Motor Vehicle Accidents: The Role of Your Lawyer in an ICBC Claim
Vancouver ICBC lawyers know the adversarial nature of the ICBC claims process
When you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, regardless of whether the accident was your fault, you must report it to ICBC. If you were injured in that accident and your vehicle was damaged, you will need to claim for rehabilitation benefits (also known as “no-fault” or Part 7 benefits), vehicle damage repairs, and compensation for your injuries. ICBC will assign an adjuster to handle your claim. The ICBC adjuster has two main objectives: first, to assign blame for the accident (sometimes called assessing liability or fault), and second, to resolve your injury claim for an amount that is fair from ICBC’s perspective, not yours.
Vancouver ICBC lawyers explain the role of your lawyer in an ICBC claim
Now that you know the ICBC adjuster’s objectives, you can see why it is very important to consult with a lawyer before dealing with ICBC. Even if you have already been in contact with ICBC or have started an injury claim, it is not too late – Vancouver ICBC lawyers recommend that you consult with a lawyer regardless of the stage of the claims process. Here’s why: the role of your lawyer is to act solely in your best interests to maximize your claim and protect your rights.
Examples of how a Vancouver ICBC lawyer can protect you and advance your ICBC claim
Here are some of the ways that a lawyer can maximize your ICBC claim and protect your rights:
- Once you have hired a lawyer, he or she will step in to deal with ICBC adjusters and defence lawyers on your behalf.
- An ICBC adjuster may try to get you to sign a statement describing the accident or your injuries, or may try to have you sign other forms (for example, authorizations to provide medical or employment information). You may not be obligated to sign. If you do, it may be detrimental to your claim. Your lawyer will review any forms, explain which are necessary and which are not, and help you prepare any statements for ICBC.
- ICBC’s assessment of liability for the accident can have a major impact on your personal injury award. If some amount of the blame for the accident is assigned to you, your compensation will be reduced in proportion with that amount. Your lawyer will collect evidence about the accident (e.g., from eyewitnesses, an accident reconstruction expert, or the other driver) to support an assignment of fault that favours your claim. Your lawyer will also know the relevant case law with respect to liability and be able to argue the finer points with the adjuster and ICBC’s defence lawyers.
- It is your ICBC lawyer’s job to strengthen your claim by securing medical evidence that explains the full extent of your injuries. Your lawyer will deal with the doctors’ records and arrange for evaluation by appropriate medical professionals to support your claim. Your lawyer will also protect your interests when ICBC demands that you attend for examination by a medical professional of their choosing.
- Your lawyer will negotiate on your behalf to attempt to obtain the best settlement from your perspective, not ICBC’s. Remember, ICBC’s goal is minimizing claims costs (i.e., keeping injury awards as low as possible), while your lawyer’s goal is maximizing your compensation. Experienced Vancouver ICBC lawyers such as the team at Bronson Jones & Company LLP have extensive knowledge of the value of claims and know how to secure full compensation for your injuries.
- The majority of ICBC claims are settled out of court. However, if your claim cannot be settled, it is your lawyer’s role to represent you in court to obtain full and fair compensation according to law.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident and want more information about how a lawyer can protect you and advance your ICBC claim, contact the team of experienced Vancouver ICBC lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP for a free, no-obligation consultation.