How to Maximize Your ICBC Claim
Being injured in a car accident can have far-reaching consequences. You’re in pain. But you also have to deal with the realities of daily life, such as how your bills are going to get paid while you’re unable to work. In addition, you may be coping with the fact that a full recovery isn’t possible. Getting a full and fair settlement from the insurance company has never been more important.
All cars in British Columbia must be insured by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), the province’s public auto insurance company. That means that ICBC will most likely be involved in the handling of any subsequent injury claims.
The good news is that you don’t have fight for compensation alone. The Vancouver lawyers at Warnett Hallen LLP can help maximize the value of your ICBC claim by providing dedicated and effective legal representation backed by a track record of success. We won’t let your claim be undervalued or ignored. You can trust us to push for maximum compensation for your injuries and all accident-related losses.
What Affects Car Accident Settlement Amounts?
Most Vancouver car accident claims are resolved with settlements. A settlement is an agreed-upon amount of money that ends the dispute. In accepting a settlement, you give up the right to take any further legal action against the at-fault party.
The size of an ICBC settlement will depend on multiple factors, such as:
- Policy limits: You can only recover compensation up to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits. If your injuries and damages exceed those limits, your ability to recover full compensation may be limited.
- Caps: ICBC laws place a $5,500 cap on pain and suffering for minor injuries. In order to step outside of that cap, your claim must meet certain requirements. A lawyer at Warnett Hallen can help you determine if you fall outside of the cap.
- Fault: If you are found to share some fault for your car accident, you may not receive compensation for the full extent of your damages. Although no-fault benefits under your Basic Autoplan coverage may be provided to you, you may be barred from pursuing a tort claim and receiving compensation from another driver involved in the accident.
- Severity of injury: A person with a catastrophic brain injury will be likely to recover more compensation than someone with a broken leg that is expected to heal fully.
- Long-term impact: Will your injuries prevent you from working or enjoying life the same way you did before the accident? If so, you could be entitled to more compensation.
- Your actions after the accident: Proving that you did everything you could to reduce the seriousness of your injuries is critical in an auto accident claim. That’s why you should always seek medical care after a crash, even if you don’t feel injured.
- Having a skilled ICBC lawyer to advocate for you: It’s guaranteed that ICBC will try to limit their payout to you. Being represented by an attorney before negotiations begin can maximize your claim by showing the claims representative that you won’t be taken advantage of.
Dos and Don’ts to Increase ICBC Claim Value
If you’ve been injured in a car accident through no fault of your own, there are steps you should take to protect and potentially increase the value of your ICBC claim. There are also things you should avoid.
After an accident, do:
- Seek medical attention: Getting prompt medical care will show that your injuries were caused by your car accident, not by another event or pre-existing condition.
- Identify witnesses: Get the names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the accident. It could be passengers in the involved vehicles, bystanders, family members, or anyone else who can back up your claims about how the car accident occurred or how your injuries have affected your daily life.
- Follow medical instructions to mitigate your damages: When you receive treatment instructions from your doctor, follow them. Not taking your treatment seriously can allow ICBC or an at-fault driver to claim that you were not as seriously injured as you claim or that you have allowed your injuries to worsen.
- Contact a skilled ICBC attorney as soon as possible: If you don’t have an attorney representing you, you’ll have to speak to ICBC directly. Its adjusters are trained to ask questions aimed at minimizing their ultimate payout to you. Hiring a lawyer can prevent you from saying something that accidentally damages your claim.
- Take your lawyer’s advice about when to settle: You only get one bite at the apple with an ICBC claim. Once you settle, you can’t go back and demand more compensation if you need additional medical treatment in the future. A trusted ICBC attorney will encourage you to wait to settle until the ultimate outcome of your injuries is known. That way, you’ll be more likely to get a settlement that will account for your past, current, and future needs.
- Assume that ICBC is trying to get you the best outcome: Don’t make the mistake of thinking that ICBC is on your side just because they insure you. The company will be looking for ways to limit their payment to you, no matter how sympathetic they sound.
- Exaggerate your injuries or damages: Dishonesty can lead to your claim being entirely denied and allegations of insurance fraud against you.
- Post about your accident or recovery on social media: ICBC will be looking for evidence everywhere it can. Avoid posting comments, photos, or videos of you doing things inconsistent with your injuries, such as participating in physical activities or partying.
- Start claims negotiations without consulting a Vancouver ICBC lawyer: At Warnett Hallen LLP, we offer free consultations to car accident victims with no obligation. We’ll conduct a thorough case review and discuss all of your legal options.
What is the Average Vancouver ICBC Settlement Amount?
Every case is unique. When calculating the value of a claim, ICBC will take all of the facts into account before making a settlement offer. Because no two accidents are identical, even very similar cases can settle for different amounts.
An ICBC settlement can include compensation for damages such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Legal costs
An ICBC lawyer at Warnett Hallen LLP will be able to help place a general value on your case after reviewing the facts and investigating your claim. Our attorneys also have the advantage of being able to research at how much previous cases similar to yours have settled for, which can help ensure that we make a settlement demand that we believe is full and fair for you.
What If I Am Partially at Fault for the Accident?
If you are partly at fault for the wreck, you will be required to pay part of your deductible. However, you can still make a claim for no-fault benefits. You may also be entitled to make a claim against the other driver’s insurance policy for things like vehicle damage repair, rental car use, and medical treatment beyond your policy’s coverage limit.
In some accidents where fault cannot be determined, ICBC may ultimately deem all drivers equally at fault for the accident. If you’re facing this circumstance, you should have aggressive legal representation on your side to ensure that you are not being assigned an unfair portion of fault and denied compensation that you are owed.
When to Consult an ICBC Attorney
If you’ve been injured in an accident in Vancouver, you should consult with an ICBC attorney as soon as possible. Ideally, you should do this before speaking to the insurance company, aside from making a simple report of where and when the accident happened.
If the other driver(s) reports the crash to ICBC before you do, it’s likely than an adjuster will call you promptly and request a statement. They may even be prepared with a settlement offer right then and there. Do not agree to give them a recorded statement or accept that first offer. Instead, listen politely and tell them that you need to consult with an attorney first. Then call Warnett Hallen LLP to arrange a free consultation.
What Warnett Hallen LLP Can Do For You
The Vancouver ICBC attorneys at Warnett Hallen LLP can help guide you through the car accident claims process from start to finish. We will:
- Listen to your story and analyze the facts
- Explain how British Columbia and ICBC laws apply in your case
- Outline your legal rights and all of your legal options
- Thoroughly investigate your accident, including recovering all relevant evidence (e.g., accident scene photos and video, police report, eyewitness statements, expert opinions, etc.)
- Ensure that all applicable filing requirements and deadlines for your claim are met
- Help you obtain medical treatment for your injuries, including working with medical providers to defer costs or provide other payment arrangements if you cannot afford treatment
- Negotiate with ICBC after we have built a strong, effective case to show the true value of your claim
- Represent you aggressively at trial if an unsatisfactory settlement cannot be reached
Many British Columbians fail to seek legal help because they are afraid of the costs. You don’t have to worry with Warnett Hallen LLP. Our lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis. That means that we only get paid if we recover compensation for you.
There’s no risk or harm in finding out your legal options. Call or contact us online today to schedule your free case review.