When I began practicing personal injury law over 20 years ago the legislation creating the Insurance Corporation of BC, ICBC, was much different. Back then ICBC did not control the motor vehicle licensing branch in the Province and did not work as an arm of government collecting fines for Translink. Today’s car insurance scheme in British Columbia is a complex set of legislation, rules and regulations that is not designed for claimants without legal assistance.
ICBC is a provincial Crown corporation, established in 1973 to provide universal automobile insurance to British Columbia drivers. It is the only automobile insurer in British Columbia as the owners of vehicles registered in the province must obtain basic insurance coverage from it. In addition, it provides extended third party liability and optional coverage. It is also responsible for driver licencing, and vehicle registration and licencing.
Claimants should not have to hire a lawyer to simply to make an ICBC claim. However Provincial legislation making any ICBC insured a designated defendant means that ICBC can reduce a loss of earnings claim by employing a complicated formula for “net” wage loss. Filing a lawsuit is even more complex as since 2010 claimant have to state the “legal basis” of the claim. A claimant, in many cases, is at a significant disadvantage without a lawyer.
For hit and run claims, for example, a lawsuit must be filed to seek damages against ICBC as the nominal defendant under s. 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. ICBC often rejects these claims taking the position that the claimant has failed to take all reasonable steps available to learn the identity of the driver and/or owner of the other vehicle as required by s. 24(5) of the Act. Making sure the claim is made within the requirements of section 24 will require specialized legal knowledge.
It is often important to obtain the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia’s adjuster’s file when ICBC refuses to pay benefits and obtain the ICBC Freedom of Information file. These ICBC injury claims would best be pursued by competent legal counsel.
Here are three great resources to help on any search for a personal injury lawyer to assist with an ICBC claim:
Posted by ICBC Claims Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.- “working for the injured, not ICBC or any other insurance company”