There are strict time limits on applying for accident benefits and suing for damages (money compensation). If you miss these deadlines, you may lose your right to apply for ICBC Accident Benefits (also called No-Fault or Part 7 Benefits) which are payable for lost wages and medical expenses to anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident regardless of who caused the crash. There is also a 2 year limitation period on suing an “at-fault” driver for compensation for your injuries. There are other factors which can reduce the time period to commence a court case, such as the involvement of a municipality. If you miss a key deadline you may not be able to recover compensation from an “at-fault” driver. Therefore, it is very important that you discuss what limitation periods apply to your case with your lawyer.
Remember that if you are injured and you are not responsible for causing the accident, then your claim is against the policy of insurance of the “at-fault” driver; not against your own insurance policy.
ICBC Adjusters have two primary functions, assigning blame (sometimes called assessing liability or fault) and minimizing claims costs (i.e., keeping injury awards as low as possible).
In BC, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), is commonly the insurance company for all the drivers in a motor vehicle accident. This potentially puts ICBC in a conflict of interest, because ICBC may be required to represent both the driver who caused the accident and the innocent victim. ICBC’s duty to represent the policy of insurance of the “at-fault” vehicle also means they are obliged to pay out as little as possible from the “at-fault” driver’s policy of insurance to you. Further, ICBC is a Crown Corporation and, as such, has a duty to taxpayers to keep mandatory insurance premiums low. Part of how they accomplish this is by taking action to keep claims costs low. The result of all these factors is pressure on ICBC adjusters to look for weaknesses in your case that can reduce the amount of compensation ICBC must pay you. This often starts from your very first contact with ICBC when you report the accident to a Dial-a-Claims operator.
Once you realize that ICBC does not exclusively represent your interests in your injury claim, it makes sense to get legal advice from lawyers who will put your interests first. While you need to report the accident as soon as possible after it occurs you are not obligated to take the first available appointment to meet with an ICBC adjuster. Give yourself time to get proper medical attention and legal advice.
We do not recommend that you meet with an ICBC adjuster without speaking with us first. If you choose to do so, be aware that you may be asked to:
This information can be critical to the outcome of your case. Therefore, it is in your best interests to be sure that it is presented properly. This is particularly true if you have a pre-existing condition or injury, your medical records disclose information about your medical history that has nothing to do with the accident, or there is likely to be a dispute about liability.
We will deal with ICBC for you and take your claim through every step of the legal process.
We know what types of compensation are available to you, what forms have to be filed with ICBC and the courts and what time limits apply. We will assist in ensuring that all your paper work is completed properly and filed on time so you don’t miss any deadlines that affect your claim.
We will advise you what to anticipate as your case progresses through to a settlement or trial. The reality is that most personal injury claims end up being settled and our lawyers are experienced negotiators. However, there are times when it is in your best interest to let a judge or judge and jury decide what compensation is appropriate for your injuries.
Even if you have spoken to ICBC it is not too late to get legal advice. We will be pleased to talk with you about your case.