You must take a number of important steps after being involved in a car accident in BC..
Not only do you want to report your accident to the authorities and immediately begin the process of filing an ICBC claim, you also need to see a doctor.
The latter is true regardless of the extent of your injuries. Even if you think you are OK and just shaken up, you should consult with a medical professional without any unnecessary delay.
Why Your Medical Reports Are Important When Filing an ICBC Claim
Your medical reports are essential when filing a claim with ICBC. In order to receive compensation for your injuries, your ICBC claims adjuster will need to review all evidence related to your claim, including your medical reports.
This is because the adjuster wants to confirm the legitimacy of your injuries.
For example, if you claim that you have suffered a soft tissue tear in the knee as a result of your car accident, the insurance adjuster will want proof from your doctor substantiating the existence of the soft tissue tear, and that the tear occurred as a direct result of your accident.
If such evidence does not exist because you did not see a doctor, or if you delayed seeing a doctor, your claim may be in jeopardy.
You can read more about the steps of filing an ICBC injury claim on ICBC’s website.
An insurance adjuster will also use medical reports that are completed immediately following your accident to rule out the chance that you are making a claim for a pre-existing condition.
For example, if you indeed hurt your knee in the car accident, but medical reports indicate that you had an existing knee injury from a previous accident such as a sports injury in your youth, the insurance adjuster may be hesitant to pay the full value of your claim.
For this reason, it is wise to work with a lawyer when pursuing an ICBC claim. Never sign a medical release form without legal consultation.
Why You Should See a Doctor Even if Injuries Do Not Seem Severe
You should see a doctor after a car accident even if you do not initially have injuries that seem severe. For example, external injuries – like lacerations and severely broken bones – are obvious. Other injuries, however, are much less obvious, and may not be detectable for days following the accident.
The following injuries are often much harder to detect immediately:
- Internal injuries, including internal bleeding
- Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries
- Psychological injuries, like depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Soft tissue injuries, including muscle strains, sprains and whiplash.
If you do not see a doctor immediately, even if your injuries are not obvious, then you run the risk of the insurance adjuster claiming that any injuries that you have are not directly associated with the car accident.
Of course, seeking medical care immediately is also simply better for your health. As soon as you receive an assessment from a medical professional, you can get diagnosed and started on treatment. Some injuries such as a traumatic brain injury can be dangerous if not treated immediately.
What If an Insurance Adjuster Denies My Claim for Compensation?
In the event that you do not see a doctor immediately after your accident – and sometimes, even if you do – the insurance adjuster may deny your claim for compensation or may offer a low settlement amount.
If you are offered a settlement that is less than you believe is fair, you have a right to reject this settlement offer and negotiate for a higher amount.
However, in order to negotiate, you will need to present convincing evidence that:
- You suffered a medical injury – either psychological or physical
- The injury was a direct result of your car accident
- The injury resulted in damages.
In some cases, this may require hiring outside experts as well as presenting medical evidence and testimony from your own doctor.
Car accident reconstruction and auto design experts may be necessary to show how the impact from your crash caused your injuries. Other medical experts may be necessary to support your medical reports.
Economic experts may be necessary to demonstrate the amount of financial losses you have suffered and are expected to suffer in the future.
Your lawyer can help you to gather all of this evidence and organize and present it in a clear and convincing manner. Your lawyer can also negotiate with an insurance adjuster and take your claim to court if a fair settlement cannot be reached.
Keep in mind: If you do not see a doctor after your accident, your lawyer will have a much more difficult time proving your injuries.
Contact an ICBC Claims Lawyer Today
At Klein Lawyers, our experienced Vancouver car accident lawyers care about you. We have the resources and skill set that your case demands. We also have a working relationship with many experts who could be necessary in establishing your car accident claim. We know how to negotiate with car accident adjusters.
We have helped countless car accident victims in British Columbia to recover compensation after a crash. We have negotiated numerous ICBC claims over the years.
You do not want to go against ICBC on your own. Instead, you want the services of a talented legal professional on your side.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our car accident lawyers to learn more about how we can help you. A consultation is completely free, and we work on a contingency fee basis. So, you never owe us a fee unless your claim is successful.