On April 1, 2019, the Government of British Columbia implemented significant changes to ICBC compensation and benefits. Under this new regime, if the proper medical and treatment steps are not taken by accident victims quickly, it may be difficult to get fair compensation for injuries. If you’ve had an accident and are dealing with an ICBC claim in the Lower Mainland, Spraggs Law can help.
As a leading ICBC claims lawyers in Coquitlam, we have the experience to review your case and advise you on the steps you should take when dealing with Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) before making contact and accepting a settlement. If you entrust our personal injury and ICBC lawyers with your case, we will walk you through the process to pursue the Part 7 benefits that you are entitled to.
If you approach it the right way, and with legal help, you can go through the process step-by-step.
After an injury, independent legal representation can help you navigate the complex ICBC claims process. At Spraggs Law, an ICBC lawyer in Coquitlam will help you to get the compensation you deserve.
After a collision with a car or truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian, it is recommended that you follow the steps below.
1. Notify ICBC and a lawyer about the accident
As soon as possible after an accident (within 24-48 hours), you should notify ICBC about the accident. ICBC Dial-a-Claim is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week at 604-520-8222 or 1-800-910-4222 (including outside BC).
An ICBC lawyer at Spraggs Law can notify ICBC on your behalf to let you focus on the accident recovery process. We can also provide you with legal advice specific to your case before ICBC is contacted. Hiring an experienced ICBC lawyer at the start can protect you from receiving unfair compensation or having your claim denied.
If you notify ICBC about the accident yourself, be careful about what you say and how much information you provide. Expect that the conversation will be recorded and passed on to an adjuster.
2. Expect an ICBC adjuster to contact you
Shortly after notifying ICBC, as part of the insurance claims process, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to your case and will contact you directly. If you have hired an ICBC lawyer in Langley already, you simply need to provide the name and contact information of your lawyer. After that, your adjuster should be dealing directly with your lawyer’s office.
If you have not obtained legal counsel when the adjuster contacts you, don’t feel obliged or rushed into accepting the first appointment to meet the adjuster in person. You can say that you need some time first to obtain legal advice or to see your doctor.
Expect an ICBC estimator to contact you shortly after the accident if your vehicle sustained damage. Only discuss your vehicle with the estimator – do not discuss your physical injuries, employment situation or any other aspects of the accident with the estimator.
3. Be aware of critical ICBC deadlines during your insurance claim
ICBC needs to be contacted as soon as possible (within 24-48 hours) about the accident. This notification protects your entitlement to Part 7 or no-fault benefits. ICBC requires the completion of various forms:
4. Filing a Tort Claim
In addition to an accident claim, you will need to file a tort claim within the required time period. The “limitation period” to formally file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver is no later than two years after the accident. There are circumstances where the limitation period can be less than two years. In order to ensure your claim is protected and deadlines met, you should speak to a lawyer for advice specific to your situation as soon as possible.
If ICBC refuses to provide you with Part 7 accident benefits or stops providing accident benefits prematurely, you have two years from the date of the last benefit paid to file a claim against ICBC. You can discuss these limits further with an ICBC lawyer from Spraggs Law serving Langley, Coquitlam, Surrey and surrounding Vancouver.
5. Submit Medical Expenses
After April 1, 2019, individuals seeking reimbursement for accident related expenses must send receipts to ICBC within 60 days of the date of the expense. However, ICBC is not first payor on all expenses. This means that for some expenses, you must first submit your expense to any other benefit provider through which you have a plan. Spraggs Law can handle this for you. For any expenses that are not covered by ICBC Part 7 insurance, the amounts can be claimed in the tort claim against the at-fault driver as damages. However, after April 1, 2019, the there are strict limits on medical expenses that can be claimed against the at-fault driver. If you attend a treatment provider that charges in excess of ICBC rates, you will likely be out of pocket for these extra amounts.
Reporting a Claim
When you have a claim to submit, it is important that you notify them as soon as possible after the accident (within 24-48 hours is ideal). The procedure for notifying ICBC is available on their website, including their 24/7 availability to receive your accident report. If you retain an injury lawyer, he or she will be able to notify ICBC on your behalf.
Most claims can be reported online. However, hit and run accidents, collisions outside of B.C., witness reports, and glass and windshield damage must be reported by telephone instead. You must also provide a written report about the particulars of the accident and the consequences no later than 30 days after. You must submit a proof of claim in a form authorized by ICBC no later than 90 days from the accident.
If you require linguistic assistance in completing claims forms or require verbal translation over the telephone, ICBC provides free translation services. Claims assistance is available in over 50 languages.
Vehicle Repair or Replacement Claims
Damaged vehicles must be repaired in accordance with safety standards and the Motor Vehicle Act. An estimator can determine if the vehicle should be repaired or replaced. ICBC requires that repair estimate must be performed in accordance with ICBC standards and only at approved facilities. Over 400 repair shops accredited by the ICBC and rental car options are available from the vehicle repair webpage, including links to information about whether you will be eligible for a rental car for transportation in the interim.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, then you will likely need medical treatment and may need wage loss assistance if the injury you sustained causes a temporary or permanent disability which interferes with your ability to return to work. ICBC provides information and links to government agencies that will assist you if you are unable to return to work due to an accident, such as Employment Insurance and WorkSafeBC if your accident was work-related.
If you hire a personal injury lawyer, they will be able to deal with ICBC on your behalf. He or she will take care to ensure your claim is properly documented within the required time limits. At Spraggs Law, our lawyers primarily assist clients with ICBC claims in Coquitlam and surrounding areas, and will therefore be able to advise you of your personal automobile policy entitlements related to injury, recovery and rehabilitation.
If you disagree with how your ICBC claim is being processed, then a lawyer at Spraggs Law in Coquitlam can advocate on your behalf. You may disagree with the fault determination which could impact your claim, insurance premium and driving record. Or, you might dispute the severity of the injury or the length of time needed for rehabilitation. Recovery and rehabilitation are areas where a lawyer’s assistance may be beneficial. Returning to your job too soon may affect recovery time and your long-term health.
ICBC provides information about fault determination and the appeal process on their website. Your lawyer will deal with claims in Coquitlam and surrounding areas, and can provide legal advice as to how to navigate court procedures when legal action is required in these areas.
For 50 years, Spraggs Law has sought justice for injured clients across the Lower Mainland. Today, the firm has expanded its practice offerings to be there for you when life happens.
Contact us now for a free consultation.