Drivers, by law, must reports accidents to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). According to the organization, between 2012 and 2016, Canadians in British Columbia reported over 290,000 automobile accidents. Among these accidents, 57,000 included a casualty that involved injury or fatality. Dealing and reporting accidents to ICBC, however, entails certain obligations that require drivers to understand their rights and obligations.
When in a car crash, drivers should move vehicles off the road. This is done to avoid further accidents. Vehicles sometimes receive too much damage and cannot be moved safely. If this is the case, contact a towing company and have the car moved professionally. You may be able to find a local car dealership that exclusively sells your make of car; they usually have repair shops on-site. Even if they don’t, the dealership will likely have a recommendation for a repair shop and/or towing company.
Accident victims should determine if anyone is injured, and if so, contact local authorities. Furthermore, motorists need to obtain information from each driver and person involved. Such information includes driver’s license numbers, names, license plate details, details of the car including make and model, and insurance information. If anyone witnessed the accident, obtain their contact information as well. Motorists should also document accident details by taking pictures or recording videos of the vehicles and other details such as skid marks.
Drivers should report the accident to the ICBC. This is done regardless of fault and can be completed via phone or online. The ICMC will need the details collected at the scene of the accident and will ask for information regarding the place of the accident, the police file number, and other information taken down at the scene. When dealing with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, drivers should never lie or make false statements as this may work against the process. Make sure that other motorists have provided valid information as well. This can be done by verifying phone numbers, license plates, and other details. It is important to be aware of the law as accidents that generate damages of $1000 or more require a motor vehicle accident report. The law stipulates that motorists involved in an accident file such a report within 48 hours.
Accident victims need to consider that the ICBC is not a legal entity but rather adjusters with clear goals. The job of this organization is to process claims quickly and efficiently. The ICBC earns a profit by managing claims and paying out said claims to policyholders. The fewer funds that the organization pays out, the higher the profit. Representatives may visit motorists that have been involved in accidents with forms ready to sign. Preszler Law, an ICBC Lawyer in Vancouver, suggests that victims obtain advice from a lawyer before signing any document or accepting a claim settlement. This lawyer group also advises motorists to understand the legal deadlines and time limits to file claims.
Lawyers with experience in dealing with the ICBC can aid in determining the value of the claim. It is important to understand that some injuries, such as mental stress and anxiety caused by the accident, are difficult to diagnose and are often ignored or undiagnosed. Additionally, car accidents often result in requiring medical assistance beyond the accident. If drivers did not seek out medical attention immediately following a car crash, the ICBC might consider the delay as evidence that a serious injury did not take place. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor following an accident even if the injury does not seem serious.
Along with property damage and personal injury, accidents can cause different levels of anxiety and stress. This stress can be compounded when drivers face the issue of having to deal with adjusters that do not consider all factors. Before the signing of any document or the acceptance of any settlement, accident victims should contact specialists whose vested interest is in obtaining a fair compensation for their clients.