If you are involved in a car accident in Vancouver or elsewhere in British Columbia – even if you suffer what appear to be only minor injuries – you have the right to file a claim with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, or ICBC.
Many people wrongfully assume that they cannot obtain an ICBC settlement if their injuries are minor. The truth is that it is your best interest to seek medical care, file an ICBC claim and hire a lawyer in nearly all situations where the accident was not your fault.
Did You Really Suffer a Minor Injury?
You should see a doctor as soon as possible after you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. If you do not get medical attention, you will not know whether your “minor injury” is actually more serious.
In reality, many injuries do not present themselves at the onset. Because what may seem to be an inconsequential injury when it first occurs may actually turn out to be more serious, it is important that you see a doctor immediately.
For example, the symptoms of a concussion or other traumatic brain injury (TBI) may not be recognizable for many hours or even for a day or two after the head is impacted. Soft tissue injuries and internal bleeding are other examples of “invisible injuries” which can be extremely dangerous if not promptly diagnosed and treated.
All of these injury types can cause pain and long-term complications that lead to high medical bills and cause you to miss time at work. Please see our Car Accident Injury Guide for more information about these types of injuries.
If Your Injury Is Minor, Should You Still See a Lawyer?
The answer to this is a resounding “yes.” Even if you think that your injuries are minor, you should still see a lawyer. This is because you can still receive an ICBC settlement for minor injuries. Many options may be available to you.
If another driver caused your accident, for instance, you may file a claim against that driver’s Basic Autoplan third-party liability coverage. Those who license and insure their vehicles in British Columbia must carry this insurance in the minimum amount of $200,000, and many carry $1 million or more. The ICBC settlement you may obtain by filing a claim against the at-fault driver and his or her ICBC policy can pay for your medical expenses and cover your lost wages.
Another option which may be available to you would be to file an Accident Benefits claim through your own Basic Autoplan policy. This policy covers you regardless of whether you or another driver caused your crash.
Accident Benefits will reimburse you up to $150,000 for all “reasonable and necessary” expenses you incur for medical treatment and rehabilitation. If your injury keeps you from being able to work for more than seven days, you may also be eligible to receive wage loss benefits.
Depending on the facts of your case, it may also be necessary to file a claim through your Basic Autoplan’s Underinsured Motorist Protection or Hit-and-Run / Uninsured Motorist Protection provisions.
A lawyer can play a crucial role when it comes to pursuing an ICBC settlement for your injuries – even those which you believe are minor. A lawyer can:
- Review your case and advise you about your options. A lawyer can explore all legal options available to you and advise you on the best path to take in order to maximize your financial recovery. For example, in addition to Accident Benefits, you may also be eligible to file a claim for Employment Insurance sickness benefits or Homemaker Benefits.
- Determine the amount that should be sought in a settlement. Many factors go into determining a proper ICBC settlement demand. A lawyer can review your medical records and consult with experts to determine the nature and extent of your injuries and how they will impact your ability to work and enjoy your life.
- Review ICBC’s settlement offer. If you have already received a settlement offer from ICBC, a lawyer can review the offer and determine whether it will fully and fairly compensate you for all of your damages. In fact, you should never accept a settlement offer until it has been reviewed first by an experienced ICBC claims lawyer.
- Negotiate with the ICBC adjuster to seek a fair resolution. An insurance adjuster for ICBC will be assigned to your claim and responsible for offering you a settlement. If the settlement amount is too low, your lawyer can, with your consent, negotiate for a better offer. If necessary, your lawyer can also take your case to court in order to fight for what you deserve.
Our Vancouver ICBC Claims Lawyers Can Help You
We realize that understanding your rights to a settlement after a car accident can be confusing. We also understand that if your injuries do not appear to be severe or life-threatening, you may believe that you do not have the right to request compensation for your medical treatment or lost wages from ICBC.
Our legal team at Klein Lawyers LLP is ready to take on ICBC, defend your right to a settlement, negotiate for a fair settlement amount, ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations and help you to understand all ICBC claim procedures.
We have been helping Vancouver car accident victims for more than two decades and are committed to assisting you through each and every step of the ICBC claims process.
You should know that you will not have an unlimited amount of time to bring an ICBC claim after a car accident. You must initiate your claim within two years from the date of your accident. If you fail to do so, you can lose your right to file a claim.
After a car accident, do not wait to get help from an experienced lawyer. Regardless of the extent of your injuries, you deserve every penny that it takes to get you back on your feet.
To discuss how Klein Lawyers LLP can help you to seek the maximum amount of compensation available in your case, contact us today.