rear-end whiplash injuries

With 25 years experience as a lawyer working for rear-ended injury Claimants, I have a few suggestions about ICBC injury claims and dealing with ICBC. “I just got rear-ended today should I call ICBC?”- if this sounds like you or someone you know, read on.

Rear end collisions are common but different than most other car accidents in that the driver hit from behind is not an active participant in the causing of the accident. The claimant is often stopped in traffic when hit from behind with no warning. Most claimants therefore do not expect that ICBC and any other insurance company involved will deny or minimize the claim.

Although there are very few circumstances that allow the rear-ending driver to escape fault, ICBC in defending the other driver, will try to reduce the damages claim by alleging that the claimant suffered a pre-existing injury or congenital defect. The insurance company may even argue that the claimant was not injured if the forces involved in the impact appear to be minimal. ICBC will try to claim your injury is minor and apply the $5,500 minor injury cap.

For claimants that have been injured in a rear end accident, here is a short checklist to assist after the collision:

1. Take pictures and/or video at the scene– This includes all cars involved, point of impact and general layout of the crash scene. Stay out of traffic. If you have already left the scene, take photos of your vehicle damage;

2. Report the accident to the police right away or call 911.  Having the proof that the accident happened will be important for ICBC if there is minor damage to the vehicles;

3.  Have your vehicle inspected for unseen damage. Mechanics may be able to pick up tell tale signs of the accident that are not visible to an untrained eye;

4. Report the accident to ICBC after reporting to the police. If you are claiming ICBC injury benefits there are reporting requirements and deadlines so make your report within 30 days of the accident; and

5.  Hire Medical Specialist– When considering the kind of force suffered, the physical reactions caused by a rear-end impact can cause a back and forth movement which places abnormal forces to the spinal tissues of the neck and injury resulting in pain to the neck and mid-back. If symptoms persist assessment by a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist is recommended.

 It is, of course, the claimant’s burden to prove on a balance of probabilities that the other drivers’ negligence caused or materially contributed to the injuries. The other drivers’ negligence need not be the sole cause of the injury so long as it is part of the cause beyond the range of de minimis. Consider hiring a legal advocate if your injury has not fully resolved in the first 2-3 months.

To learn more about making an ICBC injury claim watch the following short video:

Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

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