Finding fault in motor vehicle accidents
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a motor vehicle accident, and it is reported to ICBC, you will be assigned an adjuster. One of the things that the ICBC adjuster is supposed to do is to decide who is at fault in your motor vehicle accident. The ICBC website has a page outlining how they say they assess fault in a crash.
Be mindful that ICBC ultimately operates to satisfy their interests and not necessarily yours. ICBC may use anything you say to them against you, if it serves their interests.
ICBC adjusters make their decisions based on any statement you provide them, along with statements made by the other driver or party, and any witnesses to the accident. Adjusters can’t base their decision regarding fault on the credibility of the people involved. This means that an ICBC adjuster can’t have some belief about who is or isn’t telling the truth, and base a decision about fault on that belief. In some situations, there can be different perspectives on the events surrounding an accident.
If different parties have different perspectives, and there is no other information for an adjuster to use to decide who is at fault, the adjuster will usually hold both parties at fault. When there are multiple parties to an accident and it’s not clear who is liable, ICBC will sometimes assign more than one adjuster, and they will apportion liability between the parties by themselves.
Interestingly, ICBC usually doesn’t factor in statements made by passengers in a vehicle, especially if they’re a friend or relative of yours. ICBC appears to think that these kinds of statements are unreliable and the people making them might be trying to help the other person in some way. Needless to say, it’s quite possible for you to disagree with how an ICBC adjuster has determined liability in a motor vehicle accident.
You don’t have to agree with ICBC about liability
You do not have to agree with ICBC’s determination of liability. If you disagree with the ICBC adjuster, you can request an internal review, which means it goes to an ICBC committee or you can choose to litigate the issue. Ultimately, it’s up to the Courts to decide who is at fault in a motor vehicle accident. The most relevant question, then, is how does the Court decide who is at fault in a motor vehicle accident?
We’ll address that question in our next post, but in the meantime we think that the best way to preserve your position with respect to liability is to engage a lawyer to work on your behalf. Whereas ICBC ultimately works to serve their own interests, retaining a quality lawyer who works only to serve your interests can make all the difference to your claim.