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Frequently Asked Questions

ICBC Car Accident Claims

Can I still get a settlement for small or minor injuries?

Absolutely. Even though you may feel that your car accident injuries are relatively minor, it is important to realize that in many, many cases, the true extent of a person's injuries may not become apparent until weeks or even months after the accident. Injuries that feel relatively minor many turn into chronic pain and suffering, neck pain, back spasms or tension headaches which make it impossible for you to get out of bed, let alone go to work some days.

Why should I speak to a lawyer even if my injuries are minor?

After a BC car accident you have 2 years to commence a claim for damages (this is known as your "limitation period"). We always recommend that you speak with us immediately after an accident to obtain a full understanding of your legal rights. There are certain steps you must take to commence your claim before the 2 year limitation period expires, otherwise you will lose your right to sue for your injuries.

Should I just accept ICBC's offer?

During the period following the accident, ICBC may try to settle your personal injury claim with you, especially if the type and severity of damage to your vehicle has led them to believe that you may have sustained injuries. They may offer you money in return for you signing a release of your claim. If you sign a release and accept any money from ICBC you will forever lose your right to sue for damages, regardless of whether new symptoms develop later on, or whether injuries that you thought were resolving turn out to be chronic. Also, keep in mind that an unsolicited offer of money from ICBC may invariably be less than the amount you deserve.

It is your legal right to sue for injuries you have sustained in a car accident. There is no glory in "toughing it out". The money you receive in a settlement with ICBC is intended to help you return to your pre-accident status by paying for the therapy that you need and helping you avoid the financial pitfalls that may arise after an accident when you are unable to work. Forcing yourself to work when you are in no physical or emotional state to do so will only impair, complicate and delay your recover and cause stress to those around you who see you suffering.

Why is "fault" important in a B.C. car accident?

We have a fault-based system for B.C. car accident injury claims. Generally speaking, this means that an injured person is only entitled to injury compensation if they are found to not be at fault for a BC car accident.

Do I Have a Claim if I was at Fault in the Accident?

The fault determination in a BC car accident is crucial to any claim because your injuries are only compensable if they were caused by someone else's negligence. Therefore, if you are found to be at fault in the accident you will not be entitled to any compensation for your injuries (though you may still be eligible for Part 7 No Fault Benefits). If you are found to be partially at fault in the accident, you will only be entitled to recover a percentage of the damage award that you would otherwise have been entitled to recover if the accident was not your fault. The percentage that you will be entitled to recover is determined by ICBC.

The adjuster said the accident was too small ….can I still make a claim?

Yes. ICBC may deem an accident to be a low velocity impact ("LVI") and advise that you are not entitled to compensation. A lawyer may be able to have your claim removed from the LVI classification. Also, the Courts have regularly awarded damages for small impact accidents.

ICBC determines who is at fault in a car accident based on several factors. Your adjuster should gather information about what happened, including collecting statements from other drivers, witnesses and passengers. Also, your adjuster may review police reports (if available), consider the crash scene and consult with repair estimators. To make a decision, the adjuster should also consider the Motor Vehicle Act, the rules of the road and take a look at what happened in past court decisions for similar crashes. Typically, a fault decision is made within 30 days.

What is required to get the ICBC claim going?

Within 30 days of the accident, you must provide a written statement to ICBC setting out the details of your accident and the injuries you sustained, and within 90 days of the accident you must apply for ICBC accident benefits (also known as "Part 7 No Fault Benefits"). ICBC may also ask you to undergo certain medical and occupational assessments so that it is possible to determine what medical and rehabilitative benefits you require. As a Vancouver lawyer specializing in car accidents, Mike Coric can assist you with these steps and advocate on your behalf if you are arbitrarily or unfairly denied certain benefits.

How do I get my car repaired when it has been damaged in an accident?

The general procedure is that an ICBC estimator will assess your vehicle damage and complete a repair estimate. You will be required to pay the deductible payable under your insurance policy, after which you can take your car to a repair facility of your own choosing for any necessary repairs (which will be paid for by ICBC). If the accident is not your fault, the deductible will typically be waived.

What if my car is a total write-off?

If, after assessing your vehicle damage, the ICBC estimator determines that the cost to repair your vehicle is disproportionately high in comparison to the assessed value of your vehicle, your car will be deemed to a "total loss". In this situation, the ICBC estimator will determine the comparable value of your vehicle and issue you a cheque. We can assist you in this process by dealing with ICBC to ensure that your vehicle's value is assessed accurately and fairly, and that the process is expedited to the extent possible so that you can get back on the road and return to your regular routine as soon as possible.

What is an ICBC low velocity claim or denial?

A low velocity impact (LVI) denial occurs when ICBC determines that no compensable injuries resulted from the accident because of the minimal nature of the impact. This means that ICBC will not pay you anything because they consider the accident to have been too inconsequential to result in injury. If you disagree with this decision, you should get competent legal advice. Our firm represents individuals who have been denied claims on this basis.

What kinds of injuries should I make a claim for?

If you have been in a car accident, you should make a claim for soft-tissue damage, including moderate to severe whiplash, swollen vertebrae, and resulting headaches. If you have been the victim of a car accident and have visible, objective injuries such as broken bones, fractures, and brain injury you should contact a lawyer immediately. Anything that impairs your post-accident ability to function as well as you did before the accident should be brought to the lawyer's attention.

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