Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do I have to prove that someone else is at fault for the  accident?Video Link

Yes. To recover the majority of benefits in a law suit you must prove the other party was completely or partially at fault for the accident. If you are completely at fault for the accident you will only be entitled to "no fault" benefits which are extremely limited. To prove fault we will obtain witness statements, photographs of the vehicle and accident scene, police  reports and we may require traffic reconstruction experts in complicated cases. It is important to obtain this evidence while memories are still fresh, before vehicles have been fixed, and while the accident scene remains  unchanged.

Q. What if I am partially at fault for the  accident?Video Link

Even if you are partially at fault for the accident you can still recover compensation from the other driver. The amount of the compensation will be reduced by what is called "contributory  negligence".

Q. Who is entitled to make a claim for compensation in British  Columbia?

Anyone who has been injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident may have an ICBC injury claim. This includes pedestrians and cyclists who are injured in car accidents as well as any passengers or drivers. In the case of a death, family members may also have a claim.

Q. How long do I have?

Normally in British Columbia you must commence your accident within two years from the date of the motor vehicle accident. The time is much shorter if you are suing a municipality or an unidentified driver. In addition, you must provide a statement within 30 days of the accident and complete an Accident Benefit Claim form within 90 days of the accident. These are normally tasks we can do on your behalf.

Q. Do I have to go to ICBC’s office?

No. There is nothing  that requires you to attend at ICBC. We can attend to completing the various  forms that are required and insure that you comply with all of the provisions of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act.

Q. Will ICBC do any investigation that I am not aware of?Video Link

Yes. The ICBC adjusters have an obligation to investigate the claim and assess an opinion  on both fault for the accident and the value of your claim from ICBC’s point of view. Remember, the ICBC adjuster is paid by and works for  ICBC. You will need an advocate to insure you receive fair compensation.

Q. How long will this take?Video Link

The length of time your claim will take depends primarily on your medical recovery. You should not settle before you have completely recovered and returned to you pre-accident work or your doctor has given you a definitive prognosis for the future. You are entitled to claim compensation for as long as your injuries last and into the future if there is a permanent partial disability or the possibility of on going problems. Normally the claim can be settled as soon as you recover. If you recover from your injuries quickly, the claim can be resolved within six months. If the claim is more serious with permanent ongoing injuries the claim may take 18 to 24 months from the date of the accident. Generally speaking, the  length of time will be determined by the extent of your injuries and the impact it has had on your life.

Q. Do I need a lawyer?Video Link

At Bush & Company we have a long history of acting for injured people. We rely on investigators, consultants and referrals to medical specialists to insure that your injuries are fully canvassed before  you settle. We will do accident investigation to insure that you are not held at fault for the accident. We will insure that all future problems and possibilities of problems are investigated so that you can receive full compensation for your injuries and the future costs and expenses associated with them.

Q. Does ICBC have to pay me additional money if I retain a lawyer?

Yes. If you retain a lawyer you are entitled to taxable costs and disbursements to offset a  portion of your legal fees. These do not completely cover your lawyer’s costs but are designed to reimburse you for 30% to 50% of your actual legal bill. These taxable costs and disbursements are in addition to your compensation for the various heads of damage you will receive for your injuries.

Lawyers do cost money. In an ICBC personal injury claim you can pay your lawyer on an hourly rate or on a contingency fee basis. Contingency fees are percentage fees of the settlement amount. If you do not  recover any damages your lawyer is free. Typically, contingency fees are 25%. The maximum a lawyer can charge for a motor vehicle accident is 33 1/3%. Taxable costs and disbursements will reimburse you for some of these  costs. You should discuss legal fees with your lawyer at the outset of your  claim.

If you retain us on a contingency fee basis our firm  normally funds all of the expenses required to prosecute your claim. These fees include; court filing fees, costs of medical-legal reports and expert costs. These expenses or disbursements are paid back by ICBC as part of the taxable costs and disbursements and can be thousands of dollars depending on  the size of your claim.

If you wish to hire us on an hourly basis we normally send  interim accounts for payment as the work is completed and require a retainer  to offset any disbursements as they are incurred.

The choice is always yours.

Q. Will ICBC pay me the same amount without a lawyer?

In our experience un-represented plaintiffs generally receive 1/3 of what  the claim is actually worth to what is paid to represented plaintiffs. This is the reason why ICBC may be actively encouraging you not to retain a lawyer – because it saves them money.

Q. If  I settle early and I have continuing problems can I go back to ICBC?

No. Generally, once you have signed a ‘release’ and accepted payment you are not entitled to go back and claim additional compensation. Even if your injuries are much worse then you had anticipated at the time of the settlement. This is the main reason you should retain Bush & Co. to insure that you are receiving fair compensation and you will not regret an early settlement later on.