BE PREPARED AT THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT
Gather information about the other vehicles and individuals involved, the circumstances of the accident, and witnesses. Never run away from the scene of an accident.
REPORT THE ACCIDENT TO ICBC
You are required to report your accident to ICBC as soon as reasonably possible. Claims can be reported around the clock by calling DIAL A CLAIM:
- 604-520-8222 within the Lower Mainland
- 1-800-910-4222 from anywhere else in the province or outside B.C.
After reporting your claim, an adjuster and a claim number will be assigned. Keep this information handy as you will need it in future.
ICBC will require a statement of the particulars of the accident, your injuries, employment and activities. You can either give your statement directly to the adjuster, or contact the MacLean Personal Injury Law team for assistance in preparing your statement.
You may also be asked to sign certain forms for the release of medical and employment information. Again, you can either do this yourself or have us help you. If you have any questions or concerns about the documents you are being asked to sign, it’s best to consult a lawyer before signing.
Finally, remember you have only a limited time to report the accident and file a claim. Call us if the claim process appears too complex and confusing.
SEE YOUR DOCTOR
Consult with your family doctor without delay to ensure that all of your injuries and any physical, psychological or emotional symptoms are properly documented and treated. It is important to follow medical advice carefully to promote prompt recovery.
Some of your medical expenses may be covered by ICBC at the outset of your claim regardless of who is to blame for the accident. This area can get quite technical. A MacLean Personal Injury lawyer can help you obtain immediate payment for many of the expenses associated with your injury.
CONSULT WITH A LAWYER
In some claim situations you will be best served if you consult with a lawyer. They will help you understand the process and options, and can help you communicate directly with your adjuster, coordinate the flow of medical information and handle the extensive paperwork often associated with a personal injury claim. The lawyer can ensure prompt payment of disability, medical or rehabilitation benefits to help ease your financial concerns.
It is important for you to retain someone you can trust to do a good job for you, and in whom you have confidence. If you would like to schedule a free initial consultation, please contact us and ask to speak to one of the MacLean Personal Injury lawyers.
ICBC will table a settlement offer directly, and you will be asked to sign a release form. If you are unsure whether the offer is reasonable, it is best to contact a MacLean Personal Injury lawyer for an opinion. If you elect to accept the offer and sign the release, your claim is concluded and you cannot ask for additional compensation even if your injuries get worse or new injuries are uncovered. There are very few exceptions, so if you are not sure what to do, a lawyer can help you decide the best course of action.
Some people settle their personal injury claim directly with ICBC and never regret their decision. However, there are many different categories of compensation that may apply to any situation, and each claim for compensation is unique.
START A LEGAL ACTION
The first step in launching a legal proceeding that can lead to a trial is initiating an “action”. Starting an action does not mean you have to go through a trial. In fact, most actions are settled before a trial. An action is started by preparing and filing court documents before the limitation period has expired. Your lawyer will prepare the proper court documents and will ensure that you comply with all time limits.
EXAMINATION FOR DISCOVERY
This is a formal judicial out-of-court review that allows each party to “discover” the other party’s case. Each side can ask questions, usually limited to the circumstances of the accident and the extent of the injuries, and the other party must answer under oath. The questions and answers are recorded word-for-word by a court reporter. This procedure enables each side to find out what information the opposing party has about the case and to assess credibility to determine who would be a convincing witness at trial
In claims involving serious injuries, both sides often retain expertise in medical, engineering, vocational or other fields in order to support your claim. Others can prepare financial reports about losses you may have suffered, such as lost wages, future income loss, lost pension benefits, future cost of medical treatments, etc.
TRIAL & JUDGMENT
If you consider the settlement offer from ICBC to be reasonable, you may proceed to a trial where a judge or jury will make a judgment on your claim. Very few claims go to trial, since they are costly and can be risky.
An alternative to trial is mediation. A mediator is an independent person whose role is to help both sides reach a settlement. Either you or ICBC can require the other parties to go through mediation, although there is no obligation to settle at the mediation.
Our lawyers will help you understand when and how you should consider initiating an action, and how best to prepare strategy for your day in court.