by Peter Buxton, trial lawyer
If you qualify for insurance coverage with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and you have been injured in an accident that is not your fault you may have two types of claims:
- A Tort Claim against the person who caused the accident, and
- A Part VII Claim arising from the Regulations of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.
Your Tort Claim
In civil law jurisdictions like B.C. a tort is a civil wrong. Negligence is a type of tort. If you can prove that you have suffered injury as a result of the negligence of the person who caused the car accident, you can advance a tort claim. The claim is made against the other person personally and if they have valid insurance with ICBC they will be provided with a defence through a lawyer appointed and paid for by ICBC.
In addition to proving liability you will be required to prove your damages arising from your injuries. There are several heads of damages discussed in an earlier blog post.
Your Part VII Claim
Your right to pursue a Part VII Claim is a statutory right set out in Part VII of the Regulations to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act of B.C. Hence the name. That part of the Regulations defines the so-called “no fault benefits” to which you may be entitled. You are entitled to them regardless of fault for the accident. Even if you caused the accident, and if you have not breached your insurance coverage (for instance by driving while impaired), you may be entitled to receive benefits for coverage of reasonable medical and rehabilitation expense, partial wage loss indemnity, homemaker benefits to pay for someone to come in to your home to help if you are disabled and death benefits payable to your surviving spouse or children.
Reporting Your Claim to Dial a Claim
As soon as possible after your accident you should call the ICBC Dial a Claim service or go online and report your claim. When you do so, do not discuss liability for the accident or things that others may have told you about how the accident happened. If you were injured in the accident make sure to report your injuries and state that you are making a claim for them and any property damage to your vehicle.
Should I Give a Statement to ICBC About the Accident?
As part of the reporting process you may be asked to take your vehicle to an ICBC Claim Centre and speak with an adjuster about the accident. Once there, you may be asked to sign certain forms and give a statement about how the accident happened and what your injuries are. Be aware that most often this statement will be written down and you will be told that you need to sign it. There is no obligation at law for you to provide a signed written statement to ICBC at the commencement of your claim. However, if you are making a claim for Part VII no fault benefits you may have to provide a statement and abide by certain time limits. But, you do not have to sign the statement.
Section 97 of the Regulations to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act says that
(1) Where an accident occurs for which benefits are provided under this Part, the insured shall
(a) promptly give the corporation notice of the accident,
(b) not later than 30 days from the date of the accident, mail to the corporation by registered mail, or deliver to the nearest claims centre of the corporation, a written report on the accident with particulars of the circumstances in which the accident occurred and the consequences of the accident, and
(c) within 90 days from the date of the accident furnish the corporation with a proof of claim in a form authorized by the corporation.
(2) The corporation is not liable to an insured who, to the prejudice of the corporation, fails to comply with this section.
Ideally you should seek out and retain a lawyer to assist you in providing a statement. If your lawyer writes the statement and sends it to ICBC on your behalf, then ICBC and the opposing party cannot use the statement against your interest in any subsequent court action on your claim.
Take advantage of free initial consultation services offered by many personal injury lawyers to discuss these issues.
If you have any questions about this post or relating to your motor vehicle accident or injuries contact me today for a free consultation by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 604.372.4550.
Visit my website at https://panlegal.ca/peter-buxton-qc