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What To Do When You Get In A Car Accident

Following a motor vehicle accident

Check yourself and others for injuries and receive medical attention if required.

Document the Accident:

  • Basics: Time, Date, Location
  • Names, addresses, phone numbers of all drivers/owners of the vehicles involved including vehicle license plate numbers
  • Detailed observation of the scene of the accidents – take photographs if it is safe to do so
  • Get the contact information

Make sure police are called so they can file an accident report is prepared and communicate with the police to ensure that your details are included in the police report.

See your doctor as soon as possible to find any underlying injuries which may have resulted.

Report the accident/File a claim with ICBC.  It is mandatory to report all accidents in BC to ICBC. It is preferable if you talk to a lawyer at Collins & Cullen before you contact ICBC in order that you are prepared for your interview.

Continually watch for additional injuries, some injuries take longer to develop

Track costs and inconveniences that a direct result of your involvement in the accident:

  • Towing costs, transportation home, time off work, pain and discomfort, household management time lost, etc.
  • Keep receipts and any other documentation including emails filed

How to report your accident:

  • You can call ICBC by, attend a local claim center, or have your lawyer report your claim on your behalf
  • The ICBC representative will take your statement and will likely make arrangements to view your vehicle and record the damage
  • If a lawsuit arises from your accident, your statement will likely become a part of it. It is important to ensure that your statement is accurate

We would recommend that you consult a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident to discuss this process, and prior to contacting ICBC.

Settlement is the final step to the claims process.  Negotiating a settlement requires planning and thought.

You should never settle your claim until your injury has stabilized or plateaued.

  • You want to be sure you do not settle your case too early. ICBC knows that the longer the injuries persist, the more the claim is worth.  ICBC will often push for settlement before the long term effects of the injury are known.  If the pain gets worse, or there are complications in the future, the general rule is that you cannot reopen your claim.

Other things to consider when settling include:

  • How will you prove the amount of compensation that is fair for your injury claim?
  • How to handle the most common reasons ICBC uses to diminish settlement claims including holding you partly responsible for your injuries, arguing your injuries are just an aggravation of a past injury or that your time off work is excessive?

To ensure you get a fair settlement, contact one of the lawyers a Collins & Cullen (Link) early after the accident.  From the date of the accident to the date the claim is settled the facts of every case are carefully looked at by I.C.B.C.  A lawyer at Collins & Cullen can insure that the important facts are preserved and that the appropriate steps are taken along the way to investigate the accident and to ensure that you receive proper care ensure maximum recovery for your injuries and fair compensation for your injury claim.

The benefits of consulting a lawyer early after an accident are:

  1. To ensure all time limits for filing the claim are met
  2. So that a thorough analysis of who is at fault is done while the evidence is still available
  3. To ensure that your right to Part VII benefits is protected

To ensure that all medical evidence, wage loss evidence and your right to reimbursement of receipts is protected.

Part 7 Benefits are no-fault benefits available to almost every resident in British Columbia injured in a motor vehicle accident. Even if you were completely at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to ICBC Part 7 benefits.  However, these benefits are limited in scope and are not intended to fully compensate a person who is injured and who is not at fault for the collision.

These benefits include medical and rehabilitation benefits, wage loss benefits for total disability and death benefits.

  • Medical and rehabilitation benefits: Includes all “reasonable” and “necessary” costs up to $150,000 under basic coverage.  Generally include coverage for ambulance services, medication, chiropractic treatment, physiotherapy and massage therapy.  However, ICBC, the plaintiff and the plaintiff’s healthcare providers view of what is “reasonable” and “necessary” often conflicts.

When someone else is at fault, you will be eligible for additional compensation, see How is personal injury calculated

  • Disability (Wage Loss) Benefits: If your injury prevents you from working, getting access to wage benefits may be a challenge. Several qualifications must be met.

The legal standard for determining disability and eligibility for benefits is whether you are unable to perform “any substantial requirement” of your ordinary job.  To meet this standard, ICBC will require verification of employment status along with medical evidence to approve these benefits.

  • If you have lost wages as a result of the injury consideration should be given to filing a claim with your disability insurer or Service Canada for Employment Insurance Sick Benefits.

Our lawyers are experienced in collecting evidence to prove disability and help our clients gain access to these benefits.

  • Death Benefits: Include funeral expenses and survival benefits.
  • It may be advisable to consider applying for E.I. sick pay if you qualify or apply for disability payments through a private disability insurer.

If you have any questions regarding Part 7 Benefits, ask one of our lawyers.

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