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Questions to Ask Your Personal Injury Lawyer after a Car Accident

Lawyers with experience representing car accident victims are consistently asked certain questions about insurance coverage after a car accident. Lawyers at the plaintiffs-only personal injury firm of Bronson Jones & Company LLP exclusively represent victims injured in motor vehicle accidents, so they know the ins-and-outs of the insurance claim process. They drew from their experience to provide answers to some common questions about insurance coverage after a car accident. Lawyers in our office are available for a free initial consultation; if you would like more information or have any specific questions about your personal injury claim, please call us at 1-855-852-5100 (toll free, 24 hours).

Who can claim for compensation from ICBC?

Every person who has been injured in an accident involving a BC motorist has the potential to claim for personal injury compensation. That includes injured drivers and passengers, as well as pedestrians and cyclists who are injured by vehicles. The type of compensation to which you are entitled depends on who was at fault for the accident and the type of insurance coverage held by you and the other parties involved in the accident.

What does insurance cover?

The law in British Columbia states that all resident drivers must have minimum auto insurance with ICBC, known as Basic AutoPlan insurance. This mandatory basic plan provides several benefits, including:

  • Protection if you are at fault for a car accident: “Third Party Liability” coverage covers you when you are the at-fault driver in a crash and another person makes a claim against you. Basic Autoplan covers up to $200,000 of the other person’s injury costs and vehicle damage; and
  • Accident benefits for your own injuries, even if you are at fault for the accident: “No-Fault” or “Part 7” accident benefits provide up to $150,000 in wage benefits and medical and rehabilitation costs (for example, costs for hospital care, chiropractic treatments, dental care, medication, physiotherapy, and medical equipment).

Beyond the mandatory Basic Autoplan Coverage, drivers in British Columbia can choose to buy extra coverage, such as Collision to cover the cost to repair damage to their own vehicle or Extended Third Party Liability coverage (optional coverage is available beyond 2 to 5 million). Extra coverage can be obtained through ICBC or it can be purchased from a private insurance provider.

So, in each case, what is covered will depend on whether you were at fault for the accident (either wholly or in part) and whether you or the other driver opted for any extra coverage with ICBC or a private insurance company.

What compensation can I expect if I have been injured in a car accident?

If you are injured in a car accident, you may be able to get two types of compensation:

  • No-fault accident benefits (also called “Part 7” benefits): as noted in the previous section, everyone in British Columbia who owns a vehicle must buy Basic Autoplan insurance from ICBC, which includes no-fault accident benefits to a maximum of $150,000 (provided you have met the conditions of this insurance). Even if you were at fault for the accident that caused your injuries, you can apply for accident benefits, including temporary total disability benefits of up to $300 a week to cover lost income while you are disabled due to your injuries, and medical and rehabilitation benefits such as physiotherapy or medication costs.
  • Damages (also called a “tort” claim): if the accident was not your fault (or only partly your fault), you can claim compensation for personal injury caused by the negligence of others. Damages are paid out from the “Third Party Liability” coverage discussed above. Compensation in a tort claim covers a number of things, including pain and suffering, lost wages (past and future), future care costs, and out-of-pocket expenses. These damages aim to put an injured person who did not cause the accident in the same position they would have been had the accident not occurred (as far as money can do this). If you are partly at fault for the accident, damages in the tort claim will be decreased by the amount that you were at fault. For example, if you were 25% responsible for the accident, your damages will be reduced by 25%.

Will a personal injury claim increase my insurance premium?

If you are responsible for a car accident (which means you have been found to more than 25% at fault in relation to a Collision or Third Party Liability claim), your basic Autoplan premium may go up unless you have a long, claim-free record. The premium for any optional insurance you have (e.g., Collision or Comprehensive) may go up as well. ICBC’s website offers information about how claims affect insurance costs. If ICBC decides that you are partly or totally at fault for an accident and you do not agree with ICBC’s decision, it is possible to appeal the decision using ICBC’s internal process. It may also be necessary to sue the owner and driver of the other vehicle so that the courts can make a final determination about who was at fault.

Car accident lawyers can answer questions about your personal injury claim

This article was prepared by our personal injury lawyers to answer some general questions about insurance claims following a car accident. Lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP are available for a free initial consultation should you have specific questions about ICBC insurance coverage for your personal injury claim. Contact us at 1-855-852-5100 (toll free, 24 hours).

Legal Guidance & More, from Injury to Recovery

Bronson Jones & Company LLP exclusively represents victims of motor vehicle accidents, and that’s all we do! Unlike other law firms which deal with everything from dog bites to divorce, Bronson Jones has built more than 30 years of trial experience and in negotiating fair settlements for clients injured in motor vehicle accidents.

We’ve also developed an extensive network of medical and occupational specialists, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and others to help you recover and deal with the impact of your injury on your physical health, family life, finances and future. Additionally, such reports may be essential in the development of your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call any of the 13 Bronson Jones locations in the Lower Mainland for our expertise and advice. All of our cases are handled on a contingency (percentage) basis and you don’t pay until we collect.

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