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Car Accident Lawyers in Vancouver Discuss What to Do after the Accident: The First 30-90 Days


Within 30 Days of the Accident:

Seek Medical Attention and Document the Injuries

Medical attention immediately after the accident is necessary for a success personal injury case. If you did not attend the hospital or your doctor at the time of the accident, a medical professional’s assessment of your injuries is critical to obtain as soon as possible thereafter.


List ALL your symptoms and complaints from the accident to your doctor, including physical issues (pain, discomfort, limited mobility) or mental ones (flashbacks, fear and anxiety, insomnia, depression) at each visit to ensure that your injuries are accurately recorded in the part of your accident record that focuses on clinical notes. (See Clinical Records for more information.) Do not downplay or exaggerate the symptoms.


Make sure the doctor records all injuries reported in your clinical records as ICBC will obtain and review a copy. If your doctor is not recording what you tell him or her, do not be afraid to explain why you want your symptoms recorded. If a doctor continues to rush you or skip writing down what you say, contact us for assistance.


If your doctor failed to record something on a particular office visit, then ICBC may argue that you must have been well. ICBC adjusters are more likely to accept your doctor’s description of your condition as objective medical evidence compared to what you may eventually tell their legal counsel.


Follow the advice of your doctors or treatment providers. You have a positive obligation to try to lessen the damages. If you fail to follow the recommended treatment, ICBC may claim that your damages should be reduced because of “failure to mitigate” the damages. The rationale is that your recovery would have been quicker and more complete if you followed the treatment plan.


Continue to see your doctor for follow up visits for as long as you continue to have symptoms from your injuries. The frequency of visits will depend on the injuries sustained and may require referrals to specialists. If you discontinue seeing a doctor while you are still experiencing problems from your accident, ICBC will likely take the position that you must have recovered from your injuries - or that they were so minor that seeing your doctor was no longer necessary.


Obtain Legal Advice and Report the Accident to ICBC

Legal advice is critical as soon as possible after the accident. Contact us at 1-855-852-5100 so that:


  • We can provide you with legal advice specific to your case before you contact ICBC. The following are general recommendations:
    • To protect your rights to ICBC accident benefits, you should report your accident to ICBC as soon as possible (ideally within 24-48 hours after your accident) ICBC Dial-a-Claim is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week at 604-520-8222 in the Lower Mainland and at 1-800-910-4222 within BC or outside the province.
    • Be aware that what you say to ICBC will be recorded and passed on to the ICBC adjuster assigned to your claim.
    • Be sure to seek the medical treatment you need without letting yourself be rushed into taking the first available appointment to meet with an ICBC adjuster.
    • If your vehicle sustained damage, you will also need to see an ICBC estimator.
  • We can advise whether to provide a written statement to ICBC setting out the circumstances of your accident and your injuries;
  • You can complete Part 7 Accident Benefit forms and any necessary statutory declaration forms that may be required in situations where the other driver is unknown, unidentified, or uninsured;
  • You can send (by registered mail) or hand deliver the required documentation to the nearest ICBC claims centre within the mandatory time limits;


We can handle these aspects for you once you retain us to represent you.


Within 90 Days of the Accident:

  • Submit Form CL-22 to ICBC
    • Provide ICBC with a written proof of claim under your auto insurance policy in the form authorized by ICBC (Form CL-22).


Gather and Organize Information and Evidence

Collect and maintain all documents and physical evidence related to the accident, including:


  • Driver’s licence and vehicle registration papers;
  • Accident Information:
    • Police file number/reports; and
    • Names and contact information of witnesses.
  • Correspondence with ICBC:
    • A summary of what you told Dial-a-Claim when you reported the accident;
    • Copies of any releases or statements signed, including those signed with an ICBC adjuster; and
    • Any letters and forms you have received from ICBC.
    • Documentation about related traffic tickets or court proceedings;
  • Non-ICBC insurance documents:
    • Details of any other insurance coverage, such as disability insurance; and
    • WorkSafeBC documentation, if any.
  • Employment information and documents
    • T4s and income tax returns and notice of assessments from the last five years;
  • Any documents showing projected wage rates (e.g., union collective agreements may have information about your anticipated future pay rate, information on seniority and access to benefits);
    • Job description
    • Pay stubs;
    • A record of the days lost from work due to your injuries;
    • A record of any days partially worked;
    • A record of lost wages, business, business travel and work opportunities;
    • Any accommodations received at work;
    • Any short- or long-term disability benefits received from work
    • Any coverage from your workplace or privately for medical and para-medical services
    • If you are a homemaker and whether you care for someone (e.g., child or elderly parent);
  • Medical expenses (all receipts from prescriptions and treatment):
    • Include medical or other expenses incurred as a result of the accident;
    • Receipts for hospital stays, prescription medications, ambulance services and equipment necessary to your recovery;
    • A record of time spent by family members or friends in caring for you, plus any caregiver and/or housekeeping receipts; and
    • Receipts for general transportation costs.
  • Photographs and diagrams:
    • Photograph visible injuries from the accident as soon as possible after they are incurred and during the early stages of recovery to show bruising, cuts, lacerations, stitches, casts and so forth. Include the dates of when the photos were taken and the contact information of the photographer. Provide us with copies or the negatives if there are any;
    • If you took pictures of the accident scene, provide us with copies or the negatives if there are any; and
    • Draw a diagram of the accident.
  • Physical evidence from the accident:
    • Clothing or personal items damaged in the accident; include casts, braces, traction, or other medical devices/appliances should be kept.
    • Your motorcycle or bicycle helmet if your head was hit should be kept.


If you have questions or concerns, contact us at Bronson Jones & Company LLP. Our car accident lawyers in Vancouver and 12 additional offices are available to help 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Call our toll-free number now at 1-855-852-5100.

 Be aware that you have an obligation to try to mitigate your damages by making sure that you follow the treatment advice of your doctors or treatment providers. It is not uncommon for ICBC to argue that your damages should be reduced because you did not follow recommended treatment. The argument goes that had you done so you would have recovered faster and more completely and therefore your damage award should be reduced for this "failure to mitigate."

Recording your recovery progress: Use a daily journal to record the dates of your visit, who you saw, why you saw them and any treatment, instructions, or prescriptions you were given. Make sure to tell your doctor about ALL your symptoms, whether they are physical (pain, limited mobility, discomfort) or mental (flashbacks, anxiety, fear, depression, insomnia) at every visit. The reason you do this is so that your injuries are properly recorded in their clinical notes which form part of the clinical record of your accident. See Clinical Records for more information. At some point, your family doctor will be required to provide a medical legal report that includes your treatment history, the complaints you made at each visit, a diagnosis of your injuries and an opinion on any long-term effects your injuries may have on your life.


For more information on journalling, see Recovery Phase: Day to Day.


Your clinical records will be provided to the ICBC adjuster and ICBC defense lawyers will carefully review them for:


  • inconsistencies and differences from your original description that can be used to damage your credibility;
  • post-accident events that might explain your complaints;
  • pre-existing conditions and injuries;
  • all of which may be argued to reduce your claim.


The recovery period, even for minor injuries, can be lengthy, and it is not advisable to consider settlement offers while you are still in the process of recovering from your injuries. At a minimum, we recommend that you DO NOT entertain any settlement offers from ICBC until you and your doctor agree that you have recovered.


Other Health Care and Rehabilitation Specialists: If you see any other doctor or health care professional (e.g., physiotherapist, chiropractor, registered massage therapist) tell us immediately and give their contact information to the paralegal assigned to your case. As with your family doctor, record the dates of your visits, who you saw, why you saw them and any treatment, instructions, or prescriptions you were given in your daily journal.


Gather and Organize Information and Evidence

Collect all documents and physical evidence related to the accident. This would include the following:


1. Driver's licence and vehicle registration papers


2. Information related to the accident


  • Police file number / reports
  • Names and contact information of witnesses


3. Correspondence with ICBC:


  • A summary of what you told Dial-a-Claim when you reported the accident
  • Copies of any releases or statements you signed if you met with an ICBC adjuster
  • Any letters and forms you have received from ICBC


4. Documents related to any traffic tickets or court proceedings associated with the accident


5. Non-ICBC Insurance documents


  • Details of any other insurance coverage such as disability insurance
  • WorkSafeBC documentation, if any


6. Employment information and documents:


  • T4s and income tax returns from the last five years
  • Job description
  • Pay stubs
  • Record of all days lost from work due to your injuries.
  • Record of wage loss and loss of potential work opportunities


7. Medical expenses (all receipts from prescriptions and treatment)


  • Include medical expenses and other expenses arising because of the accident
  • Receipts for ambulance services, hospital stays, medication prescriptions and equipment necessary to aid your recovery
  • Transportation receipts
  • Caregiver receipts and records of time that family members or friends have spent caring for you


8. Photographs and diagrams


  • Photograph your injuries if they are visible. Take photos right after your injuries and during the early stages of your recovery to show any bruising, cuts, lacerations, stitches, casts and so forth. Include the date the photos were taken and the contact information of the photographer. Provide us with the negatives or copies.
  • If you took pictures of the accident scene, provide us with those negatives or copies
  • Draw a diagram of the accident


9. Keep any physical evidence from the accident. For example, items of clothing or personal items damaged in the accident. Save any casts, braces, traction or other medical devices or appliances. Also save your motorcycle or bicycle helmet if you hit your head.

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