Have you been injured in an auto accident in British Columbia? If so, you’re about to find out that dealing with ICBC isn’t any easier than dealing with a private insurance plan. Their goal is the same: to pay you as little as possible.
Yet if the other driver was negligent you deserve compensation to cover your pain and suffering, loss of earnings and earning capacity, and medical bills. Protect yourself by hiring an experienced Langley lawyer who knows how to handle ICBC claims.
Protect Yourself After Your Car Accident
How you conduct yourself directly after the accident will have a huge impact on your case.
Start by getting the other driver’s contact information and insurance information. If you are physically able it is a good idea to move on to gathering the contact information from any available witnesses on the scene. Call the police and find out what you need to do to obtain a copy of the police report. Your lawyers can also request the police report directly.
Be careful what you say to everyone who is there. Your words really can be used against you. For example, there’s a human impulse to say “Sorry,” but if you do that could be taken as a sign that you’re admitting fault. Keep your cool: yelling and screaming at the other driver doesn’t help your case either.
Take photos if you can.
When the police ask you for information give the bare-bones facts as you know them. Do not volunteer any information. If you’re not entirely sure what happened you can say “it all happened very quickly, I’m not sure.”
Finally, get medical attention. Again, watch what you say here. Some people try to act tough, saying “I’m fine” or “I’m not really that hurt.” This can come back to bite them later when their injuries turn out to be severe or even life-altering. Claiming you’re seriously injured later on, after initially saying you were fine, usually looks like you’re inflating your harm for money.
Instead, you should just simply get the medical care you need and follow all of your doctor’s instructions to the letter. If you are hurt you need to tell your doctor, treatment providers like a physiotherapist or chiropractor as well as your lawyer the full extent of all your pain and suffering in order to get better and also to document and preserve this important evidence.
It is recommended also to keep a daily diary and jot down how you are feeling each day in relation to the recovery from physical injuries. And often times there can be emotional harm as well such as feeling depressed or unhappy due to the physical injuries caused by having to cope with all the impact from the accident. Again do not “tough it out” in the sense that you don’t document it or suffer in silence. It is important to document it and let medical providers and your lawyer know about everything. The diary will preserve these issues and act as a reminder and memory aid later.
As soon as you’re physically capable of doing so, you should choose and retain a personal injury lawyer. Do this before you call the insurance company. Ideally, your lawyer will call ICBC for you to inform them of the accident and to file your claim. This prevents ICBC representatives from trying to lead you into saying things which could harm you.
An experienced Langley ICBC lawyer should start to think as early on as possible about the proving of liability. So your Langley ICBC lawyer will help deal with any outstanding issues such as obtaining the police report and contacting witnesses for instance.
Your lawyer will also think about medical specialists and review your medical treatment plan to ensure nothing is being overlooked. Your Langley ICBC lawyer can then help to arrange necessary third party treatment and deal with any costs associated with it, like physio, chiro, or massage therapy, et cetera. In severe injury cases you may need referrals to medical specialists if there were injuries to the head (like concussion or loss of conciseness) or jaw injuries just to name two common examples, there are many other possibilities.
Contact a competent Langley ICBC injury lawyer as soon as you can as this also lets your lawyer review your case before examining any offers. Most early offers are too low to even cover a driver’s expenses after an accident, let alone be appropriate under the law for what you deserve for the full pain and suffering award.
It is usually too early in any event if you are to be receiving ongoing care. Getting to third party treatment, which a good Langley ICBC injury lawyer will arrange for you, helps in two ways: First it helps you to fully recover; Second it has the effect of building the evidence to increase the pain and suffering award. So it is usually not a great idea to start to negotiate the settlement until the course of treatment can be run and finalized.
How the Determination of Fault Impacts Your Case
If ICBC determines you are “at-fault” then you will only be paid basic medical and rehabilitation benefits up to $300,000, as well as $740 a week in wage loss payments. You won’t be able to recover for damages above the $300,000, nor will you be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering. You also won’t receive compensation for any loss of earning capacity.
ICBC will be working hard to prove you were at least 50% negligent. They may also try to prove you failed to mitigate your losses after the accident. Mitigation is the legal term meaning that you essentially are the author of your own misfortune because you did not go out and get the medical treatment or third party care (physio, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, etc) that does exist and is available. This reinforces what was stated earlier that a good Langley injury lawyer has to have your back on all these matters. The legal landscape is a tight rope walk in many ways and this is where having a good and experienced Langley ICBC lawyer fighting for you will really pay off. Failure to mitigate your losses will definitely be one of the tactics ICBC will use to try to argue as well as looking to place some of the liability blame for the accident to rest on your shoulders as both of these if argued successfully will reduce the amount they’ll ultimately have to pay. And this is their prime objective, there is can be no doubt about that!
Hiring a lawyer is the best way to protect yourself and your interests in the aftermath of the accident.
Why Merchant Law?
You will probably be google searching for “the best Langley ICBC lawyer” or the “best Langley injury lawyer” and then combing through the results. You ought to be wary of any lawyer who tells you they are “the best in Langley or the best in BC”, that is a claim that can not be justified. There are lots of probably equally good and experience ICBC lawyers in Langley City to choose from. That said you do need to choose your Langley ICBC injury lawyer carefully, not all lawyers are created equal, experience and diligence are probably the two most important factors as with any professional.
What we can promise all our clients is that when you work with Merchant Law you’re working with some of Canada’s toughest litigators. Our lawyers are experienced with the ins and outs of ICBC accident law, and choosing a lawyer with lots of experience gives you the best chance at securing a good outcome for your case.
Get started today by scheduling a free consultation. Call (604) 535-7777 or visit our office at 6337 198 St. #101, Langley City, BC.