You may not realize it, but you share the streets and highways every day in Vancouver with drivers who lack the insurance that the law in British Columbia requires. If you should ever get into a car accident that involves one of these uninsured motorists, you should know that you have options to recover compensation for your medical expenses, wage losses, pain, suffering and other damages. Those options include:
- Filing a claim for accident benefits – You may hear these benefits referred to as “no-fault” or “Part 7” benefits. You may recover these benefits regardless of who was at fault for the collision. You may file an accident benefits claim if you suffer injuries as a motorist or even as a motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian.
- Filing an uninsured motorist claim – If the other driver was at fault, you should also be eligible to bring an uninsured motorist claim through Section 20 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.
Of course, pursuing benefits and damages following a collision with an uninsured driver in B.C. can be as complex and confusing as any other type of accident claim. Additionally, ICBC, or the uninsured motorist, may be reluctant to pay the claim or the amount that you believe you deserve. You will benefit greatly from working with an experienced Vancouver car accident lawyer who will fight aggressively for you and seek the full compensation you are due.
Here, we provide an overview of filing ICBC claims after you are involved in a crash caused by an uninsured driver. To discuss the specific facts of your case, contact Klein Lawyers, LLP, today by phone or online. We will provide a free review of your case and explain your options in more detail.
Filing an Accident Benefits Claim
Accident benefits are among the main types of coverage that ICBC provides. You may file a claim for these benefits after a crash regardless of who was at fault and regardless of whether the other driver has insurance. These benefits can cover payment of all necessary and related medical and rehabilitation expenses (up to $150,000) as well as provide limited wage loss and homemaker benefits.
In order to receive accident benefits, you must comply with all of ICBC’s notice and reporting requirements. If you fail to follow those rules, ICBC could deny your claim. For this reason, you should consult with a lawyer as early as possible after an accident. The lawyer will ensure that you meet all deadlines and provide ICBC with evidence that supports your benefits claim.
Filing an Uninsured Motorist Claim
Another main type of coverage that the Basic Autoplan package includes is third-party liability coverage. This coverage pays for the property damage and bodily injury that a driver causes others to suffer in a crash.
Typically, if you were involved in an auto accident that another driver caused, you would file a claim for compensation through that driver’s insurance. Many drivers carry the Basic Autoplan minimum amount of $200,000 in liability coverage, while many others purchase extended coverage of $1 million or more.
However, if the driver who caused your crash was “uninsured,” then you would file a claim through Section 20 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. The law defines an “uninsured motorist” as one who uses or operates a motor vehicle on a highway in B.C. when he or she is not insured under third party liability insurance coverage that provides indemnity in a prescribed amount.
Filing an uninsured motorist claim is similar to filing other tort claims in that you will need to identify the uninsured driver or uninsured vehicle. Additionally, you will need to file written notice with ICBC as early as possible.
After you file your claim, ICBC will give notice to the uninsured driver or vehicle owner. Depending on the uninsured motorist’s response, ICBC may assume control over resolution of the case. In other words, ICBC may be the party that you and your lawyer will directly negotiate with as you seek a settlement of your claim. If the uninsured motorist denies liability, then you may have to negotiate directly with him.
You can recover compensation in an uninsured motorist claim that is similar to any other tort claim. The compensation can include:
- Past and future medical expenses and other accident-related costs
- Lost wages and reduction of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering.
However, the recovery in an uninsured motorist claim is limited to $200,000 per accident, which includes any claims for costs, prejudgment interest and post-judgment interest. Also, if you can file a claim for benefits such as Employment Insurance (EI) benefits or Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) benefits, then ICBC can – and most likely will – deduct the total amount of those benefits from the payout it provides. For this reason, you should work with a lawyer who will pursue all benefits available to you in a timely manner and pursue the maximum amount for you.
Finally, you should know that, similar to a tort claim against another driver, you must file an uninsured motorist claim within two years from the date of your accident. If you fail to meet this deadline, ICBC may deny your claim.
Get Help from an Experienced Vancouver Car Accident Lawyer
If you have suffered injuries in a car accident that involved an uninsured motorist, you should seek help immediately from Klein Lawyers. Our law firm has more than 20 years of experience with handling ICBC claims. We will show you the way forward and provide the professional, caring assistance that you need. Our initial consultations are always free, and we charge no fees unless we obtain compensation for you. To learn more, call or reach us online today.