If you or someone close to you have been in a motor vehicle accident you must get medical attention for any injuries, remain at the accident to exchange information with any other parties involved in the accident and cooperate fully with the police. In British Columbia, you are required to make a statement to ICBC regarding the accident. We strongly encourage you to speak with a personal injury lawyer before speaking to ICBC so that you fully understanding your rights and obligations, and so that you preserve your interests in what can be a difficult time.
Here are six reasons why we recommend people injured in motor vehicle accidents contact a personal injury lawyer before speaking with ICBC:
- Bodily Injury Adjusters Are Not Neutral Third Parties, But Represent ICBC Interests
ICBC Insurance Adjusters are trained professionals who represent ICBC. Their goal is to collect the information necessary to settle each claim in the most cost effective way. An adjuster will not verify that you have a copy of your insurance policy details or that you understand your entitlements. An adjuster may deny an ICBC claim for various reasons, including improperly completed forms, and the adjuster may discontinue previously covered benefits without notice. Some adjusters will focus on return to work plans, moving the claim along prematurely before you have recovered. Sometimes, an adjustor will close a file early despite still having coverage available. ICBC adjuster’s focus is on a fast, cost-effective resolution to a matter, which may not meet your needs or entitlements following a motor vehicle accident. A personal injury lawyer can help you preserve your rights and entitlements by only advocating for your interests.
- ICBC May Convince You to Sign Documentation That Is Later Used Against You
One of the ways that an insurance adjuster may seek to quickly settle a claim is by persuading you to meet with him or her, answer questions, and sign a statement about the accident. By law, you are not required to provide ICBC with this signed statement. You only need to report the accident to ICBC and to complete and sign an ICBC Accident Benefit Claim form. Engaging an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you navigate this process and protect your rights.
A signed statement may be problematic because you may still be disoriented and on medication from the accident. As a result, you may not have read, understood or realized the implications of what you are signing. Adjusters are trained to ask questions in ways that result in answers that may minimize your injuries. The adjuster is also the one who prepares the statement, using his or her words, not yours, and the adjuster may not represent the facts of the accident or your injuries in ways that serve your interests.
Questions about how the accident happened are not relevant to your claim for accident benefits, yet adjusters still ask them. Once signed, the document is an acknowledgement of facts admitted by you and it may be used against you. If you failed to report an injury initially (such as whiplash, where the injury onset is often delayed), then the adjuster might later argue that you misstated, omitted or provided misleading information. You should never sign documents following a car accident injury without the benefit of independent legal advice.
- You Could Miss Deadlines If You Fail To Contact an ICBC Lawyer
The laws and statutes surrounding motor vehicle accidents require that certain information be provided for your claim within specific time limits (e.g., 30 days, 60 days, 2 months, 6 months and 2 years), depending on the claim. The insurance adjuster is not obliged to inform you of these deadlines. An ICBC lawyer serving Surrey, Langley and surrounding areas can help you to navigate through the process and ensure that you don’t miss any applicable limitation dates and jeopardize your ability to seek the compensation to which you are lawfully entitled.
- You Might Not Obtain Independent Legal Advice That Could Benefit You
If you choose to deal with ICBC directly by yourself you may find that an adjuster will try to persuade you that you don’t require the assistance of a personal injury lawyer. An adjuster may allow you to sign binding legal documents without confirming that you have had the opportunity to seek independent legal advice.By contrast, an experienced personal injury lawyer who is independent of ICBC will objectively inform you of your legal rights, including your right to appeal a decision if you disagree with fault assessment that is determined by ICBC. An adverse fault determination can significantly affect your compensation if you are injured from a motor vehicle accident and found wholly or partially at fault. A personal injury lawyer can preserve your rights, and even help you seek a ruling on fault from a court, which is the highest authority in the determination of fault and the compensation that applies.
- You May Agree to a Lesser Settlement before Learning What You are Entitled To
Some claims may not require the services of a personal injury lawyer, but you may not know if you are missing out on compensation if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and try to settle the claim without contacting a lawyer. An ICBC lawyer serving Langley, Surrey and the Lower Mainland will review your case, advise you if they can provide helpful assistance, and represent you in negotiating a fair and reasonable settlement on your behalf. At Spraggs & Co., we provide advice about your claim, advise you of your rights and the fairness of proposed settlements, and put you in the driver’s seat for your claim. For some claims we also engage experts to help with your case, and with your instructions, will go to court to seek fair compensation for you. Personal injury claims are as unique as the people who are injured in motor vehicle accidents.
Contact an ICBC Lawyer Today at Spraggs & Co.
Most people are not familiar with the legal processes that follow a motor vehicle accident, especially where there are injuries involved. It can be a troubling and confusing time for people who are dealing with repairs to vehicles and obtaining the medical treatment they require for injuries. At Spraggs & Co. we serve thousands of people who have been injured in motor vehicle accidents. In fact, we restrict our entire legal practice to serving injured victims.
We can manage your information in ways that protect you, and we routinely deal directly with ICBC on your behalf. By taking the time to understand your unique circumstances, we help you fulfil your legal obligations without compromising your rights and lawful entitlements. By retaining Spraggs & Co., we can represent you in your motor vehicle accident and injury claim while you concentrate on your recovery.
Our injury lawyers only act for injured people—never for ICBC. We have a successful track record of satisfied clients who can attest to our high quality legal services and results. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll let you know how we can help your claim, and outline the ICBC benefits you are entitled to and your route to lawful, fair compensation for your injuries.
Contact us today at Spraggs & Co. at 1-866-939-3339 for a free consultation.