Yes. If you are injured in an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance, you can still bring an ICBC claim. This post will discuss the options for benefits and compensation and what you will need to do to get compensation from ICBC.
At the outset, it should be noted that the process for bringing an uninsured motorist claim in BC can be complicated, so it is highly recommended that you get legal advice. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP today at 1-855-852-5100 – we can guide you through the uninsured motor vehicle accident claims process and ensure that you receive all accident benefits and personal compensation to which you are entitled. Options for compensation for injuries caused by an uninsured driver in BC If you are injured by a driver who does not have third party liability insurance, you have two main options to recover benefits and compensation: • File a Part 7 accident benefits claim. Part 7 accident benefits cover necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses and wage loss, and are available if you suffer injuries as a motorist, passenger, motorcyclist, bicyclist or pedestrian. A Part 7 claim is also known as a “no-fault” claim as Part 7 benefits can be recovered even if you were at fault for the accident. • File an uninsured motorist claim. If the other driver was at fault and had no insurance, you can bring an ICBC claim for personal injury compensation under s. 20 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. The statutory program created by s. 20 establishes an uninsured motorist fund to compensate individuals for injuries caused by a driver with no insurance. Coverage for uninsured motorist claims Coverage for an uninsured motorist claim is limited to $200,000 per accident, which includes any claims for costs, prejudgment interest and post-judgment interest. If you are injured by an uninsured driver, you may also be entitled to EI benefits, WCB benefits, or other government benefits. However, ICBC may argue that those benefits should be deducted from the $200,000 available through the uninsured motorist fund. Sick leave benefits (e.g. through your employer or pursuant to a collective agreement) may not be deductible. This is a complex area of BC insurance law and you should get legal advice from the experienced personal injury lawyers at Bronson Jones & Company LLP to ensure you receive maximum compensation from all available sources. Requirements for filing an uninsured motorist claim If you were injured by an driver with no insurance, you can file an uninsured motorist claim, provided that the accident occurred on a “highway” in BC and that it was not a hit-and-run accident (in other words, the identity of the uninsured motorist must be known to file an uninsured motorist claim – see here for our personal injury lawyers’ discussion of hit and run ICBC claims). You must notify ICBC in writing of an uninsured motorist claim as soon as possible, using a specific application form. ICBC will then give notice to the uninsured motorist and/or owner of the uninsured vehicle. Depending on the uninsured person’s response and whether liability for the accident is disputed, ICBC may negotiate with you directly to settle your claim, or you may have to negotiation directly with the uninsured person. Claiming against a driver who is in breach of their insurance There is a legal distinction between what is considered an uninsured driver and a driver who is in breach of his or her insurance. An uninsured driver is someone who has no third-party liability insurance. If you are injured in an accident involving an uninsured driver or vehicle, your claim is against ICBC’s uninsured motorist fund and is limited to $200,000. If, however, you are injured in an accident and the driver or owner of the vehicle that hit you has insurance but is found to be in breach of it, your claim is against the insured driver/owner who is in breach and you can still claim against their full policy limits. If damages in an uninsured motorist claim exceed $200,000 It is often the case that damages will exceed the $200,000 limit – particularly where the accident caused serious personal injury (e.g., a spinal injury, amputation, or a brain injury). As our team of personal injury lawyers has previously discussed, there are many types of damages you may be entitled to if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in BC. Regardless of the severity of your injuries or the extent of your losses, your uninsured motorist claim will be limited to $200,000. You can claim more than this, but you must try to collect directly from the uninsured driver. If the driver cannot pay, you may be able to claim further compensation via the Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP) scheme. To discuss the full list of heads of damage and whether you are entitled to an UMP claim, contact us at 1-855-852-5100 to arrange a free initial consultation with one of our team of personal injury lawyers. Legal Guidance & More: From Injury to Recovery Bronson Jones & Company lawyers deal with serious injuries, including spinal cord injuries, orthopedic injuries, internal injuries, head (brain) injuries, amputations and wrongful death. Because of the medical complexity and the almost certain impact on future earning capacity and quality of life, these kinds of cases can be long and complicated to pursue. Our team of accident lawyers in Vancouver has experience handling these kinds of catastrophic injury claims and we have the knowledge and financial resources to fund these cases through to their conclusion. We have also developed an extensive network of medical and occupational specialists, therapists, rehabilitation specialists, and others to help you recover and deal with the impact of your injury on your physical health, family life, finances and future. Reports from these experts may be essential in the development of your case. If you or a loved one has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, call any of the 13 Bronson Jones locations in the Lower Mainland for our expertise and advice. All of our cases are handled on a contingency (percentage) basis and you don’t pay until we collect.