When injury claimants contact my law firm after a car accident they have either reported the accident to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, or not. As with most other insurance companies the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia requires that an insured file an injury claim within a certain time and in a particular format. In fact ICBC is a government created insurance company and the requirements for reporting are of a matter of statutory law and not just private contract.
I’m not sure why anyone would not call a lawyer for a free legal consultation if they have been injured in a car accident but if you plan to make first contact with ICBC before hiring a lawyer there are a few issues to consider. Here is a brief checklist for making first contact with ICBC after a car accident:
- If you are unable to report your car accident injury to dial-a-claim due to your injury have the registered owner of the vehicle contact ICBC immediately. If you are the owner have a family member or friend assist you with first contact.
- Ensure someone takes pictures of the damage to the vehicles, accident scene, and any visible injuries, preferably before you contact ICBC.
- When you call ICBC make sure you have your driver’s licence and owner’s certificate on hand.
- Avoid talking about what others have told you of the accident and only state what you saw and remember. The ICBC representative may mistake what someone else told you with what you remember.
- Be careful when stating that you were using the vehicle for work at the time of the accident because ICBC may deny your accident benefit claim and tell you go to WCB (the Workers Compensation Board). If you are a self-employed contractor or unsure if your use of the vehicle was in the course of your employment contact a lawyer immediately.
- Make sure that the ICBC representative understands that you have been injured and will likely be making a personal injury claim. This allows ICBC to start a bodily injury claim for you so you can start receiving benefits as quickly as needed.
This is not and cannot be an exhaustive list. Most injury cases have their own particular facts which will require that the law be applied in a different way. I have posted before on how to make an ICBC claim . Take a moment to review my other articles on this matter.
Remember that legal advice for your particular injury claim can only be obtained by actually talking to a lawyer and not reading this article. Most experienced personal injury lawyers should be familiar with exceptions to the statutory regulations and can help you avoid many unknown pitfalls . Best plan is to talk to a lawyer as early as possible after the accident to outline your options. Many lawyers in BC will also agree to talk with friends or family members before agreeing to take on the case. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness