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Personal Injury & Motor Vehicle Accident Claims in BC Canada


Making your ICBC Claim for Personal Injuries Suffered from a Motor Vehicle Accident in BC

Downtown Vancouver Burrard St. - CLICK  FOR PROFILE OF Rose Keith, Personal Injury Lawyer

Some Provinces in Canada have one primary insurance carrier for cars and other motor vehicles. In BC it is the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC.  This article is by an experienced personal injury trial lawyer Rose Keith and seeks to demystify "who does what, for whom, when, and why, when, and for how much" when a injured person makes a ICBC claim for benefits and/or a financial settlement.

 | Insurance Adjusters & ICBC Roles  | Lawyers' Role  | Fault Assessment  | No Fault Benefits  | Settlement Process

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE ADJUSTER?

In British Columbia, ICBC is your insurance company, but the relationship which you have with ICBC and your adjuster is often different than what you expect because ICBC represents the interest of all people involved in the motor vehicle accident.  The interests of each of the people involved in the motor vehicle accident are different and ICBC has an obligation to consider the interests of all parties.

ICBC also has an obligation to the public to assist in keeping the costs of insurance as low as possible.  In attempting to decrease the costs of insurance, ICBC will be cautious when paying out claims.  Taxpayers put pressure on ICBC to ensure that only valid claims are being paid and that settlements are achieved at the lowest amount possible.

The adjuster's job is not to educate the claimant on their rights.[emphasis added] The adjuster is employed by ICBC and their primary obligation is to ICBC.  For this reason, it is absolutely essential that when you are pursuing a claim with ICBC, you obtain the information necessary to enable you to ensure that you are being fully compensated by ICBC.  Achieving full compensation is your responsibility, not ICBC's.

WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE LAWYER IN DEALING WITH ICBC?

Rose Keith, ICBC personal injury claims disputes lawyer

One of the most important things that a lawyer does is to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries by ICBC. The lawyer will ensure that you are being dealt with fairly by ICBC.[emphasis added]  The lawyer is your resource and the person that you can turn to for information about your rights and obligations.  The lawyer can assist you in fully understanding the process of resolving your ICBC claim.

Once you retain a lawyer, you will no longer speak to ICBC, rather ICBC will contact your lawyer whenever they require information or clarification of any aspect of your claim.

Frequent Questions, Concerns & Myths Clients Have About Retaining A Lawyer

  • Clients are often concerned that retaining a lawyer will make it more difficult to settle their case.
    This is not true.
    A lawyer knows what information ICBC requires to settle your case and knows how to present this information to ICBC.
  • Clients are often also concerned that retaining a lawyer will negatively impact the way that the ICBC adjuster handles you case.
    This is not true either.
    Retaining a lawyer should not affect the way that the adjuster handles your case.  You are entitled to the same compensation regardless of whether or not you have a lawyer.  Having a lawyer represent you in your ICBC claim simply ensures that you are fully aware of what your rights and entitlements are.
  • Clients are also often concerned that it will be necessary to go to trial if they retain a lawyer.
    This is not true.
    Statistically, approximately 95 of ICBC cases where the claimant has a lawyer and a lawsuit is started settle without the necessity of going to trial.

The lawyer is hired by you and his or her obligation is to you. Any discussions that you have with the lawyer are private and cannot be revealed to anyone else, including the ICBC adjuster. This allows you to fully discuss all aspects of your case with your lawyer, including any concerns that you may have, without worrying that the adjuster will find out the details of the conversation.  The lawyer through this process is able to provide you with complete and thorough advice regarding all aspects of your claim.  The lawyer is your advocate in dealing with ICBC and is hired to protect your interests.

FAULT FOR THE MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT

Who Decides Fault for the Accident?

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident and you report it to ICBC, you will be assigned an adjuster. This adjuster will decide whose fault the motor vehicle accident is. [emphasis added] 

The adjuster will make this decision based upon the statement that you give to the adjuster and the statement of the other driver and any witnesses to the accident.  The adjuster cannot base their decision on credibility, which means that they cannot make their decision based on a belief that one party is telling the truth. If your story is different from the other driver's and there is no outside information on which the adjuster can decide whose story is correct, fault will usually be divided between the parties.

ICBC usually doe not take into account the statement of a passenger in a vehicle, particularly if they are a close friend or relative.  ICBC views these statements as unreliable because of a belief that the person may be tailoring their statement to assist the person who is their friend or relative.

What can you do if you do not agree with ICBC's assessment of fault?

If you disagree with how your adjuster has decided fault, you can ask for the decision to be reconsidered by the adjuster.  Because the adjuster is not entitled to decide which driver is telling the truth, it is not likely that the decision will be changed.

If you disagree with the adjuster's decision on fault, you may have a Court make the decision.  When a Judge decides who is at fault for the accident, he will consider the evidence of all of the people involved and all of the witnesses to the accident.  The Judge will listen to passengers in vehicle, even if they are close friends or relatives.  The Judge after watching a person testify will decide whether they are telling the truth.  The Judge is not told what decision ICBC has made regarding fault for the accident and ICBC's decision is not relevant to the Judge.

This article continues in PART II - covering

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Experienced representing individuals injured in motor vehicle accidents with a variety of injuries including:

· catastrophic traumatic brain injury

· spinal cord injury

· chronic pain

· psychological injuries

· soft tissue injuries

Focus is on ensuring full compensation for all losses suffered.

In 2008 she was the Trial Lawyers Assoc. of BC President


ROSE KEITH, Personal Injury Lawyer
1486 West Hastings Street
Vancouver, BC  V6G 3J6

CALL FOR FREE CONSULTATION

Phone604-669-2126       Toll Free: 1-888-651-6638

Email:  rkeith@rosekeith.bc.ca   Web site:  RoseKeith.bc.ca



Rose Keith, Barrister & Solicitor author of the above article is a content contributor to CanadaLegal.info

A detailed profile of Rose is available on this site click here

A detailed street map to her offices in downtown Vancouver showing her location and its proximity to the Provincial and Supreme Court buildings is available click here

See also her web site at www.rosekeith.bc.ca

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Twenty Questions to Ask - Before You Hire a Lawyer

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