Before Making an ICBC Claim
Before making an ICBC claim, there are a number of important things you should know.
Dealing with ICBC is necessary if you are injured in a BC insured vehicle, however insurance adjusters are usually more interested in protecting the insurance companies funds than getting you the full rehabilitation benefits and compensation you deserve. Even though you may not be at fault, they may seek specific information to try to discredit your claim. This can be enormously stressful, especially if you are still dealing with the shock and pain associated with the accident.
Being well informed will help you protect your rights and get the full compensation owed to you.
We’re here to help you cope in the wake of a serious car accident. With decades of ICBC trial experience, our auto accident lawyers can take the pressure off your situation by dealing with ICBC on your behalf. While we work to secure the highest settlement possible for you, our medical and professional support team will focus on getting you back to work or play sooner.
With 35 years of ICBC trial experience, our personal injury law experts have put together this guide to help you know what to do in the event of injury after an auto accident.
“The lawyers at Brain & Injury Law (Collette Parsons Corrin) fought a good fight against ICBC. They were always out there trying to distort the facts, and discourage us but BIL was able to have the truth heard. I would not hesitate to recommend Brain & Injury Law (Collette Parsons Corrin). They are honest, fair, hard working, knowledgeable in brain injury and have a heart for those that are injured. ” – Janet L
ICBC 101: What you should know about ICBC
What Do I Do if My Loved One Has Suffered a Serious Injury in a Car Accident?
If there’s a chance you or someone you know may have sustained a head or brain injury in a car accident, seek medical attention right away. Even if you feel OK in the moment.
The trouble with head and brain injuries is that without medical expertise, it’s difficult to know what’s really happening inside your head. And if left untreated, even minor traumatic brain injuries (such as whiplash) can lead to larger and more permanent damage. Read more about the types, causes and symptoms of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
Next, if the injury occurred in a BC insured vehicle, you must report the accident to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) in order to receive rehabilitation and basic insurance benefits. But before making an ICBC claim, consult a specialized ICBC claims lawyer to learn your rights and obligations.
Why Do I Need an ICBC Claims Lawyer?
Because ICBC does not have your best interest in mind.
ICBC’s priority is to close your case as soon as possible for the lowest amount of money. As a result, ICBC employees may pressure you or your loved one to sign statements or provide access to medical records that may be used to try to deny the claim or reduce the amount you are entitled to. They may also encourage you to settle your claim quickly and for much less money than you deserve.
Seeking legal advice early is critical. A lawyer will inform you of your rights and can deal with ICBC on your behalf.
Call us before making an ICBC claim.
Your first consultation is free and with no obligation.
TIP: Be careful when signing authorizations that allow ICBC to obtain medical information. They will try to access all of your medical records to discredit your claim.
What Help Is Available From ICBC While My Loved One Recovers?
If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident in BC, you may be entitled to receive certain no fault benefits (commonly referred to as “Part 7 Benefits”) from ICBC. These benefits are available to people injured in an accident in BC regardless of who is at fault for the collision.
ICBC provides wage replacement benefits, but only to a maximum of $300 per week. Any EI (Employment Insurance) or CPP (Canada Pension Plan) benefits will be considered in the calculation of entitlement to these benefits. ICBC also pays for some expenses for medical treatments, rehabilitation and prescriptions. In very serious cases ICBC may help fund home renovations or help pay for an adapted van if a wheelchair is needed.
If your accident occurred outside of BC, you could receive more funding for rehabilitation benefits. But there are strict rules to increase benefits – seeking legal advice is crucial in these cases.
Contact our auto accident injury lawyers for a free consultation regarding your no fault/Part 7 benefits application.
TIP: The ICBC form must be completed properly within 90 days of the accident. Failure to apply for Part 7/no fault benefits can significantly affect the value of your claim.
What Is Not Covered By ICBC Rehabilitation Benefits?
ICBC won’t pay user fees for medical treatments. Watch for the fine print and various policies. For example, ICBC has to pre-approve treatments and only pays specific, limited amounts for chiropractors, massage therapists, psychologists and physiotherapists.
Rehabilitation benefits for an accident in BC are limited to a maximum of $150,000 with some exceptions.
If your loved one has an extended healthcare policy, ICBC won’t pay for covered therapies until the benefits provided by the policy are exhausted.
It is a good system, but surprisingly complicated. Make sure you read the fine print regarding your own healthcare policy and ICBC’s coverage.
NOTE: Rehabilitation benefits are limited to a maximum of $150,000 for an accident in BC.
What Is the Role of an ICBC Adjuster?
An ICBC (or tort) adjuster is not a medical or a legal expert. Their job is to get your file closed as quickly and cheaply as possible.
ICBC adjusters will review your preliminary information and determine who is at fault. They can make decisions based on incomplete and incorrect information.
They don’t work for you. They work for ICBC.
You may need the expertise of engineers and accident reconstruction specialists to find out how an accident really happened and prove you were not at fault. ICBC will make decisions without the expert’s information.
An ICBC adjuster may know that an injured person is entitled to a significant amount of compensation, but make a low offer to try to settle the case before the injured person or their family understands the long term implications or gets legal advice. Specialized legal knowledge is critical to make sure all the long term implications of the injury are properly considered.
While providing reasonable medical information is necessary to receive ICBC Rehabilitation Benefits, some adjusters may try to obtain and use old medical information to discredit your claim.
What you say to the ICBC adjuster can and will be used against you – it can even disqualify you or your loved one from coverage.
Can I Submit a Personal Injury Claim?
You are only entitled to make a personal injury claim if you have been injured as a result of another person’s negligence. The negligent person may be the driver of another car, or the driver of the car you were in, for example.
ICBC may encourage you not to pursue a claim for compensation, even if it is in your best interest.
You may still be able to make a claim even if:
- You can’t find the other driver
- The driver is not insured or fully insured
- The driver is from another province or country
- The driver is your relative or friend
In these situations you must consult a personal injury lawyer immediately to ensure the proper legal steps are taken. If you are found to be partly responsible for the accident, the portion that is found to be your fault will be deducted from your claim.
If you do not hire a personal injury lawyer right away, some of the evidence necessary to ensure the accuracy of your claim may disappear.
If you are unsure about your case, or have questions about making an ICBC claim, book your free consultation with our BC personal injury lawyers. With 35 years of ICBC trial experience, they have a wealth of knowledge and can quickly point you in the right direction.
TIP: Deadlines apply to submitting a claim. Adults generally have two years to start a legal action; however in some cases it can be as short as six months. Children usually have until their 21st birthday to start a legal action.
What Is My Claim Worth?
There is no simple answer to this question, especially with brain injury cases. Every client is unique and a large number of variables need to be considered when determining the monetary value of a claim.
If you are injured as a result of the fault of another person you are entitled to financial compensation for your pain and suffering, past and future income loss, cost of care (both past and future), loss of capacity to perform household maintenance and housekeeping duties, as well as out of pocket expenses.
You may be entitled to receive compensation for increased cost of housing, impairment of pension value, loss of the benefits of an interdependent relationship, and “in trust claims” to help compensate family members who help care for you.
In addition to compensation for your injuries, you are entitled to be reimbursed for some of your legal expenses, including those paid for by your legal team for engineers, medical specialists and other experts. These expenses will be reimbursed by the insurance company in addition to your settlement.
If ICBC says it won’t pay because the collision is your fault or is a low velocity minimal impact (LVI) claim, book a free consultation with our experienced personal injury lawyers immediately. We may be able to offer you a solution.
The bottom line is: If you suffer a serious brain or spinal cord injury, you need to plan for lifelong care, which adds substantial value to your case.
When Should I Settle My Claim?
Never settle a serious claim without legal advice.
Deciding when to settle your claim depends on the type and severity of the injuries you suffered as a result of a car accident, your course of recovery, and other factors.
Don’t allow ICBC to pressure you into settling quickly.
A fast settlement almost always means less money. The short-term satisfaction of an early settlement will be outweighed by the years of inadequate funding and care you will endure in the long run.
You should only accept your ICBC settlement after your injury has stabilized and the long-term impact of your injuries on your employment and life can be accurately assessed.
If you have sustained serious injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident, which resulted in long-term or permanently debilitating symptoms, it is best to seek the advice of a lawyer before even beginning to negotiate your ICBC claim. Your lawyer will consider the medical evidence and consult with experts to determine whether your condition has stabilized. Your lawyer will also assess how your injuries will affect your future ability to earn income.
Once your claim is settled you are no longer entitled to compensation from ICBC in relation to your injuries from the car accident.
It may be possible to settle your claim on your own without a lawyer, but the more serious the case the more likely you will need a lawyer.
How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help Me With ICBC?
Having a lawyer on your side–especially one with extensive ICBC trial experience–can be extremely advantageous when dealing with ICBC or any insurer. A lawyer will inform you of your rights and deal with ICBC on your behalf.
Lawyers who are experienced in dealing with ICBC or serious personal injuries:
- Understand the intricacies of an ICBC claim and the legally relevant details that will likely increase the value of your claim
- Know what the court considers to be a fair and full compensation
- Will ensure that you do not settle your claim prematurely
- Will take care that you do not lose your right to make a personal injury claim
- Will make sure that you are compensated for all of your losses
- Have the skills and resources to fully investigate your case.
When you work with our lawyers at Brain & Injury Law, you don’t pay any money up front. Our lawyers only get paid when your case is settled, in or outside of court.
A seasoned personal injury lawyer can, in most cases, help you settle for more compensation than if you had done it alone.
Brain & Injury Law vs. ICBC: We have years of experience battling ICBC on behalf of our severely injured clients. We have won significant financial settlements for our clients and are not afraid of going to trial when needed. Read our past case results.