ICBC Claims: Frequently Asked Questions

When you are involved in a crash, ICBC will assign an adjuster to your file. The adjuster works both for you (for your vehicle damage repairs claim and rehabilitation benefits claim) and against you (for your personal injury claim). That is why most ICBC claims lawyers say that it is very important to consult with a lawyer before dealing with ICBC yourself. After all, we only have one job – to protect your interests. We believe so strongly that it is important to consult with a lawyer before dealing with ICBC that we provide free, no-obligation consultations to people injured in a crash. Please do not hesitate to contact us to set up an appointment.

It is very important to understand some of the following facts before dealing with your ICBC adjuster on your own, as it is easy to accidentally hurt your claim.

  1. Do I need a lawyer?
    • Every person and every claim is different. In most cases, we believe that injured people benefit from having a lawyer assist with their claim. However, not every case requires a lawyer, and it is our obligation to you to advise you of that. That is why we offer free, no-obligation consultations, to help you assess whether or not a lawyer is right for you on the facts of your particular case.
  2. The ICBC adjuster told me that I could get a lawyer if I wanted but I didn’t really need to do so because she was “my adjuster” for this claim. Is that true?
    • In personal injury claims the ICBC adjuster is obligated to look after your interests only in respect of the statutory “rehab benefits” claim. The adjuster is acting in the interests of the at-fault driver for your personal injury claim and will want to pay you the lowest possible amount of damages.
  3. The ICBC adjuster told me that my case would take longer if I hired a lawyer. Is that true?
    • ICBC will attempt to settle your file as soon as possible to reduce the amount of money they have to pay you. They often do this while you are still recovering from your injuries and before your doctor can provide an opinion regarding how your injuries may affect you later in life. Your personal injury lawyer will make sure that your case is conducted so that settlement discussions can be discussed as soon as you and your doctors know that you have made a full recovery or what your future prognosis is.
  4. The ICBC adjuster told me that if I hire a lawyer I will receive less, after legal fees, than if I had no lawyer. Is that true?
    • The ICBC adjuster works for ICBC and represents the driver at fault for the collision. The adjuster has an obligation to his or her employer to keep personal injury pay-outs low and each adjuster is subject to supervision and audit to ensure those settlements are low. Remember that it is in ICBC’s best interests to keep you away from a lawyer!
  5. Do I have to meet with an ICBC adjuster?
    • You do not have to meet with an adjuster, but if you are the driver of a vehicle, you will have to provide ICBC with some information, including a statement regarding the collision. If you are making a claim for personal injury it may be necessary to provide ICBC with a statement and other information. Because this statement may be used against you at a later date if it is inaccurate, it is important that it is prepared with the assistance of your lawyer.
  6. The ICBC adjuster said I had to sign a medical authorization or I would not be entitled to wage loss and other benefits. Is this true?
    • If you deal directly with ICBC they will require you to sign such a medical authorization. This authorization will give ICBC unrestricted access to all your medical information. This even includes your medical history prior to the motor vehicle collision. With a lawyer, ICBC will not be given this authorization, but will be provided with medical information gathered by your lawyer. Your lawyer, in turn, will only share information that is relevant to your case.
  7. Should I hire a lawyer or law firm that also does work for ICBC?
    • Lawyers and law firms that work for ICBC sign an agreement with ICBC that they will not make claims on behalf of their clients against ICBC for improper conduct by ICBC or its adjusters. For example, if ICBC acts in “bad faith”, those lawyers have made a promise not to sue ICBC. We only act for injured people and never for insurance companies, so our loyalty to you is always crystal clear.
  8. I was told by the ICBC adjuster that I don’t have a claim. What should I do?
    • ICBC has internal policies that require the adjusters to keep personal injury awards low. Sometimes they accomplish this by telling claimants that they have no claim. On other occasions the adjuster can simply be wrong because they either do not have all the information, or have incorrectly assessed the information they do have. It is important for you to see a lawyer who is experienced in personal injury matters to determine whether you have a claim against other parties.
  9. If I settle my claim with ICBC can I re-open the claim later if my injury still affects me?
    • Once your injury claim is settled, it is not possible to re-open your claim, even though your injury is affecting your ability to earn an income. For this reason it is important to determine the full extent of how your injury may affect your earning capacity and enjoyment of life in the years to come. We obtain reports from medical experts who are qualified to give these opinions.
  10. The ICBC adjuster has told me that because my doctor has diagnosed me as having soft tissue injuries and that I should make a full recovery, my case should be straightforward and therefore easy for the adjuster and I to settle. Is this true?
    • In some instances where your injuries are only slight, you may not need a lawyer and we will tell you so. However, because everyone’s physical appearance and condition is unique, each person’s injuries are unique and so too is their recovery from those injuries. Unfortunately, soft tissue injuries can take a long time to heal, and in some cases be permanent. So, even cases that start off as appearing simple can become exceedingly complex. You are better off having a lawyer assist you with accessing medical treatment and gathering medical information soon after your collision, rather than months later.