When you cause a motor vehicle accident, you are likely fearful about the repercussions. From being cited for the accident and having to pay a fine for your behavior to questions about whether you will be able to file an ICBC claim for your damages, you face a lot of unknowns immediately after a crash.
The good news is that, even if you are found at-fault for the car accident, you will still have the right to file a claim for damages through ICBC.
Accident Benefits After a Car Accident in Vancouver
Everyone in British Columbia who owns a vehicle is required to carry the basic autoplan insurance coverage. As part of this coverage, drivers carry accident benefits coverage.
According to the ICBC website, these accident benefits cover almost everyone in British Columbia who is injured in a motor vehicle crash – regardless of who is at fault.
The basic autoplan’s accident benefits provide coverage for you, your passengers and the members of your household. The coverage helps to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages and more. The accident benefits provide up to $150,000 in medical and rehabilitation costs.
In addition to the basic autoplan’s coverage, you may also be able to recover compensation for damage to your vehicle if you have purchased collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for your repair and replacement costs – again, even if you are at fault for an accident.
What If Fault Is Shared?
In some cases, you may be partially – but not totally – at fault. In this type of situation, it is important to know what you should do when fault is shared.
Per ICBC claim rules, if you are partially at fault for an accident, you will still need to pay part of your deductible. However, you will be eligible to recover the same benefit types listed above (basic autoplan accident benefits and, if you carry it, collision coverage).
If fault cannot be determined in a crash, then both motorists may be considered equally at fault, with liability being split 50/50.
If the other driver is found to be partially at fault for the accident, that driver’s insurance may help to cover the cost of things like vehicle repairs and the use of a rental car while your car is being repaired.
Additionally, if you are injured, you may also be able to claim medical treatment beyond the autoplan’s coverage limit.
Will My Insurance Premium Increase If I Cause an Accident?
While you will be eligible for no fault benefits under your own insurance policy, the bad news is that you will probably experience an increase in your insurance premiums if you are found to be at fault for a crash, and a payment will be made to an injured party for property damage.
According to ICBC, your premiums will go up if you are found to be more than 25 percent at fault – unless you have a long history of being claim-free.
How Do ICBC Claims Adjusters Determine Who Is at Fault for an Accident?
To determine who was at fault for a crash, an ICBC claims adjuster will open an investigation.
In addition to collecting statements from you and the other driver involved in the car accident, the insurance adjuster will also ask for statements from any passengers in either vehicle at the time of the accident and any eyewitnesses who saw what happened.
A claims adjuster will also obtain a copy of the police accident report, talk with the estimator (who may be able to provide insight regarding how damage to a vehicle occurred) and collect evidence directly from the crash scene.
An insurance adjuster will rely on case precedent to help make determinations about fault and try to make a determination that is consistent with the Motor Vehicle Act. In most cases, a decision about fault is issued within four weeks.
What Can I Do If I Don’t Think I Was at Fault, But I Am Being Blamed?
A common problem for drivers when filing a claim with ICBC is disagreements about fault or percentages of fault. If you disagree with a fault assessment, you have the right to ask for a review of fault. You can seek review in two ways:
- You can ask for a claims assessment review.
- You can file an appeal through the court system.
The courts have the final say in the decision about fault, which is why it is critical that you present evidence that supports your argument if you believe that you were not at fault for a crash.
You should absolutely hire a car accident lawyer to represent you. If you are found to be at fault for an accident, you could receive less money than you would otherwise and experience an increase in your premiums.
A lawyer can help you to gather witness statements and other evidence that is useful for determining fault. A lawyer can also help you to explore different avenues for recovering compensation and negotiate with ICBC adjusters to seek a maximum settlement amount.
Contact Our Experienced Vancouver Car Accident Lawyers
Being involved in an accident can be an inconvenience. When you are seriously injured, and if you are found to be at fault for the accident, a car accident becomes more than an inconvenience.
It may evolve to a major cause of stress and worry, leaving you with questions about whether you will be covered for the accident, how much you will be able to receive in benefits and whether you will face an increase in premiums.
At Klein Lawyers, we understand these stressors. We know what you are going through. We also understand that when fault is undetermined, or when you have been found at fault for a crash, you need a lawyer by your side that cares about your best interests being served.
To learn more about how we can help you and answers to your questions about whether you have a claim, contact us today by phone or online.