If you have recently been injured in a car accident, you probably have many questions. Any victim who is struggling with the physical, emotional and financial aftermath of being involved in an accident needs to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
The right lawyer can help explain your rights to you and give an expectation of how your case is likely to proceed as it relates to ICBC. One of the most important steps you need to take immediately after being injured in a car crash, motorcycle crash, boating accident, or any other type of vehicle wreck is to file an ICBC claim.
The type of claim that you ultimately decide to file for benefits will have a major impact on how much you are awarded in benefits. Read on to learn more about the different types of ICBC claims and how these may change your settlement decision. It is also important to realize that as a victim you may be eligible to disagree with ICBC settlement offer.
Types of ICBC Claims
It is strongly recommended that you have a personal injury lawyer working with you in this situation, so that you understand what to expect. There are two primary types of claims that an individual may file with ICBC.
The first is known as a Tort Claim. This means that you are filing an insurance claim through the other driver’s policy and your ability to recover damages is associated with the other driver’s negligence. This is paid out only if the individual who is seeking compensation, which is you as the victim, is able to illustrate that the at-fault driver committed a negligent act and that the negligent act was the cause of your injuries.
The second type of claim is a no-fault claim, also referred to as a part 7 claim. These will be paid under the mandatory auto-insurance that everyone in British Columbia is required to have known as your basic auto-plan. Cyclists, pedestrians, and passengers are usually covered so long as the injuries from the accident associated with the operation and use of a British Columbia vehicle. Auto-plan accident benefits will pay for up to $150,000 in rehabilitation and medical costs, so long as your coverage conditions are met and the insurance was active at the time.
How Do Claims Adjustors Determine Pay Out Amounts?
In addition to your coverage limits outlined above, there are other elements that may impact your total benefits award. These include:
- Your coverage: Although sometimes our insurance coverage is managed in British Columbia, others are not. If you purchase collision coverage, then this coverage will pay for damage to your vehicle, even in the instance that you are found at-fault.
- Fault: If you are determined to be at-fault for the wreck, you may not receive as much compensation as you otherwise would have been, have you not been at-fault.
- Actual damages: The damages suffered will have a major impact on the amount of compensation that your ICBC claim adjustor will award you. If your medical expenses are less than the total coverage limit, you may not receive the full-coverage limit. You may be eligible to recover a variety of damages in an ICBC claim, including:
- Wage loss benefits
- Rehabilitation and medical expenses
- Home-maker benefits
- Benefits and funeral expenses
- Comprehensive and collision coverage
- Underinsured coverage
If you file a Tort claim, you’ll be entitled to cover any losses that were not covered under your individual insurance policy, such as:
- Compensation for future medical expenses
- Past and future wage loss
- Out of pocket expenses
- Non-pecuniary damages like loss of enjoyment of life or pain and suffering
In the event that you receive an ICBC settlement offer that you do not agree with, you may be eligible to bring your claim to court or negotiate for a higher amount. Having a personal injury lawyer assist you with this is strongly recommended.