBC covers so much of the market in British Columbia means that they usually have an inherent conflict of interest in handling most claims since they inevitably cover both drivers involved. ICBC will base its settlement offers on sets of guidelines that are not designed to award maximum compensation but instead minimize ICBC’s losses.

An ICBC claims adjuster will conduct their own investigation into your accident, and you could be denied compensation and face increased insurance premiums when ICBC determines you were at fault. You can dispute the decision through a hearing with an independent arbiter or you can file a small claims or Supreme Court lawsuit.

Other options you can also try when you are dissatisfied with an ICBC decision include speaking to a manager or supervisor at ICBC who may be able to launch a complaint through the corporation’s Fair Practices Review. Some people may be able to request reviews by the Fairness Commissioner.

You can try handling your ICBC claim on your own, but ICBC is under no obligation to explain the law to you. This frequently works to the disadvantage of claimants who are unaware of important deadlines applicable to their cases.

You should hire a lawyer because they will be able to conduct an independent investigation that provides an unbiased evaluation of what truly caused your accident. The lawyer will know how to identify all liable parties and secure the evidence needed to prove their negligence.

A lawyer will also be aware of the important filing deadlines, and they will ensure that you do not miss any of them. Warnett Hallen LLP can also assist you with treatment costs by arranging an agreement with a treatment provider to defer costs or assisting in another way.

We know how to negotiate settlements with ICBC and have years of experience dealing with these types of claims. Our firm will be able to accurately gauge the true value of your claim and then fight to help you obtain maximum compensation.

ICBC Compensation

ICBC settlement amounts are based on a number of different factors. Some of the factors that could affect your proposed settlement may include:

  • Severity of victim’s injuries
  • Expected duration of victim’s injuries
  • Victim’s occupation and impact on the ability to return to work
  • Victim’s role in mitigating damages
  • Victim’s liability
  • Victim’s age
  • Victim’s pre-existing conditions
  • Victim’s need for future care

Other important factors that could impact your settlement also include whether you have legal counsel. Claimants without a lawyer frequently receive settlements that are much less than those who hire one.

The point at which your ICBC claim is settled can also play an important role, as ICBC can be more inclined to settle when there is an increased risk of a lawsuit.

When a lawsuit is filed, a person could be awarded different kinds of damages that may include:

  • General or non-pecuniary damages
  • Psychological injury or nervous shock damages
  • Future expenses and losses
  • Past expenses and losses
  • Loss of income and earning capacity
  • Loss of housekeeping capacity
  • Past cost of care claims
  • Future care costs
  • Loss of pension income
  • Dependents’ claims under Family Law Act
  • Aggravated and punitive damages

It is important to note that aggravated or punitive damages are relatively rare, as they are limited to cases in which a jury wants to punish a defendant for, particularly malicious or reprehensive conduct.

Common Injuries in ICBC Claims

An ICBC claim could involve any one of a number of possible injuries. The severity of injuries can also vary, with some people facing shorter periods of recovery than others who may require entire lifetimes of care.

Some of the most common kinds of injuries involved in ICBC claims include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Internal organ injuries
  • Fractures (broken bones)
  • Muscle strains
  • Nerve damage

The passage of Bill 20 and Bill 22 in May 2018 made it law such that as of April 1, 2019, a limitation or cap of $5,500 has been placed on nonpecuniary damages (non-quantifiable damages) if ICBC deems an injury to be a “minor injury.” Bill 20 defined a minor injury as an injury that results in no permanent serious disfigurement and physical or mental impairments are resolved within 12 months of the accident.

Any dispute with ICBC about the severity of injuries will require a hearing before the British Columbia Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), which was introduced by the Ministry of Justice. The CRT also has a cap of $50,000 on total damages in ICBC claims.

If a claimant can successfully argue that their injury is not minor, then the $5,500 cap is no longer applicable, although the $50,000 cap on total damages remains in effect. The only way to collect compensation is to take the case to court, but the CRT would have to allow that to happen.

Lawyer Fees in ICBC Claims

Warnett Hallen LLP understands the financial stress and strain that individuals and families often feel in the aftermath of a severe injury accident. We believe that everyone is entitled to qualified legal assistance when dealing with ICBC.

That’s why our firm provides legal representation on a contingency fee basis so you will not have to worry about paying anything up front, and we won’t collect any fees until your ICBC or other insurance claim has been settled.

The fee percentages at Warnett Hallen LLP are in compliance with the rules of the Law Society of British Columbia. You will be fully informed of all applicable fees when you sign a retainer or agreement with us.

 

ICBC FAQs

What does my personal injury claim compensation include?

  • Pain and suffering 
  • Loss of earnings, past, and future
  • Care costs 
  • Housekeeping and homemaking services
  • Compensation for family members affected by your injuries

Do I have to hire an ICBC Lawyer?

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.

What is a Fair Accident Settlement?

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.

Is there a time limit for ICBC claims?

A car accident should be reported to police and ICBC right away (with 24 hours is ideal). If you are injured in an accident, you must also provide a statement within 30 days of the accident and complete an ICBC claim form within 90 days of the accident.

Does ICBC Have to Pay Me Additional If I Retain a Lawyer?

ICBC is required to pay a contribution to your legal fees, which means ICBC will pay some but not all of your legal fees, usually approximately 40-50 percent.

Talk to a Vancouver ICBC Claim Lawyer Today

ICBC Lawyers in Vancouver - Warnett Hallen LLP

If you are preparing to file an ICBC claim in the greater Vancouver area, you do not have to deal with all of the struggles by yourself. Warnett Hallen LLP can not only ensure that your claims are properly completed and filed on time, but will also give you the best chance at recovering maximum compensation.

Manjot Hallen has handled more than 1,000 cases and is a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and South Asian Bar Association. Paul Warnett has handled cases before the Provincial and Supreme Courts of British Columbia as well as the Court of Appeal of British Columbia and is a member of the Law Society of British Columbia, Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia, and the Vancouver Bar Association.

Our Warnett Hallen, LLP – experienced Insurance Corporation of BC lawyers in Vancouver are here to help you understand your rights and help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your ICBC claim. Call us or contact us online now to take advantage of a free consultation.

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