In the event of road accidents or vehicle collisions, your primary concern may be to seek medical help for injuries and recover from the emotional shock! However, there are many other important steps you need to take at the site of the accident so that you do not undermine your rights inadvertently. Our personal injury lawyers’ goal at Dick Byl Law Corporation is to ensure that you handle your circumstances properly in such situations. In a typical road accident case, here is a round-up of basic guidelines you can follow to minimize or possibly avoid the risks and liabilities that may arise and claim your insurance benefits.
Pull over, if you can, and call 911.
Cooperate with the first responders, police, and paramedics.
Remember that our various statutes require that you remain at the scene, provide name and address particulars, and insurance/registration particulars to the other driver(s).
Get as much scene evidence as you can get. Almost everyone carries a cell phone; almost all cell phones have a camera feature. Take as many pictures as you can of the vehicles, the skid-marks, the location of debris on the roadway, the damage on the vehicles, and so on. The more, the better. Video is better yet.
Get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses. If you do not have this, a witness might as well not exist.
Phone the ICBC Dial-a-Claim line at 1-800-910-4222, make a claim, and write down your claim number. Lawyers, doctors, physiotherapists, massage, and therapists - everyone will want this number.
Get medical attention, and do what your doctors, physiotherapists, etc. tell you to do. ICBC has been successful in too many cases because there is a lack of medical evidence. They also win plenty of cases by arguing that you continue to be injured because you do not follow medical advice. Do not give ICBC these defences.
If you cannot work because of an accident, go to Employment Insurance. They will normally pay you some compensation for 15 weeks of lost income.
If you have a short-term disability plan with your employer, make a claim under it. A few years ago, ICBC was able to change the law requiring you to exhaust other sources of compensation like Employment Insurance (EI) and short-term disability first. It is one of the endless numbers of tricks ICBC uses to keep the value of claims down and increase profits, giving the appearance of greater efficiency. It is not particularly fair, but it is the law.