Top Ten Mistakes in Making an ICBC Claim

You might think ICBC has your best interests in mind; if you’re injured in a car accident, it’s ICBC that will compensate you. However, the goal of the insurance company is to make that compensation as small as possible. They may even try to deny your claim!  ICBC is just waiting for you to make a mistake. Press on one of these common mistakes below and find out what happens if you…

It is the courts in British Columbia which decide how much a personal injury claim is worth, not ICBC. If an ICBC adjuster tells you your claim is worth $10,000, that is merely their opinion, nothing more. ICBC will actually set a secret amount they think a claim may be worth, called their ‘reserve’. ICBC adjusters are paid to get you to settle at an amount below the ‘reserve’. You will never be told the ‘reserve’ amount, but with proper legal advice, you have a much better chance to assess what is a fair settlement offer, and what is a low-ball.

ICBC pays preferred doctors six figure incomes, so it is hardly surprising that they will side with ICBC.  If you are referred to one of these doctors, you should consult with an ICBC claims lawyer to determine your rights before being examined by such a doctor.

While chiropractors may help relieve your pain, their medical opinions and conclusions are unfortunately given less weight by the courts.  When confronted by opinions of ICBC doctors who typically have impressive credentials, the value of a chiropractor’s opinion is negligible.  You should also see a family doctor about once per month so the doctor can provide a medical opinion if necessary.

Some injured people will go to walk-in clinics.  This can mean seeing many different doctors over the course of your medical treatment.  The problem is, the treating doctor during any particular visit may not know your medical history or have a comprehensive understanding of your situation. You should see a family doctor through the course of your treatment who will be familiar with your entire medical history and course of treatment. This will result not only in better care, but a stronger medical opinion about your injuries.

It is quite normal to be shaken and distracted after a car accident.  Many victims do not disclose minor symptoms to their doctor, assuming they are unimportant.  However, serious medical conditions may start with only minor symptoms.  If you do not immediately tell your doctor about every symptom and have it documented, ICBC may simply disregard the symptom, or argue the injury was not a result of your car accident.

Many injured in car collisions assume they are not seriously injured because they have only minor symptoms and delay obtaining diagnostic evaluation and treatment for their injuries.  Sometimes very serious injuries are not immediately obvious.  Your delay in seeking medical attention may also be used by ICBC as evidence that you were not seriously injured.

There are many time limits that must be met when making an ICBC claim.  If you fail to comply with one of these time limits, it can result in your claim being denied.  An experienced ICBC claims lawyer can guide you through this confusing process.  Even if you think you missed a deadline, you should contact an ICBC claims lawyer who may still be able to help you pursue your claim.

You must provide information regarding both the identity and contact information for any driver as well as the owner of the vehicle.  The scene of an accident is a stressful and chaotic place, but this basic information is essential to your claim.

Your ICBC policy only requires you to report your accident to ICBC. This does not mean giving them a written statement before speaking to a lawyer.  In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, you may be adversely affected by pain, confusion and stress. This can result in omissions or mistakes in the information you provide to the ICBC adjuster. These mistakes or omissions can be used later to undermine your credibility. The ICBC adjuster will ask you questions designed to establish your role in causing the accident or to minimize your injuries and reduce your recovery.  You will also be asked detailed questions about treatment for injuries and medical conditions prior to the accident.  Any mistakes in the information you provide regarding medical history will also be used to undermine your credibility later. ICBC may also try to have you release all your private past medical information to them. They will try to reduce your claim by pointing out pre-existing conditions or injuries. For example, ICBC will sometimes argue “We aren’t paying you for your whiplash. That came from a workplace fall 5 years ago!” You should contact an ICBC claims lawyer immediately so that the lawyer can advise and help you prepare for your meeting with the ICBC adjuster.

While an ICBC adjuster may be handling your claim, the adjuster also works for ICBC as well as the defendant who is at fault in the accident.  The ICBC adjuster has a serious conflict of interest because their ultimate responsibility is to reduce the amount ICBC pays on your claim.  Even if the ICBC adjuster is friendly and amicable, the information you disclose or any documents you sign can and will be used against you later.  You should ALWAYS consult a lawyer before talking to an ICBC adjuster.

Unlike ICBC, we’re motivated to help you At Mulligan Tam Pearson, we will investigate your accident and injuries to help ensure you receive the maximum compensation.  We will represent you when negotiating with ICBC and, if necessary, in court. We will assist you in getting medical expenses covered. We’ll help you with advances and reimbursements for user fees, and even help to get you assistance with your household chores.  We only get paid a portion of your recovery, which means our interest is the same as your interest.  Unlike ICBC, we have an incentive to ensure ICBC pays the maximum amount on your claim.

We offer a free initial consultation. Contact us today.