What to Do if ICBC Offers a Settlement After a Car Accident
Do you know what to do if you have been seriously hurt in a car accident and ICBC has offered you a settlement?
If you have been injured in a car accident and it wasn’t your fault, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries. It is important to think this through and not make a hasty decision when it comes to whether you accept an offer from ICBC.
This is especially true if your injuries are ongoing. A settlement is intended to adequately compensate the injured person, relative to the seriousness of the injuries.
How can a settlement be fair if the nature of your injuries or how long your injuries may last is not clear? It is important to understand this before you make the decision on whether to accept a settlement from ICBC.
How bad are your injuries?
Unless the injuries are resolved and you are back to the level of health that you experienced prior to the accident, it is usually ill-advised to take a settlement.
We understand that an immediate tax-free payment can be tempting. Bills pile up when you have been injured and can’t work. And that makes it enticing to accept an offer.
A settlement may not address your true situation
However, taking an early settlement can create serious issues in the long run. You are unlikely to receive fair compensation, going forward, should your injuries continue or get worse.
If you agree to a settlement, you can’t cancel it if your injuries turn out to be worse than you thought or if you don’t go back to your pre-accident health status. You are stuck with what you agreed upon before you truly understood your injuries and the effect the injuries would have on your future.
What if your injuries are ongoing?
ICBC isn’t doing anything unseemly or wrong by offering you a settlement. In most cases, people’s injuries are minor and fully resolve within a few months. Typically, ICBC‘s role is to provide an offer that fairly compensates those people whose injuries have resolved.
However, the challenge here is that ICBC may not fully understand the extent of your injuries and they may make an offer that is based on the “usual case,” where injuries have resolved quickly.
It is crucial that you are aware of this and that you are focused on ensuring that the compensation you receive is reasonable, relative to what your injuries are – and to fully understand the extent of what that means today and for the future.
What should you do if you have ongoing injuries and ICBC offers you a settlement?
It is important that you respond to an offer from ICBC respectfully and with a focus on what you need in the long term. Our recommendation is that you should inform ICBC that you want to wait and see whether your injuries resolve.
Don’t feel hurried to take a settlement
You have two years from the date of the car accident to take legal action to preserve your rights. Don’t feel hurried to make a decision about the settlement.
You should also consult with your family physician and get his or her opinion on your injuries.
If your injuries do not resolve, you should consult with a lawyer (most lawyers don’t charge for this kind of meeting).
If you choose to work with a lawyer, he or she will assist you with obtaining further and more specialized medical treatment if you need it.
Your lawyer will also advise you on what a fair settlement would be under your specific circumstances.
In addition, your lawyer will negotiate your settlement and – if necessary – commence legal proceedings.
How we can help
The Vertlieb & Co team has extensive experience in working with victims of serious accidents. We help you to navigate the complicated bureaucracy of ICBC, as well as ensure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries.
Have you been seriously hurt in an accident? Contact us today. We can help.