Car accidents: Who can protect your interests in ICBC claims?

Whenever individuals suffer injuries in British Columbia car accidents, the victims will likely have many unanswered questions about the ICBC claims procedures. These may include the value of their claims and how compensation is awarded for injuries suffered in car accidents. How long will it take, when should a claim be filed, and how can a legal representative help?

If another person is at fault in a car accident, the injured victim should file an ICBC claim immediately. Individuals who are injured in an accident where it is someone else's fault have two years from the date of the accident to file court documents to preserve their right to a claim, if they have not already settled their claim with ICBC. This action allows them to recover fully, and know if long-term medical treatment will be required before being forced into a settlement too early.

There are some medical benefits that are covered up front by ICBC and some that are covered at the settlement of a claim. Examples of some of the medical benefits ICBC typically covers up front are; emergency vehicle services, medication, and a portion of medical treatments, such as chiropractic treatment, registered massage therapy and physiotherapy. Once the victim has fully recovered it is usually a good time to think about discussing a settlement. Once the injured person agrees to the amount, the compensation will be paid.

Victims of car accidents in British Columbia may be unaware of the fact that they have recovery time and need not accept an ICBC offer hastily. In fact, it is only in ICBC's best interest to settle claims quickly. Due to the complexities of claims and the mere fact that ICBC is an expert about the process and that most injured victims are not familiar with the process or what they are entitled either up front or at settlement, the most appropriate step is to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer before going forward with ICBC. In doing so, an injured victim will then have the information they need to make an educated decision about the direction of their claim. A seasoned lawyer can make sure all past and future medical expenses are included in the settlement offer along with lost wages, loss of future earning capacity or opportunities, rehabilitation, pain and suffering and more. While legal counsel will work for the victim, the insurance company's prerogative is to get away with the smallest settlement possible.

If you have been injured in a car accident call Linley Welwood to set up a free, no hassle consultation to learn what your rights are in these cases, and give yourself an upper hand over ICBC.

Source: icbc.com, "Settling your claim", Feb. 17, 2017

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