By BC law, if you have been in a motor vehicle accident involving an insured vehicle, you are required to notify the Insurance Company of British Columbia. However, some drivers don’t know that ICBC often tries to settle claims as quickly as possible and it is in their best interest to award victims as little as possible. Anything you say to ICBC following the accident can be used to lessen your claim. This is why it’s important to know what you should and should not tell ICBC and when to get a lawyer.
Just because ICBC is a crown corporation doesn’t mean it’s working in your best interests. Learn more about personal injury law in Vancouver and British Columbia on this page.
1. Report the Accident to ICBC
You are legally obligated to report the accident to ICBC, and you should make your report within 24 hours of the incident.
2. Only Provide Basic Details
You need to be careful what you say to ICBC, because anything you say may be used against you. At this point in time, you are only legally obligated to provide basic details such as time and location, license plate numbers, driver’s license information, and witness information. ICBC may press you for more details, but you are not required to share additional details, such as who you believe was at fault.
It is also important to only report the truth and verify the information provided to you by others. Furthermore, you should take pictures of the accident and of license plates.
3. Don’t Leave Too Early
Don’t leave the scene of the accident until you have procured all relevant information. Leaving the scene too early violates your insurance policy with ICBC and can possibly result in civil or criminal charges.
4. Don’t Sign Anything Too Quickly
ICBC insurance adjusters want to settle the claim as quickly as possible. They may ask to meet you and then present you with a document to sign but don’t sign anything at this point (you are not legally obligated to). Now is the time to contact a lawyer before interacting with the adjuster. Not only is a lawyer trained in reading legalese, you are probably too stressed, in pain, and overwhelmed to make sound legal decisions.
Hit and Runs and “Delayed” Injuries
To prevent fraudulent claims, the steps to successfully claim compensation for a hit and run incident are quite extensive. It is the responsibility of you, the victim, to complete the necessary tasks to secure a successful claim. This usually includes:
The fallout from your accident can range from minor property damage to life-altering injuries. An attorney familiar with personal injury law in Vancouver can help you value your claim. Frustratingly, sometimes injuries are not immediately obvious until several days later, such as concussions and whiplash. ICBC may argue that your injury was not due to the accident.
Other Ways a Lawyer Can Help
If the accident was not your fault, you need strong evidence to back up your claim. An attorney familiar with BC personal injury law in Vancouver is familiar with driving laws and can help you find proof that it was the other party’s fault.
You must also be mindful of deadlines, which are very strict. For example, Part 7 “no-fault” claims must have written proof of claim documents submitted to ICBC within 30 days. Because you are likely still suffering from injury at this time, a lawyer can help shoulder some of your responsibilities by keeping an eye on the date for you.
You do not have to face ICBC on your own. By consulting with a legal professional who knows the ins and outs of personal injury law in Vancouver and British Columbia, you can maximize your chance of receiving more compensation. Contact Timothy Vondette for legal advice today.