If an ICBC offer is made after an auto accident first get the offer in writing and second confirm the deadline. Understanding offers of settlement is ephemeral for most people but personal injury lawyers gain an enduring knowledge of the ICBC settlement process.
It does not matter whether it is the first, second, third or fourth offer the best ICBC offer is one high enough to compensate and low enough to beat.
Get the ICBC Offer in Writing
This will be critical as you will be required to sign a release for the precise amount and terms agreed in the settlement. Relying on oral agreements will require you and ICBC to abandon the parole evidence rule, allowing extrinsic evidence to add, vary or even contradict the terms and conditions you thought you had agreed upon.
This use of extrinsic evidence is a problem for ICBC and they will usually put serious offers in writing. So, do not put an offer in writing that you are not prepared to accept.
An offer to settle from ICBC must be clear and unambiguous. For an offer to be clear and unambiguous, the costs consequences must also be clear and unambiguous.
A Formal Offer must be in writing and contain the words required by Rule 9-1(1)(c)(iii) such as, “The Defendants reserve the right to bring this offer to the attention of the court for consideration in relation to costs after the court has pronounced judgment on all other issues in the proceeding.”
Confirm the Deadline for any Offer
Have ICBC extend the offer deadline in order to seek legal advice. The lawyer may negotiate extending the deadline allowing the deadline question to be less of a pressing issue. In fact the recommendation may be to reject to offer as too low.
Making an offer to settle to ICBC with a deadline may be important in obtaining your costs of the lawsuit.
There is no requirement that the acceptance or the withdrawal of an offer to settle be in writing or be served. However a deadline for an ICBC offer should be confirmed in writing.
Assess the Value of the Case
There are other factors that should be considered when ICBC makes an offer. An injury lasting less than six to 12 weeks should not require a lawyer and the value of pain and suffering will fall within Small Claims ( typically less than $25,000). The Supreme Court hears personal injury claims ranging from catastrophic to minor given that there is a common law cap on damages that can be awarded for pain and suffering, the Court’s approach to these cases is necessarily comparative.
In Nowicki v. Moslehi, 2003 BCSC 425, the claimant suffered injuries to her chest, neck, back and hips when her car was rear-ended. The court found that the injuries to the back and hips had resolved within six to 12 weeks and found that this was “a relatively short-lived claim and a rather minor or modest injury.” The claimant was awarded $5,000 for pain and suffering in 2003 dollars.
I recommend you seek professional advice for more serious injuries. Injuries extending beyond 12 weeks in which ICBC make an offer can be worth up to $367,000.00 in 2017 dollars for pain and suffering. Physical and emotional vulnerabilities can also significantly affect the value of any out of court settlement with ICBC.
Counter Offer the First ICBC Offer
The reasonableness of a decision not to accept an offer to settle must be assessed not by reference to the ultimate award but rather the circumstances existing when the offer was open for acceptance.
In the case of formal offers, Supreme Court Rule 9-1(8) states that an offer to settle does not expire by reason that a counter offer is made. The formal offer procedure does not incorporate all aspects of the traditional law of contract recognized in BC when considering informal offers. The procedure is such that there may be more than one offer to settle, as defined by Rule 9-1(1)(c), outstanding at any given time with the advantage afforded with respect to legal costs available to any given offeror.
Consider Professional Help
You stand the best chance of getting a great ICBC settlement if you have a personal injury attorney on your team when ICBC makes right offer to settle. A free consultation with a competent lawyer can quickly clear up whether you need help.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, over 21 years experience settling ICBC injury claims.- call our office to find out if Mr. Holness is currently accepting new clients.