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Things You Should Know About Your Car Insurance

Insurance Benefits

If you get injured in a car accident, even if you are a pedestrian, you are usually entitled to some benefits (money compensation) no matter whose fault the accident was. These are called "No-fault benefits." No-fault benefits:

  • cover some medical and rehabilitation costs
  • provide partial replacement for wages lost because you had to take time off work to recover from your injuries
  • compensate for your inability to do house work
They are usually the smallest part of your total compensation.

There are also benefits that can only be claimed by innocent victims - people injured through no fault of their own. Most of the compensation you are entitled to actually comes from ICBC as the insurer of the at-fault driver. This creates confusion because many people think of ICBC as "their" insurance company. In fact, ICBC is the insurance company for both drivers and has an obligation to the at-fault driver to pay out as little as possible to the innocent party. This is in direct conflict with your right to get fair and reasonable compensation. ICBC's desire to keep payments low can create a conflict with its own injured innocent accident victims.
After an accident many people go to ICBC with the belief that the adjuster they are talking to (the adjuster assigned to their claim) is on their side and there to help them. This is not the case. The interests of the adjuster are in direct conflict with the claimant. For example, they do not specifically explain that documents and statements you sign early on can later be used against you to deny benefits or reduce the amount ICBC must pay you.
ICBC Cases

Most injuries in BC result when two cars collide. Usually both drivers are insured by ICBC. This creates a conflict because ICBC has to take the side of the innocent driver and the at-fault driver. The people who do this for ICBC are ICBC adjusters. The conflict means that two adjusters, both working for ICBC, decide between themselves who is to blame for the accident.

If you give a statement to an adjuster for ICBC (or any other insurance company), you should know that the person you talk to is working for the insurance company. The insurance company wants the adjuster to look for defences to your claim so they can reduce or eliminate what you are entitled to. One way adjusters do this is by asking you to provide written statements. The adjuster may then use your statement to try to show things like:

  • you are wholly or partly to blame for the accident
  • you were not properly insured at the time of the accident
  • you had problems before you were injured
  • other facts that may serve to reduce the amount of money the insurance company must pay you on a claim
Statements you give to insurance adjusters can also be used against you later in settlement negotiations or court. Also, adjusters may ask you to sign Authorizations allowing them to get information they are not always entitled to, such as a full medical history. If you hire a lawyer, you don't need to meet with an adjuster or provide all the documents they request. If you have already met, the Authorizations you signed can be revoked.

The Role of Your Lawyer

Our loyalty is to you alone. Unlike ICBC, we do not act for both sides. Also, we have specialized knowledge about the value of a claim. Our job is to inform you of your rights and make sure you are properly compensated. We are responsible for gathering the information to prove your case and negotiating on your behalf. If negotiations fail, we will conduct a trial on your behalf. Because we work for a percentage of your settlement or judgement we are motivated to make sure you receive all that you deserve.
One way to ensure you get full and fair representation is to hire a lawyer whose obligation is to you and your best interests.
The Claims Process

Time Limits

All legal claims have rules about how quickly you must file a claim to enforce your legal rights. These time limits are important and missing one can prevent you from getting compensation for your injuries. Even if you think you've missed a time limit you should still get legal advice as soon as possible. Depending on the situation, sometimes it is possible to get the court's permission to extend the time limit so that you can file a claim.

Will you have to go to court?

Chances are that you won't have to go to court and have a judge make a decision about your case. Going through the court system to resolve your legal problem is called litigation. But it is not the only way to solve a legal problem. In fact, more than 95% of our clients who were injured in motor vehicle accidents do not have to go to court. Your case will probably be settled through negotiation or mediation.

Other ways to resolve your dispute

Negotiation means we will talk to ICBC and work out a settlement that is satisfactory to both of you. A settlement can be reached at any time during your case, even after a court action has been started. This is what happens in most personal injury cases.

Mediation is another process to help people resolve legal disputes without going to court. If we think that your case is best handled through mediation, we will arrange a meeting with a professional mediator, who will help us reach an agreement with ICBC. The mediator is not a judge and will not impose a decision on you. The mediator is "neutral", which means that he or she does not take sides in the dispute. He or she will listen to the issues and help everyone reach a satisfactory conclusion to the case.

We will be with you at the mediation session, and you will be asked questions about the accident and your injuries. You cannot be forced to reach an agreement during the mediation session, and you can end the meeting if you are not satisfied with the process.

If you go to court

If your case cannot be settled through negotiation or mediation, it may have to go to court. In a trial, a judge or jury will make a decision (judgment) after hearing the evidence from everyone involved in the legal dispute. If your case is going to a trial, there are many steps that have to be taken before the trial date. We will handle most of these matters for you.

Taylor & Blair are experienced personal injury and ICBC lawyers in Vancouver, also helping claimants in Surrey BC with ICBC claims. Many citizens do not realize their options when filing a claim, and they can lose out on the money they are rightly due as compensation for damages and losses. Taylor & Blair have devoted years to helping people involved in accidents to recover the funds they need to cover medical bills and lost income. Ninety percent of the cases handled by our firm pertain to ICBC claims. This means that we have experience with every kind of ICBC claim, and we understand the pitfalls people can fall into during the claim process. Every case is different, but by analyzing the details of your case, we can present the relevant information needed to bring you the best results. When you need a reliable, experienced ICBC lawyer in Vancouver, Coquitlam, Surrey, Richmond, or North Vancouver BC, call Taylor & Blair.






TO MAKE SURE YOU GET a fair deal

Whether you're dealing with ICBC or another insurance company, their adjusters have an obligation to pay you as little as possible. That's their job and they're good at it. Having a lawyer on your side is the only way to level the playing field and make sure you get the compensation you deserve.

TO EVEN the odds

ICBC has a team of lawyers working for them, but they tell you that you don't need one. Why do you think that is? It's because they know that they have the upper hand against you-and they won't have to pay you as much. You need to get your own lawyer to even the odds and give yourself a fighting chance.

TO PROTECT you rights

The people you need to negotiate with know the rules of the game-and they also know that if you don't have a lawyer, you won't know what information you have to provide, what documents you should sign, or what time limits you may be facing. By having a lawyer you protect your rights.

TO HAVE SOMEONE on your side

ICBC and the insurance companies have lawyers and adjusters working hard for them. "Your" adjuster doesn't work for you. In fact, with ICBC "your" adjuster works for the same company as the other party's adjuster, and is in fact in a serious conflict of interest. You need a lawyer on your side, working for you and no one else.
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