You’ve probably seen all the “what to do after a car accident” advice before. You know you should get the other driver’s name, number, and ICBC or insurance policy number. You know you should gather witness information, and take pictures.
Yet what happens if you are too injured after your accident to do any of that? What if you were unconscious and raced to the ER, and didn’t even know there had been an accident when you finally woke up?
This scenario happens all the time, and it won’t stop an outstanding personal injury lawyer from helping you. In truth, this may even mean you received traumatic brain injuries that will make your lawyer’s help even more vital. You have a severe, expensive injury, and the other driver has a head start in the upcoming legal battle.
The other driver may have been awake for example. They got to tell their side of the story to the police, and that side of the story may make it look as if the accident was your fault.
Your lawyer will obtain a copy of the police report and note the names of any eyewitnesses. We’ll get in touch with them and ask them questions in an “examination of discovery.” We’ll get them on the record about what they saw. One of the goals of this examination will be to look for flaws in the statement the other driver gave about the facts of the accident.
Your lawyer will also examine your medical records, any video that might exist which could have caught the car accident, and any photographs which might exist. It may also be necessary to hire accident reconstruction experts to help dive deep into the facts of the case.
Having a lawyer who has experience with traumatic brain injury cases is vital here, as they often come with memory loss which can make it difficult for you to contribute to the narrative even after you’re awake.
ICBC is likely to favor a determination that holds you at fault. This is because if the other driver did not sustain a similar injury they are likely to represent a far less expensive payout. They can pay you the part 7 no-fault benefits, a $300,000 benefit that won’t scratch the surface of your long-term needs.
If the other driver is barely damaged then they are likely to be satisfied with a part 7 payout too. If the other driver sues you for third party benefits the payout they have to make may still be much lower.
There are of course cases where local drivers get into accidents with out-of-province drivers who have multiple insurance claims. The private insurance companies are likely to be even more ruthless about naming you as the negligent party.
So while being unable to remember your car accident isn’t a deal-breaker as far as winning your case goes, it is a sign you should get the best personal injury lawyer you should find, and it’s also a sign that you should do it as quickly as possible.