Not only is dealing with the pain and difficulties from a car accident bad enough, but if you wish to make a personal injury claim, you have to navigate the difficult waters of ICBC.
Chances are, if you’re going your ICBC claim on your own, you’re pretty uncertain about what you should and should not do.
I suspect already an ICBC adjuster has been calling you asking you to sign documents and get statement(s) from you. Every step of the way you probably wonder if you’re doing the right thing.
Well, there are different ways to handle an ICBC claim that can result in great outcomes. Not all personal injury lawyers have the same approach – this is neither good nor bad – just different.
That said, whether you’re doing your ICBC claim on your own or are looking to hire a lawyer – there are 3 things you must watch for to avoid ruining your claim. They are as follows:
1. Settling Your Claim Too Early.
I talk to people pretty much every week who tell me ICBC wants to settle with them.
My immediate questions are:
- Are you still hurting?
- Are you getting treatment?
- When was the accident?
- How much is ICBC offering?
Invariably the answers are yes to the first two and for the third question – often the accident was not more than 3 or 4 months previous to my chatting with them.
The answer to question 4 is often not more than $1,000 to $5,000 and sometimes less than that. That is not a great deal of money if a person is still hurting and getting treatment 4 months or longer after a crash.
That’s not to say hiring a lawyer will result in a great deal more money; instead, my biggest concern is the fact a person is still hurting and/or getting treatment. The fact is in these situations – it is TOO EARLY TO SETTLE.
I can’t emphasize enough the importance of at least running a settlement offer by a personal injury lawyer. Find out if it’s fair. We’re happy to discuss your offer during a free initial consultation.
When you settle, you settle for good. There’s no going back. It’s pretty much impossible to set a settlement agreement aside – whether you had legal advice or not.
If you have complications in the future from that accident, you don’t get more money. That’s why it’s important to get the proper medical reports and a legal opinion about your settlement before you sign a settlement agreement with ICBC.
2. Not Getting Medical Treatment
If you hurt after a crash – no matter how slight – go see your doctor. Continue seeing your doctor as long as you hurt. Follow your doctor’s advice for treatment. Can’t pay for treatment? Talk to us because we help some clients pay for medical treatment in some circumstances. It helps get you better and helps your legal claim.
Do your best to see the same doctor each time. If you don’t have a family doctor, go to a walk-in clinic. Don’t wait to see if you can get a family doctor – that is not so easy. It’s important you see a doctor sooner rather than later.
If you don’t see your doctor or get treatment, ICBC won’t laud you; they will argue you weren’t hurt, and therefore you shouldn’t be compensated much money, if any. That’s the way it works.
3. Doing Nothing Until It’s Too Late
In British Columbia, if you don’t file your claim in a court within 2 years (there are rare exceptions to this – talk to a lawyer about limitation dates), then your claim is barred. You will get no compensation.
In some case you must give notice to city/municipal defendants within 2 months after a crash.
DO NOT wait to learn what your limitation date (aka court filing deadline) is. Talk to a lawyer immediately. You don’t have to hire the lawyer – we offer a free, no obligation initial consultation.
Do not count on ICBC giving you information about your limitation deadlines!