ICBC Claims

ICBC claims advice, Velletta & Company

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia must be notified of every auto accident injury in BC. Notify ICBC of accidents which happen outside of BC if they involve an ICBC insured vehicle or driver. ICBC claims can quickly become complex and technical.

If at all possible, get legal advice before you notify ICBC. We offer free legal advice to accident victims in Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo and throughout BC. Other lawyers may do so as well.

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Why you should hire a lawyer when you are injured in a motor vehicle accident

We often have people ask us why so many people hire a lawyer to represent them when they are injured in a motor vehicle accident. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is that after an accident people that have been injured have enough to focus on with medical treatment, therapies, appointments, and healing their bodies. Also having to deal with ICBC on top of this can be overwhelming. Lawyers provide a shield between you and ICBC so that you can focus on healing rather than fighting your case.

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What to do After an Automobile Accident

ICBC claims advice, Victoria lawyers

Disclaimer

SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION

  • If you are unsure whether you have been injured, go to the hospital for a check up. Many times shock and adrenaline will mask symptoms of serious injuries.
  • Don’t be surprised if you feel worse the next day. Many injuries take hours or days to manifest. This is particularly true of soft tissue neck and back injuries, rotator cuff (shoulder) injuries, and temporomandibular joint (jaw) injuries.
  • See your family doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Report all symptoms to him or her. Continue with regular visits until you have recovered completely.
  • Follow your doctor’s advice. Work at your recovery. If referred to other professionals, see them promptly. Failure to do so may result in your compensation being reduced.

PRESERVE EVIDENCE

  • Get names addresses and phone numbers of all drivers, witnesses and police officers involved. If you are hospitalized, get a friend or lawyer to help. Obtain a copy of the police motor vehicle accident report. Do not surrender this information to anyone without keeping copies.
  • Take pictures or have a friend or professional take pictures of:
    • Your vehicle and all other vehicles involved before they are repaired. Do not rely on insurance adjusters to do this for you. If access to the vehicles proves difficult get a lawyer to help.
    • Your body before the bruises, bumps, cuts and abrasions have healed.
    • The accident scene, preferably when conditions are similar to those at the time of the accident.
  • Make careful record of the date and who took every photograph. Save the negatives. You may need them.

KEEPING TRACK

  • Keep originals (if possible) or copies of all records, receipts, documents, pay stubs, accident reports, statements, doctor’s prescriptions, and any piece of paper you receive, send, fill out or sign.
  • Keep track of all relevant information including:
    • Names, addresses and telephone numbers of all doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors and other people you see in connection with the accident and your injuries;
    • All appointments with medical personnel, and anyone else you see in connection with the accident and your injuries. Record appointment date, purpose and mileage;
    • All expenses incurred as a result of the accident, including non-prescription drugs, babysitting, taxis, replacing lost or destroyed items. Get receipts where available;
    • A calendar or diary to record your injuries, symptoms, and recovery.
  • If you have a lawyer, they will try to resolve your claim quickly. But sometimes it takes months or even years for your symptoms to subside so fair compensation can be determined. It is almost impossible to prove the full extent of your losses unless you keep good records.

HIT AND RUN

  • If you are involved in a hit and run accident you must make all reasonable efforts to locate the hit and run driver immediately or you will lose your right to compensation in many jurisdictions especially British Columbia. This is true even if you are hospitalized.
  • Telling an adjuster or police officer is not enough. You or someone on your behalf should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer immediately if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

UNINSURED AND DELINQUENT MOTORISTS

  • Uninsured and underinsured drivers cause too many accidents and injure too many innocent people. Stolen cars, out of Province drivers, impaired drivers, all these situations come with their own special problems.
  • In most cases, there is some insurance coverage available, whether through the registered owner’s insurance, Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP), No Fault benefits or even a homeowner’s policy.
  • Each of these situations is unique and complex. If you have the misfortune to be injured by an uninsured or delinquent motorist, talk to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as you are able.

TRAFFIC OFFENCES

  • If you are arrested, ticketed or charged with any offence in connection with an accident take immediate steps to protect your rights.
  • If you are convicted of an offence or fail to dispute a ticket, you may lose your right to compensation and some convictions can even cost you your insurance coverage. In serious cases, the outcome could be a financial catastrophe.
  • Contact a lawyer immediately. Do not give any statement to police or answer any questions until you have received legal advice.

THE ADJUSTER

  • Insurance adjusters work for the person who caused the accident — not the injured person. Their job is to prevent you from speaking to a lawyer and to settle the claim as quickly and cheaply as possible.
  • Adjusters will often try to deduct items from your claim (like Employment Insurance benefits you receive while disabled) even when they are not allowed to by law.
  • Adjusters will try to obtain information from you which can be used to deny or reduce the value of your claim. Many people say something unfortunate or sign away their rights during their first visit with an adjuster.
  • Anything you say to an adjuster and any information they obtain can be used against you in a Court of law.
  • When a professional adjuster working for one of the largest insurance companies in Canada goes up against an injured accident victim — it is usually no contest.

THE LAWYER

  • Many accident victims cannot afford to pay an attorney. Lawyers will often take personal injury cases on contingency. They do not get paid until you do.
  • An attorney can assist best if they are involved from the beginning. With most contingency agreements it doesn’t cost any more to have a lawyer involved right from the start.
  • If you contact an attorney early enough, let them report the accident for you and talk to the adjuster. What you tell a lawyer is confidential. It cannot be used against you.
  • There are strict time limits for bringing injury claims. Some expire within days or weeks of an incident. If you miss a limitation, you may never be able to recover compensation. A lawyer will know this and protect your rights.
  • You may be blamed for the accident. Lawyers can help to gather the evidence to prove your innocence if they are involved early before the evidence disappears.
  • If you are seriously injured, have a family member or friend contact a lawyer. Experienced personal injury attorneys will come to your home or hospital bed.

IMPORTANT REMINDERS

  • Make timely application for Employment Insurance, Disability Benefits, No Fault Benefits, Part VII Benefits Canada Pension and any other benefits to which you may be legally entitled.
  • If in doubt, ask your lawyer for help. Some benefits, like ICBC no fault benefits, are deducted from your insurance compensation even if you never claim them! Others, like Employment Insurance, are usually not deducted from your compensation.
  • Keep all appointments with doctors, therapists, lawyers and others involved with your case. If you are going to miss an appointment, phone early and cancel.
  • Do not talk to other lawyers, adjusters, private investigators or witnesses unless advised to do so by an experienced personal injury lawyer. Your words could come back to haunt you.

MORE INFORMATION

If you have a question or wish to find out how we can work with you to recover your losses and achieve fair compensation for your injuries, fill out our free Personal Injury Evaluator. Or contact us by e-mail. We are here to help. Our 24-hour telephone number is 250-383-9104.

Court of Appeal Decision Places Heavy Burden on Cyclists Passing On the Right

Earlier this month, the British Columbia Court of Appeal released its reasons in the case of Ormiston v. ICBC, 2014 BCCA 276.  In this case, an injured cyclist was found totally at fault for an accident that occurred while the cyclist was passing a vehicle on its right, contrary to the Motor Vehicle Act.  As a cyclist myself, I agree that cyclists must endeavour to follow the rules of the road – however, this case highlights problems with the legal framework that governs how motorists and cyclists are to share the road, and the associated problems in adjudicating negligence cases involving cyclists.

Read moreCourt of Appeal Decision Places Heavy Burden on Cyclists Passing On the Right

Illegal Income in a Personal Injury Claim

In a personal injury action, the injured party can claim against the defendant for both past income loss (being their actual lost income up to the date of the trial), as well as for potential future lost income earning ability (called a “loss of capacity” claim).  In both cases, the plaintiff must satisfy the court on a balance of probabilities that they have suffered these losses, as well as the amount of the loss.  In many cases, past wage loss can be a simple calculation – for example, a plaintiff can use pay stubs, or income tax returns to show how what their earnings were up to the accident, and can readily calculate how much income was lost – for example, if the plaintiff earned $600 a week, and was off for two weeks, their lost income is easily calculated to be $1,200.   Bringing a claim for lost income can be tricky if your income comes from more unorthodox sources.

Read moreIllegal Income in a Personal Injury Claim

Injured, Poor, and Living Off of ICBC Benefits

Parties injured in a motor vehicle accident in BC have access to no-fault disability benefits and payment of some treatment costs through ICBC.  If the injuries were caused by another driver who as at fault, the injured party can bring a lawsuit to recover their additional losses.  In reality, this can play out very differently for individuals, depending on their economic status.  Parties that were barely scraping by before suffering injuries in a motor vehicle accident, are at a comparative disadvantage to those parties that have access to savings or outside streams of incomes, due to a number of compounding factors.

Read moreInjured, Poor, and Living Off of ICBC Benefits

Wildlife Collisions and ICBC Cases

Small business law advice from Velletta

Collisions with wildlife are an unfortunate reality for motorists in British Columbia.  According to some statistics, in an average year in BC, four people are killed, 384 motorists are injured, and at least 6100 animals are recorded as killed.   Here in Victoria, the abundance of deer on the roadways has resulted in some municipalities proposing drastic measures.  In personal injury lawsuits, ICBC adjusters and defence lawyers often seek to deny compensation to parties injured in a collision involving wildlife by claiming that the accident was “inevitable”, and not the result of any driver’s negligence.  However, each case turns on its own facts.

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Special Considerations for New Mothers in Personal Injury Actions

Family law, Velletta & Company, Victoria, BC

Our office recently resolved an ICBC claim for a young woman who suffered soft-tissue injuries in a motor vehicle accident while she was five months pregnant.  Of particular interest in this case was the calculation of a non-pecuniary damage award (sometimes called “pain and suffering” damages).

Read moreSpecial Considerations for New Mothers in Personal Injury Actions

ICBC Motor Vehicle Accidents and WorkSafe Claims

Immigration law, Velletta & Company, Victoria, BC

If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident while at work, you may be barred from bringing a lawsuit to claim compensation for your injuries. If you fall into this category, it is important that you understand your rights, and the rules that apply to you.

Read moreICBC Motor Vehicle Accidents and WorkSafe Claims