Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have been hurt, whether in a car accident, slip and fall, or other cause like medical malpractice, you should:
- get the names and contact information (phone numbers, email addresses, residential addresses, etc.) for everyone who was involved. If you were in a car accident, you should also get everyone’s driver’s licence numbers and the licence plate numbers for all of the cars involved;
- get the names and contact information for all witnesses. The witnesses will have important evidence for me;
- take several pictures of the accident scene; and
- make a summary and drawing of how the accident occurred.
Finally, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
You are required to report your claim immediately to ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim (604-520-8222 in the Lower Mainland or 1-800-910-4222 elsewhere in BC, Canada, and the US). You should provide only information about the parties involved and basic details about how the accident happened. The information you provide should be accurate, concise, and factual. Do not discuss liability or who is at fault for the accident.
Most of the time, ICBC will ask you to attend at a local claim centre to meet an adjuster and sign a statement and authorizations. You are not required to sign these documents and in my opinion, it is not a good idea to meet the adjuster without speaking to a lawyer first. There are documents which need to be completed for ICBC and I can assist you with this process.
ICBC’s decision about who is at fault for an accident is an internal decision and is not binding on a Court. If you have been unfairly held at fault for an accident, I may be able to assist you. I have acted for many clients who were told that they were at fault for accidents and we were able to overturn the decisions.
“Part 7 benefits” are the same thing as “accident benefits” or “no fault benefits”. These names are used because the section of law regulating these benefits is “Part 7” of the Regulations to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, these benefits arise from a car “accident”, and these benefits are paid regardless of who is at “fault” for the accident. For example, if you are rear ended, the other driver is probably at fault for the accident; however, both you and the other driver will be entitled to receive Part 7 benefits. Part 7 benefits require ICBC to pay for part of your medical expenses, such as physiotherapy fees, and in some cases, wage loss benefits.
A tort claim is the legal term for a civil claim or lawsuit against the party who is responsible for the accident and the injuries you have suffered. In the example above, you would have a civil claim against the other driver but the other driver would not have a civil claim against you because the other driver is at fault for the accident.
Your Part 7 benefits claim and your tort claim are separate claims and in theory, should be handled by different adjusters. However, if you have been involved in a car accident and the at fault driver is insured by ICBC, you often have the same ICBC adjuster in charge of both your Part 7 benefits claim and your tort claim. If so, the ICBC adjuster is likely in a conflict of interest because the adjuster is obligated to pay for your medical expenses and in doing so, builds evidence to support your tort claim.
I cannot answer that question without speaking to you. Often, people are hesitant to hire a lawyer because of the stigma involved or the worry that their case is not worthwhile. In my experience, you obtain a better result when you hire a lawyer – even after you pay legal fees. I do not charge you for an initial consultation and as such, encourage you to speak with me. If I believe that it is not necessary for you to hire a lawyer at this time, I will tell you.
Generally, you have to sue before the 2 year anniversary of the accident. If you do not sue before the 2 year anniversary, then the law will bar you from receiving any compensation at all.
You should speak with me as soon as possible because there may be good reason to start your lawsuit well before the 2 year anniversary date.
Typically, you will be awarded money for your:
• pain and suffering;
• out of pocket expenses (past and future); and
• wage loss (past and future).
You should be aware that in Canada, pain and suffering awards are capped at a maximum amount of approximately $350,000. This amount is reserved for people who have suffered catastrophic injuries such as becoming paralysed in an accident.
I can provide you with an initial opinion about what your claim is worth and will be able to provide a better valuation once I know what the medical experts think about your injuries.
In most cases, I am hired on a contingency basis. In other words, your legal fees will be paid as a percentage of the money recovered and you do not need to pay anything until your claim is resolved.
I can provide you with a second opinion and then, if you wish to change lawyers, I will make the necessary arrangements.
When I left physiotherapy, my colleagues printed off a list of lawyer jokes for me. I promised that I would practice with hard work, honesty, and integrity. I believe that these values have allowed me to establish a solid reputation – particularly with my clients and insurance companies.