Making your ICBC Claim for Personal Injuries Suffered from a Motor Vehicle Accident in BC
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
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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.
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.
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
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
Phone: 604-669-2126 Toll Free: 1-888-651-6638
Web site: RoseKeith.bc.ca
Rose Keith, Barrister & Solicitor author of the above article is a content contributor to
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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