If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, you may need to go through the ICBC claims process.
Every claim differs, but generally if you are making an ICBC claim, you will need to work through the following 10 steps –
1.Get the names and contact information of those involved in the accident
Assuming that you do not need urgent medical attention, your first step after a motor vehicle accident is to get the names and contact information of all the other motorists, cyclists or pedestrians who were involved in the incident. You should also get the license plate numbers and check if any of the vehicles are registered outside of British Columbia. If there were any witnesses to the accident, you should also get their names and contact details. If the police attended the accident they may be doing this as well, but sometimes witnesses leave the scene before police arrive. If the accident was a hit and run, report that to the police as soon as possible.
2. Gather evidence
Following on from this, you should try to gather your own evidence, if possible. Almost everyone has a camera phone these days, and you can use this to take photos of the scene of the accident, as well as any damage done to you or your vehicle.
3. Speak to a lawyer
As soon as you have recovered from the shock of being involved in an accident, you should speak to a personal injury lawyer who specializes in ICBC claims. Please note that you can skip this step and you do not have to seek advice from a lawyer if you do not want to.
However, it is highly recommended that you do, as it will maximize your chances of making a successful ICBC claim. Remember that ICBC are trying to keep their costs down, and so while the accident may not even have been your fault, you may unwittingly say or do something that jeopardizes your ability to claim damages and/or benefits.
A lawyer will be able to handle the entire ICBC claims process from this point. This has a number of advantages, namely that you can leave the hard work in their hands, and that do not have to deal directly with the ICBC adjustor who is assigned to your case.
4. Report the accident to ICBC
If you do not use a lawyer, then your next step is to report the accident to ICBC. You can do this online or over the phone, and it should be done within 24 hours of the accident.
5. Give a statement
Once the accident has been reported, you will be asked to provide a statement detailing exactly what happened. If you report the accident to ICBC yourself over the phone or online, it is likely that you will give this statement at the same time. If you do not have a lawyer representing you then you must be careful what you say, as ICBC can use all your communications as evidence.
6. Get your vehicle repaired
If your vehicle has been damaged, ICBC will advise what should happen regarding the repairs.
7. Obtain medical treatment and benefits
If you require medical treatment and/or ongoing rehabilitation, then these costs should be covered by your policy. You may have to negotiate with ICBC as to whether you qualify, and the extent of your entitlement.
8. Obtain other benefits
The same applies with other types of benefits you could be entitled to receive, particularly wage-loss benefits.
9. Negotiate a settlement
Along with your medical costs and additional benefits, you may be eligible to receive additional compensation. This is intended to reflect the pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of an accident that was not your fault. It is also intended to reimburse any finances you have lost because of your injuries. Again, you will have to negotiate this settlement with your ICBC adjustor.
10. Receive your compensation
If you are entitled to a settlement, then the final part of your ICBC claim will be to receive the compensation. This is typically given as a lump sum. If you have negotiated ongoing benefits or assistance, then these should continue. If your benefits are stopped and you do not believe they should have been, ask a lawyer to help you make an appeal.
If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia and you would like help making an ICBC claim, please do not hesitate to contact our personal injury lawyers at North Shore Law LLP.