The hours, days, and weeks immediately after a motor vehicle accident can be overwhelming, particularly if you have sustained serious personal injury as a result of the accident. It is an excellent strategy to consult with a lawyer at a Vancouver personal injury law firm before speaking to ICBC. Most people are told that they need to notify ICBC of the accident, but have no idea what happens next. The unknowns of the ICBC claims process can make the aftermath of the motor vehicle accident more stressful. To reduce that stress, Taylor & Blair LLP’s team of ICBC lawyers in Vancouver compiled this list of some of the things you can expect after you file an ICBC claim. For more information, call us at (604) 737-6900 to set up a free, no obligation consultation. We will assist you with contacting ICBC or if you have already done so we will make sure your rights are protected.
Determination of fault
- After ICBC has been contacted about the accident, a claim number and ICBC adjuster will be assigned to your claim. The adjuster will gather information about the accident from you or preferably through your lawyer ICBC will also gather information from the other driver, any witnesses, and the police to come to an opinion as to who was at fault for the crash. Having a lawyer from Taylor and Blair present the way the accident happened to ICBC on your behalf can affect ICBC’s determination of fault. The determination of fault (also called “liability”) has important implications for your personal injury claim. If ICBC decides you were 100% at fault or partially at fault (g., 25% or 50%), your compensation for damages for personal injury will be reduced by that percentage.
- If you do not agree with the adjuster’s determination of fault, you can appeal it through ICBC’s review process. If ICBC maintains a finding of fault that you disagree with, you can ask the court to decide who was liable for the accident. The courts have the final say about liability. Blair & Taylor’s ICBC lawyers in Vancouver (with offices throughout the Lower Mainland) can assist you with disputing liability and bringing a court action to obtain maximum compensation for your injuries.
Providing information and statements to ICBC
- It is an excellent strategy to consult with a lawyer at a Vancouver personal injury law firm before speaking to ICBC. If fault is in dispute or there is a question about whether the accident caused your injuries, the information you give to ICBC can be used against you. ICBC may also ask questions about your vehicle usage to see if you were in breach of your insurance policy when the accident occurred. If liability, the cause of your injuries, or insurance coverage is at issue, a lawyer with experience in dealing with ICBC can advise you on how to protect your rights.
- You are not required to attend ICBC for an interview. Our lawyers can help you with all aspects of a claim and you may never have to meet with an adjuster. The necessary information and forms can be written and delivered in person or sent to ICBC by registered mail:
- Within 30 days of the accident, you must provide ICBC with details of how the accident occurred, and a description of the injuries sustained as a consequence of the accident. This statement can be brief and explain the accident in a neutral way without discussing fault for the accident.
- Within 90 days of the accident you must fill out an accident benefit claim form called a “CL22” to identify your injuries. You should list all injuries and symptoms, being careful to be as accurate as possible. If you omit something or make a mistake, it may be used against you.
- When you make your ICBC claim, you do not automatically have to sign authorizations for the release of information such as medical records or employment records. However, if a court action has been started or if you want to receive wage-loss benefits or payment for medical rehabilitation expenses, you will need to authorize the release of certain information. If you are unsure of what you are signing or whether you are required to provide certain information, talk to Blair & Taylor’s ICBC lawyers in Vancouver first.
Dealing with a settlement offer
- During your recovery, if you are not represented by a lawyer the ICBC adjuster will check in with you to ask how you are doing and gather information to assess the amount of your claim. Quite often people don’t realize that the adjuster is trying to gather information that can be used against you to minimize the claim. They often will not advise you of things that could increase the value of your claim. The ICBC adjuster may offer an amount as a settlement to compensate for your injury. You are not required to accept the offer and quite often the offer will not reflect the true value of the claim. In fact, in most cases, you have up to two years from the date of the accident to consider and negotiate settlement. If you are not able to reach a settlement, you must file a lawsuit before the expiration of that two year period.
Contact ICBC lawyers in Vancouver for more information
The experienced lawyers at the Vancouver personal injury law firm of Taylor & Blair LLP guide their clients through the intricacies of the ICBC claims process and know the important steps an injured person must take to advance their claim for compensation. Contact us at (604) 737-6900 to schedule an appointment at one of our personal injury law offices in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Coquitlam Richmond, and Surrey.