Do You Have to Talk to ICBC? Should You?

If you've been in a car accident in British Columbia and are hurt, the question "should you talk to ICBC?" is an important one. Read about it here.


 

Insurance claims book

Short answers:

  • You must report your claim.  You can do so via dial-a-claim.
  • But you do not have to speak with a bodily injury adjuster.  If you are even thinking about hiring a lawyer, put off meeting with an adjuster until you speak with a lawyer.
  • If you are not going to hire a lawyer, you will need to communicate with an adjuster.

More information about dealing with ICBC after a car accident

Once you file a claim, an ICBC adjuster will request a meeting to discuss that claim. You are not required to meet with the adjuster  and you should not do so before hiring an attorney and/or learning your rights. The worst thing you can do is prematurely enter agreements with ICBC without legal representation and thorough research into the claims process.

Do not accept the meeting if you plan on hiring a lawyer at a later point. Once you retain the lawyer, you can allow them to communicate with ICBC on your behalf. If you do not plan to hire a lawyer, cannot afford to hire one right away, or are uncertain if you want to hire one, do not let ICBC pressure you into signing authorizations or making an official statement. You are not required to sign anything or authorize an official statement, even if you do want to seek lost wage benefits or immediate treatment for your injuries. You will need to file a CL22 application, but nothing else is required initially.

Benefits for Lost Wages

You must file a certificate of earnings to prove your income when seeking benefits for lost wages. The ICBC adjuster assigned to your claim can provide a blank certificate of earnings, and you need to allow your employer to fill it out. Your ICBC adjuster may also request validation of your injuries from your doctor. Your doctor can fill out the CL10 medical form or provide a note specifying your injuries.

Benefits for Medical Treatment

The CL19 medical form is used to confirm injuries so lost wages and/or medical treatment benefits can be approved. Medical treatment payments are issued directly to your doctor after the form is completed by your doctor and your injuries have been validated. ICBC can fax the form to your doctor, or you can bring it with you to your doctor’s appointment.

If you can cover the expense of your medical treatments temporarily and do not need to file for lost wages immediately, you should not complete any of these forms. You will have the chance to file for lost wages and recoup the expense of your medical treatment at a later date if you so desire. These expenses will become part of your claim, so you lose nothing by declining to file for that coverage right now.

What if you have already released a statement and/or signed authorization for your ICBC adjuster  You can revoke your authorization by writing your adjuster with the request, and a lawyer can review your statement and ensure any inaccuracies are corrected.

Applying for Benefits Using the CL22 (An ICBC Form)

The CL22 form must be filed before you can receive lost wages or medical treatment benefits. If you retain a lawyer, allow them to handle this application on your behalf. If you do not retain a lawyer right away, you may need to file this form on your own to receive benefits as soon as possible.

You must list your injuries and related symptoms accurately on this form. Start with your head and move downward to list all relevant symptoms, injuries, and medication side effects. Ask yourself the following questions for every body part to ensure your list is accurate and complete:

1. What type of plain do you feel?

2. Are you suffering from psychological or emotional symptoms? Examples might include post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or depression.

In most cases, the form will not provide enough space for a thorough list of injuries and symptoms. You can continue your list on a separate piece of paper and attach it to the form. Mark this attached sheet of paper with the following title:

“Continuation of listed injuries from page one. (Insert your name).”

This form will also ask if you have private insurance. Determine this information before filling out the form. The final piece of information required for this form is a list of your employers and an accurate report of your earnings. If your income fluctuates, provide an average of your income for one year. Make sure you identify this figure as an average yearly figure. All of your employers must be included on the form.

Final Notes

Sign your CL22 and keep a copy in your files. Your lawyer will do the same if you decide to hire one.

If you are not using a lawyer, be prepared to sign releases of information and an official statement to your ICBC advisor. In most cases, ICBC will refuse to settle your claim without this documentation. You will be more likely to receive a favorable settlement if an experienced lawyer helps you with this process.

At the very least, allow a lawyer to review any settlement offer ICBC extends to you. It is not unheard of for ICBC to make a reasonable offer without a lawyer involved, but in so many cases those without legal representation receive low settlement offers. Once you accept a settlement you will probably never receive more compensation, so make sure you are fully covered before accepting your offer.




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