Have you been injured in a car accident in British Columbia? Don't be too quick to settle your claim. While it may be tempting to take the first offer the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia makes you (especially if you've been out of work for a while because of the accident), you will often do better if you wait. The ICBC claims process is confusing as it is, and their adjusters always push you to take the smallest possible offer, since that means more money for them. Don't fall for their tactics. Here are three reasons why it pays to take your time with settling your ICBC injury claim.
1. It Takes Time to Realize the True Extent of Your Injuries
If you were injured in a car accident, you may not really know the true extent of your injuries for a while. Naturally, you start out hoping to recover completely. At the beginning, it may even look like you will. This may tempt you to take the ICBC's first settlement offer, which will be a low one.
In fact, ICBC wants you to settle your claim as soon as possible, because they don't want to have to pay a larger claim later. Once you settle your claim, you don't have any legal standing to make another one for the same accident.
The best thing to do is wait. Some injuries that seem like they will be temporary turn out to be permanent or chronic. It can take several years for this to become apparent. Go to your doctor's appointments and gather evidence to prove your injury and its severity.
Take your time with it. If it turns out your injury is more permanent than you originally thought, you will be able to make a reasonable (and probably successful) claim for a larger settlement with the ICBC.
2. Your Claim May Be Worth More Than You Think
If you are just talking to an adjuster sent out to you by the ICBC, you will probably be led to believe your claim isn't worth very much. It is the job of the adjuster to try to get you to accept the lowest possible offer. They get paid more in bonuses if you do, and the ICBC executives have more money for themselves, too.
Take your time and talk to an ICBC lawyer. Lawyers who specialize in ICBC cases will look a every aspect of your case, and they know British Columbia law well when it comes to settling car accident injury claims. Don't accept any offer until a lawyer has looked at your case.
If a lawyer wants to take your case, you will know it is worth a significant amount of money, despite what the adjusters may have told you. According to ICBCTips.ca, most lawyers won't take an ICBC case if the potential settlement isn't worth at least $20,000. As you can see, it pays to have a lawyer evaluate your case.
3. You May Be Entitled to Additional Money
If your car is damaged in the accident that injured you, the ICBC may write it off and sell it for scrap. If this is the case, the ICBC will tell you what the value of your vehicle is, and will transfer title into their name. However, their valuation of your car might not be correct, and they might not even mention paying you for your car if you don't bring it up.
First of all, don't settle any claim in which your car was damaged until you've spoken to the ICBC about totaling it. Second, do your own research on the value of your car. If you find evidence that your car is worth more than the ICBC is offering, show them the proof and demand a fair settlement.
Get a lawyer from a firm like Yearwood & Company to help you if you have to. It may take additional time to do this, but you deserve all the money you can get out of your ICBC claim, including money for your car.
While you may want to grab the first cash that's waved at you in your ICBC claim, take your time before accepting anything. Wait, and you may find your claim is worth a lot more than you thought it was. Even if it isn't, you owe it to yourself to find out the true value of your claim. Take it slowly, and make sure you get everything that you can legally get.