Personal Injury & ICBC Claims
Personal injury claims can be brought by anyone who has suffered psychological or physical injury as a result of the negligent or intentional actions of another person or legal entity, such as a company. The most common personal injury claims arise out of motor vehicle accidents.
In British Columbia, this will mean the involvement of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC claims). ICBC will typically be involved in any injury claim arising out the use of a motor vehicle in British Columbia, whether that injury is to a driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist. Injured persons are often confused at the role of ICBC in their injury claim, believing that ICBC is “their” insurance company. In fact, ICBC represents both the injured person and the at-fault person. Arising from this is the fact that there are two distinct and separate claims with ICBC available to injured persons; the Tort claim and the No-Fault or Part VII claim. Most claims are settled through negotiation. In some cases it may be necessary to pursue your claim through a lawsuit (see Anatomy of a Lawsuit).
Personal injury claims may also arise as a result of injuries suffered on property (Occupier’s Liability), as a result of professional negligence [such as medical malpractice or dental malpractice] or may arise as a result of intentional acts such as physical or sexual assault. These types of claims are fault based and it is the responsibility of the injured person to show that their injuries were caused by the fault or intent of another person. There is a possible exception to this if you were engaged in the course of your employment at the time of your injury. In that case, regardless of who is at fault, you may be limited to making a Worker’s Compensation Claim.
With any type of injury claim that you may have, there are time limits that apply. These time limits can vary considerably, depending upon the persons involved, the place or circumstances of the injuries or the type of claim that is made. If you delay in seeking legal advice, your right to make a claim may be barred by the passage of time. In most instances, injured persons will be dealing with the insurer for the person who caused their injury. Insurance companies are represented by insurance adjusters (see Role of the Adjuster) who are either hired by the insurance company or are direct employees of the insurer. To protect their interests, many injured people seek representation from a lawyer (see Role of the Lawyer), in British Columbia also called a Barrister and Solicitor.