Motor vehicle accidents happen every day in British Columbia. In fact, 78,000 people were injured in motor vehicle crashes and 459 were killed on the roadways of British Columbia in 2005, according to the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). On any given day, there are 695 crashes, injuring 215 people, the ICBC also reports. Of these, at least one is fatal.
Determining liability, or who is at fault, in a motor vehicle accident is essential for a personal injury claim. Damages are awarded for injuries you suffered due to the negligence of another party.
If it is determined that you are partially at fault for an automobile accident, you will only collect that percentage of damages that were not your fault. For example, if it was found that you were 30 percent responsible for your accident, you will only be able to receive 70 percent of damages for your injury claim.
You can receive benefits for your injuries including:
- Pain and suffering
- Special damages (out of pocket expenses)
- Wage loss
- Cost of future care expenses
- Future loss of earning capacity
If the accident is entirely your fault, you will not be able to receive compensation for your injuries. However, you may still be able to collect no-fault benefits.
In general, if you are injured in an auto accident in British Columbia, even if you are determined to be at fault, you can collect “no-fault” benefits. Also known as “Part 7 Benefits,” these accident benefits are provided by the ICBC and cover medical and rehabilitation expenses up to a maximum of $150,000.These no-fault benefits can cover expenses in the categories of:
- Rehabilitation benefits
- Disability benefits
- Death expenses
These particular benefits can cover specific expenses such as:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractor treatments
- Home support services
- Medical equipment or devices
Decision of fault
The ICBC usually makes a quick decision when determining who is at fault. Often times, they do so without fully investigating a motor vehicle accident. It is important that witnesses are spoken to, police reports are analyzed, weather conditions are reviewed, driver statements obtained, and many other factors regarding liability are closely examined before a decision is made.
This is why it is important to consult an experienced British Columbia automobile accident attorney who can investigate your accident and advise you as to whether or not the crash was partially your fault.
If you are unsatisfied with the decision that the ICBC claims adjuster has made, there is an internal review process that you can undergo. You may also pursue your injury claim in small claims court or in the British Columbia Supreme Court. In this case, a jury or judge will determine who is at fault, and the ICBC must accept and honor that decision.
If you are a passenger injured in a motor vehicle accident, fault will not be an issue. Other factors that may have contributed to your injuries can potentially reduce the amount of compensation you can collect.
If you are injured
If you have been injured in an automobile crash or SUV rollover accident you are probably looking for information on how to address your rights, responsibilities, and where to turn for help. A personal injury lawyer can help you review your rights while making an ICBC claim and walk you through the claim process. An ICBC claims lawyer will fight for your rights and work to obtain a fair settlement for your personal injury claim.