When is it a good idea for you to hire a lawyer to assist you with your ICBC claim? You may have been involved in a complex accident where ICBC alleges that you were at fault. Or you may be suffering from serious, longstanding injuries and you are unsure if ICBC is compensating you fairly. Even in minor accidents where you recover from your injuries within one to two months after the accident, hiring a lawyer can add significant value to your claim.
In some cases, it can be easy to determine which driver is at fault in an accident. If you are stopped at a red light and another vehicle rear-ends you, ICBC will likely take the position that the other driver is at fault. In other situations, however, determining fault (also known as liability) for an accident can be more complex. You may be making a left turn at a busy intersection, or you may be passing a vehicle that turns into you. In these situations, ICBC may take the position that you are either entirely or partially at fault for the accident. An experienced lawyer will take various steps to ensure that fault is properly assessed, such as hiring an investigator, interviewing witnesses, examining the veracity of the other driver’s statements, reviewing legislation, assessing case law, and negotiating with ICBC on your behalf. Failing to take these steps properly can make the difference between a successful claim and a failed one.
Determining the value of your claim requires expert knowledge. Several heads of damages may come into play in assessing the value of your claim, including damages for pain and suffering, out-of-pocket expenses like parking and mileage to and from treatment, past wage loss, loss of future earning capacity or lost opportunities to earn income, loss of housekeeping capacity, and costs of future medical care. Awards made under these heads of damages will vary depending on the severity and duration of your injuries, but factors like your age, profession, income, and your health before the accident are all likely to impact the value of your claim. Hiring a skilled lawyer will help ensure that you realize the full value of your claim, especially if you have an injury that will last long-term. Your concern should not be how well you are doing six months after the accident but ten years or more after the accident; some injuries are unfortunately permanent, even injuries like whiplash that can at first appear less serious.
Generally, you have two years from the date of your accident to file your claim in court, whether by notice of civil claim in the Supreme Court of British Columbia or by notice of claim in Small Claims Court. The period of time during which you are eligible to file a claim is known as a limitation period. Failing to file your claim within the limitation period can prevent you from recovering any value for your claim.
In cases that involve a municipality, you may also need to give proper notice within two months of the accident or else your case could be barred.
A lawyer’s job is to properly assess and demonstrate the full extent of your losses so you can be fairly compensated. If you do not have enough evidence, then the court will not award you damages you would otherwise be due.
ICBC will take steps to minimize the value of your case with a team of trained insurance adjusters and even lawyers. They will argue in favour of assessing fault against you or downplaying the severity of your injuries.
An experienced lawyer will acquire the necessary evidence on your behalf to ensure you build a strong, fair case against ICBC. Lawyers can hire medical specialists and other experts to provide opinions on the nature of your injuries, how they have impact your life and what treatment you will need in the future.
Navigating ICBC’s system of funding for treatment and disability benefits can be complex. Although ICBC offers to partially fund treatments related to rehabilitation for your accident-related injuries, paying for treatment can be financially burdensome. Lawyers experienced with dealing with ICBC’s Part 7 benefits related to treatment and disability are able to direct you to various resources to fund treatment and assist you with securing benefits.
Regardless of the severity of the injuries you sustain in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, the lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can provide you with valuable advice to help you with your claim to ensure you get fair compensation and the treatment you need. Our lawyers will speak to you for free and work to put you on the right track with your ICBC claim.