1.604.633.4878 j.small@holnesslawgroup.com

ICBC Injury Claims

ICBC Injury Claims

Do You Need a Lawyer?

I recommend that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident and before you discuss your potential claims with an ICBC adjuster.

ICBC adjusters are highly trained to deal with unrepresented people. From the onset of the claim, they use strategies to obtain as much information from you as possible which they rely on at a later date to deny or reduce your claim.

ICBC adjusters do not have an interest in you or your health and they are not there to help you in your recovery despite what they tell you. ICBC adjusters have a duty to ICBC only and their role is to protect or defend the at fault driver’s insurance against your claim by keeping the costs as low as possible. The adjuster is in direct conflict with you and your needs.

I work to protect your legal rights and to level the playing field against ICBC, a powerful insurance corporation, that will use its unlimited resources to limit or deny your claim for compensation

What To Do After an Accident

At the scene of a motor vehicle accident, you should collect as much information as possible. Obtain names and driver’s licence numbers for all drivers involved in the motor vehicle accident, as well as the licence plate numbers, by either taking photographs or writing down this information. Obtain names and contact information for all witnesses. Take photographs of the vehicles involved and, if possible, take photographs of the resting position of the vehicles following impact before they are moved. Report the accident to the police if the damage exceeds $1,000.00.

You have an obligation to notify and report your accident to ICBC within 24-48 hours. When you call ICBC, the representative will ask you for information including your vehicle information (licence plate number), the name, driver’s licence number and licence plate number for all drivers involved in the collision, the date and time of the accident, the location of the accident and a general description of how the accident occurred. What you tell ICBC will be recorded and what you say may be used against you at a later date, so you should be careful how much detail you provide as you are not required to disclose any additional information. If you contact me shortly after you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, I can report the accident on your behalf to ICBC which is always preferrable.

Types Of Motor Vehicle Accidents

Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you are a driver injured in an accident with another motor vehicle, the law requires you to establish that the other driver was negligent (at fault) in order for you to have a valid injury claim. The reason for this is that the nature of your claim for compensation is made against the at fault driver because his/her negligence caused the accident which in turn caused your injuries. If the other driver was driving an ICBC insured vehicle, then ICBC defends that driver against your claim.

If ICBC incorrectly decides that you were at fault, I take the necessary steps to reverse that decision such as gathering evidence, hiring private investigators to interview key witnesses and hiring engineers to reconstruct the accident scene (when needed).



Bicycle Accidents
It is becoming more common that people are relying on bicycles as their main form of transportation, especially in a city setting where there are a number of bike lanes. Since bicycles are smaller than vehicles, cyclists are exposed to greater and more serious injuries such as concussions (brain injuries), fractures and spinal cord injuries.

Most often, bicycle accidents occur when the motorist is turning or changing lanes and does not see the cyclist. ICBC commonly and unfairly holds cyclists at fault, either entirely or partially, for failing to be visible to the motorist.

I take the necessary steps to ensure that the necessary evidence proving the motorists’ negligence is preserved, documented and gathered.



Motorcycle Accidents
It is becoming more common that people are relying on bicycles as their main form of transportation, especially in a city setting where there are a number of bike lanes. Since bicycles are smaller than vehicles, cyclists are exposed to greater and more serious injuries such as concussions (brain injuries), fractures and spinal cord injuries.

Motorcycle accidents typically occur when a motorist does not see the motorcyclist, misjudges the motorcycle’s speed or does not give enough room to the motorcyclist in sharing the road. There are also often unfounded allegations that the motorcyclist was speeding and that there was no chance for the motorist to avoid the accident. ICBC commonly and unfairly holds motorcyclists at fault, either entirely or partially, for not obeying the rules of the road and failing to be visible to the motorist.

I take the necessary steps to protect your claim by ensuring that the necessary evidence proving the motorists’ negligence is preserved, documented and gathered.



Pedestrian Accidents
Like motorists, pedestrians are responsible for taking care and following traffic laws. Accidents involving pedestrians are often very challenging because of the conflicting rights of way between pedestrians and motor vehicles. Pedestrians are often exposed to the most significant of injuries as they are the most vulnerable on the road. Common injuries involving pedestrians include concussions (brain injuries), fractures and spinal cord injuries.

I take the necessary steps to ensure that the necessary evidence proving the motorists’ negligence is preserved, documented and gathered.

Compensation

If you are injured and you are not at fault for the motor vehicle accident, then you are entitled to compensation from ICBC for your injuries and losses. This claim for “damages” is made against the driver who was at fault for the motor vehicle accident. If the other driver had auto insurance through ICBC, then this claim is made essentially against ICBC who defends against your claim on behalf of the other driver. Damages are different and separate from Part 7 Benefits.

Depending on the facts in your case, there are a number of different types of damages available to you:

1- Pain and Suffering (Non-Pecuniary Damages): pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate you for the type of injuries you suffered, the symptoms you experienced, the length of time your symptoms continued for and the effect the injuries had on your enjoyment of life.  The amount you are entitled to depends on these factors, as well as consideration of what judges have awarded individuals at trial who have suffered similar injuries in comparable circumstances.

2- Wage Loss: if you lost income because you were unable to work as a result of your injuries following a motor vehicle accident, then you are entitled to payment by ICBC of the net amount of your wage loss.

3- Loss of Future Earning Capacity: you may be eligible to claim for the loss of opportunity to earn future income if, as a result of the injuries you suffered in a motor vehicle accident, you are unable to continue working, you can only work at a reduced capacity, you are forced into early retirement or you are considered less marketable or attractive to potential employers.

4- Future Care Costs: if you are left with a permanent injury as a result of the motor vehicle which requires ongoing treatment, ICBC will compensate you for future anticipated treatment costs.

5- Out of Pocket Expenses (Special Damages): ICBC will compensate you for all of your out of pocket expenses such as treatment costs not covered by your Part 7 Benefits (user fees), prescriptions, over the counter medications and mileage

Part 7 Benefits

If you are a driver, a passenger, a pedestrian, a motorcyclist or a cyclist who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, you are entitled to rehabilitation benefits from ICBC which are also known as Part 7 Benefits or No Fault Benefits.  These benefits are available regardless of whether or not you are at fault for the motor vehicle accident.  The purpose of these benefits is to provide you with some immediate and early reimbursement for rehabilitation costs.

Depending on your particular circumstances, there are a number of different types of Part 7 Benefits available:

1- Medical Expenses: if a doctor recommends that you undergo therapy to assist in your recovery from your injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, ICBC is required under your Part 7 Benefits to pay a portion of the overall cost for physiotherapy, massage therapy, active rehabilitation, chiropractic care and prescriptions.

2- Rehabilitation Expenses: if a doctor recommends that you receive rehabilitation aids which “are likely to promote the rehabilitation” of your injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, ICBC is required under your Part 7 Benefits to provide home alterations (if mobility is compromised), attendant home care, wheelchairs and other equipment.

3- Wage Loss Benefits: if a doctor is of the opinion that you are unable to work as a result of your injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, ICBC is required to pay wage loss (disability) benefits under your Part 7 Benefits, which are also known as Temporary Total Disability Benefits, to you while you are off work.  There are a number of restrictions to payment of these benefits relating to eligibility, the qualifying period and the amount payable by ICBC.

4- Homemaker Disability Benefits: if you are a full-time homemaker and if a doctor is of the opinion that you are unable to perform your usual homemaking duties as a result of your injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident, ICBC is required to pay Homemaker Disability Benefits under your Part 7 Benefits.  These benefits will cover a portion of the cost of hiring someone who is not a family member to perform the household tasks you are normally responsible for.

ICBC Minor Injury Caps

The current NDP government of British Columbia has passed a new law where ICBC will be capping claims for pain and suffering of “minor injuries” at $5,500.00. The new ICBC minor injury caps apply to accidents occurring after April 1, 2019. Accidents and claims that occur before April 1, 2019 will remain under ICBC’s current system and they will not be subject to this cap.

ICBC’s “minor injury caps” are extremely misleading because these minor injury caps, as they are currently defined, apply to injuries that are not minor by any means. In fact, the government has defined a “minor injury” that as a chronic soft tissue injury, a chronic psychological injury and a brain injury/concussion. What is also very concerning is that the law as it currently stands also allows the government to add (but not remove) injuries to the list of minor injuries subject to the injury cap. Furthermore, if ICBC determines that your injury is minor and subject to the cap, you have the burden of proving that it is not minor before a tribunal (similar to Worksafe BC). It is clear that new system is seriously flawed in that it heavily favours ICBC against the interests of the public and the injured who are particularly vulnerable.

I recommend that you obtain legal advice as soon as possible following a motor vehicle accident to protect your rights and to learn more about your legal options before you discuss details of your potential claim with an ICBC adjuster. ICBC has trained its adjusters to work towards labeling all injuries as minor, so everything you tell ICBC will be recorded and used against you to “cap” your claim.


Contact me for a free initial legal consultation to discuss the legal claim process and your options, as well as to learn more about how I can help you.