Getting into a car accident is one of the worst possible experiences that any person could go through. Assuming you make it out with treatable injuries, there is still the emotional toll and suffering of the accident itself, lost wages, medical bills, repairs, and much more. This is why it is important that you understand your rights if you get into a car crash so you could get properly compensated if the other driver was at fault. If you live in Vancouver or any other part of British Columbia, then you have to understand ICBC claims and how you can proceed with one. Here is what you need to know.
What is ICBC?
This is the main auto insurance company in British Columbia –– the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). It is obligatory under the law for citizens to apply for an auto insurance policy, and if you have done so with the ICBC, then you will be eligible for compensation when you file a claim with the ICBC after a car accident. The great thing about this insurance policy is the fact that it covers you for any crash in Canada or the US, so it’s not just limited to Vancouver.
Do You Need a Lawyer for an ICBC Claim?
Unfortunately, it is not just enough to have a legitimate claim to an ICBC claim to get fair compensation. At the end of the day, insurance companies have their own personal interests, which might not always align with yours. As you will understand if you read more about the topic, the best course of action would be hiring an attorney to handle the case for you. ICBC claims can be tricky and complicated, and if you try to go about it on your own, you might end up without any money. So, enlist the help of a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you will get compensated.
Picking up from the last point, timing is everything when it comes to auto insurance claims. Sometimes, the evidence at the crime scene makes the difference between winning the claim and losing it. Before you even call the lawyer, you should try to collect evidence yourself because it will come in handy. Take photographs and/or videos of the accident scene, gather witness personal information so they could testify later, and take note of any details that might help you win the claim. Then, call the lawyer within the first 24 hours of the crash; they’ll know what to do and how to make use of the evidence.
What are You Compensated For?
This will be discussed with the claims representative, but generally speaking, the ICBC compensation should cover all your damages. This includes lost wages, repair or replacement of vehicle, past and future medical bills, pain and suffering, and any other damages your lawyer will demand on your behalf. Naturally, this depends on who was at fault in the incident, but assuming it was the other driver, then you should be compensated for all the above. As mentioned earlier, this doesn’t always go as smoothly as that because that would cost insurance companies a lot of money, which is why you should hire a lawyer to represent you.
Reporting the Accident
Barring minor accidents, you should always report the accident to the police and then the ICBC. Delay in reporting the incident to insurance companies might get you in trouble later and complicate your claim, so make sure you do it, regardless of who was at fault in the accident. You can call the company to report the situation or even do it online –– there are online forms for that. This doesn’t just apply to car accidents. You also need to report vandalism to your vehicle, break-ins, theft, or attempted theft. Your insurance claim might cover these incidents, and this is why you have to notify the ICBC.
Handling the Settlement Offer
If everything checks out, with your lawyer handling things, you should receive a settlement offer from the insurance company. Unfortunately, that is not always satisfying. If that is the case, you can talk to the claims representative to demand a better offer. If all else fails, you can take the case to court to settle –– another reason why you need an experienced attorney handling your case.
ICBC settlement claims, like just about all insurance claims, can get complicated and messy. So, you have to do everything by the book. Always consult with an experienced lawyer in such settlement claims, and do everything they say. If you play all your cards right, you will most likely get fair compensation for all your troubles.