If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Vancouver, B.C., you may think that filing an ICBC claim will provide you with all the answers and compensation you need to recover. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. When you decide to hire a Vancouver car accident lawyer from Wishart Brain & Spine Law, you can rest assured that we’ll help you file your claim, maximize your potential compensation, and hold the guilty party accountable in court if necessary to help you find the answers you seek.
A serious car accident can completely change your life. In addition to causing serious injuries which may lead to lifelong complications and hardships, a car wreck can set you back financially, cause you to take time off work, and have a lasting effect on your mental and emotional health and wellbeing. No should have to suffer through this and wonder if there was more they could have done to get the help they needed.
At Wishart Brain & Spine Law, our injury lawyers will work hard to make every effort to ease your concerns, maximize your insurance claim, and get you the compensation you need to return to your life. Additionally, we’re more than happy to take on the following responsibilities as soon as possible after you contact us:
- Provide a statement to the ICBC
- Apply for physiotherapy and massage therapy benefits
- Apply for Medical Employment Insurance (EI)
- Arrange for Total Temporary Disability Benefits
- Facilitate home modifications for wheelchairs, beds, and other continued home care costs
- Determine the accelerated depreciation of the value of your car/property
We understand how stressful it is to deal with B.C.’s documentation requirements following a serious accident and can help you every step of the way—at no initial cost to you. When you contact our personal injury firm, know that we have your back 100 percent.
Common Car Accidents Causes in British Columbia
In 2016, 330,000 car accidents were reported in British Columbia. 65,000 of those collisions resulted in injuries and fatalities. Both numbers continue to climb every year. Part of the rise is due to an increase in population, but population alone isn’t enough to explain the climb—especially when we consider the fact that our motor vehicles are safer than they have ever been thanks to technology advancements.
Why do most car accidents happen in B.C.? Here are the most common causes according to the ICBC:
Speeding is a major contributing factor to most car accident fatalities in British Columbia and Vancouver. It’s also one of the easiest to eliminate because all it requires is for drivers to slow down. It’s a simple fact that the faster you’re driving, the longer it takes for your car to come to a complete stop or even slow. This can be extremely dangerous in case of an emergency such as if a car in front of you stops suddenly or if you’re rounding a sharp curve.
Speeding drivers are also a danger to pedestrians. While a pedestrian hit at 30km/h has a 90 percent chance of surviving, someone hit at 50km/h has an 80 percent chance of being killed.
Unsafe Driving Techniques
When a driver fails to properly yield to other vehicles, ignores traffic signals or signs, or follows other cars too closely/passes improperly, they’re placing themselves at risk along with everyone else on the road. Traffic laws are in place for a reason and should be followed at all times.
As a responsible driver, it’s important to know you have the right to report bad drivers. If you believe there is an immediate threat because of their actions, call 911, provide a license plate, and the law enforcement officers will handle the matter. If the threat is not immediate and you are concerned about how someone is operating their vehicle, file a complaint with DriveSmartBC. You have the option to report the complaint anonymously, identify yourself, or commit to attending court if necessary.
Operating a car under the influence of drugs or alcohol can have devastating effects. B.C. has the toughest drunk driving laws in all of Canada, yet drunk driving accidents continue to happen daily. According to the law, it is a criminal offense to operate a motor vehicle, whether in motion or otherwise, while under the influence of alcohol, a drug, or a combination of the two. A driver’s Blood Alcohol Content or blood drug concentration cannot exceed 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 milliliters (0.08 BAC).
While the 0.08 BAC percentage is related to the criminal offense, the Motor Vehicle Act says that if an Approved Screening Device indicates a driver has a BAC that’s not less than 0.05, they can be served with an Immediate Roadside Prohibition, as this puts the driver in the “WARN” range. In the event this happens, the driver’s license can be seized immediately for a period of three days, their vehicle can be impounded for three days, and they will be required to pay a fine and a reinstatement fee.
The above penalties are for being found with a 0.05 BAC for the first time within a five-year period. The consequences become more severe for consecutive offenses.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in Canada. Driving while looking at a cell phone, while eating, or while paying more attention to the radio or a conversation in the car than the task of driving can quickly cause an accident. Even being distracted for a brief second or two can be dangerous.
In B.C., drivers are not allowed to use an electronic device while driving on a highway. An electronic device is any device capable of telephone function or transmitting electronic mail or other text-based messages.
Types of Vehicular Crashes
If you’ve been in an accident, it will be important to determine what type of accident it was. Figuring this out will help your attorney determine how and why the event occurred.
- Single Car Crash. An accident involving only one vehicle can happen for a number of reasons. When a driver is acting negligently and is using their phone or driving under the influence, they risk colliding with fixed objects or running off the road. While many single vehicle accidents do not result in serious injuries, the property damage can be extensive.
- Multi-Vehicle Pile-Up. These accidents often happen on highways where the speed limits are significantly increased. When one vehicle loses control around heavy traffic, it’s likely others will be involved. Crashes like this often turn deadly when large tractor-trailers are present.
- Rear-End Collision. When a driver is speeding or trying to make it through a traffic light, they risk hitting the person in front of them if they decide to slow down or need to stop in the event of an These accidents can result in serious neck and spine injuries depending on how fast the following vehicle is traveling at impact.
- Pedestrian Accident. All over Vancouver, people walk to get to where they need to be. Unfortunately, some pedestrians are at risk when drivers are erratic. High-speed accidents can result in devastating injuries and death.
- Side-Impact Crash. These accidents are common at intersections. If someone disobeys the traffic laws and decides to make a turn before they’re allowed, they risk hitting another vehicle. Typically, the occupants on the side of the impact are likely to sustain more significant injuries.
- Rollover. Rollover accidents are more common with large commercial vehicles and SUVs. Their size and weight put them at a greater risk for flipping when weather conditions are poor or when cargo has been improperly loaded. If a tractor-trailer flips in heavy traffic, injuries and fatalities are possible.
- Head-On Collision. These collisions almost always result in serious injury or fatalities. They may occur if debris is in the road and a driver tries to swerve, or if a driver is intoxicated or fatigued.
- Sideswipe Accident. When two vehicles are traveling next to each other and one starts to drift, a sideswipe crash is likely. The other driver could potentially lose control of their vehicle and hit another car or a fixed object.
Consequences Associated with Automobile Collisions
While it’s likely to think of healing from physical injuries and repairing your vehicle as the most pressing things to deal with after a car accident, it’s important to remember the consequences do not stop there. Getting your life back in order after a wreck can be a difficult feat, which is why we’re here for you.
While some injuries may heal over the course of days or weeks – like bruising or mild lacerations, other physical harm can take months to recover from or may entirely change a person’s life. Crashes can commonly cause all the following injuries which can seriously affect you and your family’s future:
- Brain Injury. Head injuries are some of the most dangerous a person can sustain. While recovery from a mild concussion may be fairly easy, serious brain injuries can result in cognition impairment and memory loss. The worst injuries often result in brain death.
- Spine Injury. The spine is a delicate part of the body. As such, it is easily injured in an accident. If a disc is ruptured or a separation occurs, surgery could be necessary to remedy the injury. It can take months for a person to regain their full function. In some cases, paralysis can be permanent.
- Neck and Back Injury. Neck and back injuries, like whiplash, can make it difficult to return to work or complete everyday tasks. It’s important to remember that not all injuries are visible, and some injury symptoms may not be present immediately following a crash.
- Broken Bones. The force of impact of a crash is likely to cause broken bones and fractures. Some fractures can be managed with a sling or cast, while others may require surgery to correct.
- Serious Burns. Some accidents, especially those involving hazardous materials, can result in a fire. Burns are some of the most painful injuries a person can sustain. While recovery for a minor burn is often an easy process, serious burns can put someone in the hospital for months and require many painful procedures.
Auto accidents are traumatic events. If you’ve been the victim of one and have taken care of your physical injuries, it’s important to evaluate your mental state, as well. Many crash victims experience a variety of symptoms indicating emotional trauma including anxiety, depression, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, and isolation.
There is help for victims suffering from psychological trauma. Mental health professionals can provide a number of treatment options.
While property damage to your vehicle is the first cost you might think of when trying to handle your accident, there are a number of other expenses that are bound to pop up. Some of the most common include medical bills, rental car costs, cost of future care, and increased insurance rates. Those can be difficult to pay for if you’re dealing with lost wages as a result of time away from work. Filing an ICBC claim with the help of our attorneys can get you on the path to receiving the compensation you need.
When to Seek Legal Help with an ICBC Claim
By law, Vancouver residents and anyone in B.C. must file a claim with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) anytime they’re involved in a serious car accident in British Columbia. A victim of a crash has 30 days from the time of the accident to file a written report to the ICBC. A proof of claim must additionally be filed within 90 days if your goal is to receive insurance benefits.
ICBC insurance benefits, also often referred to as “Part 7” benefits, are available to any B.C. resident who is injured in a car accident. These benefits are also available to family members of someone who passed away in a car wreck. They can include benefits for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Continued care expenses including costs for medication, massage therapy/physiotherapy, chiropractic care, and counseling
- Rehabilitation expenses including the costs of home modification, attendant care, and occupational therapy
Part 7 benefits may also include reimbursements for lost wages—up to a certain, set amount—but only once Medical Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are pursued and exhausted. Applying for EI is something that must be done separately from the process of filing an ICBC insurance claim.
While ICBC benefits can cover a great deal of ground, there’s one simple fact to remember during the stressful aftermath of a car accident—the ICBC is an organization that ultimately acts according to its best interests. After filing a claim, you may find that the benefits you’re offered don’t match up with the medical expenses you must pay or the full loss of income you have suffered because of your injuries.
There are also some benefits that ICBC insurance does not cover. Many treatment facility user fees, for example, are not covered. You may also find your benefits suddenly cut if you don’t follow the ICBC’s recommended course of treatment.
If you feel that the ICBC’s benefits will not be enough to cover your full medical expenses, you should not hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer in Vancouver who can make sure you get the compensation you need to make a full recovery. An injury attorney can also help you if your benefits are unfairly cut off or denied.
At Wishart Brain & Spine Law, we are ready to help you file your claim, maximize your claim, file any other required applications such as the forms needed for EI, and help dispute any complications that may occur during the processing of your claim. If we need to make a court appearance to fight for your benefit settlement, we won’t hesitate to do so.
Seek Legal Representation from Wishart Brain & Spine Law
If you’ve been involved in a serious car accident in Vancouver, you may be worried about your future or for the financial security of your loved ones. At Wishart Brain & Spine Law, we understand that concern completely and want to do whatever we can to protect your family.
To help recover from your injuries and potentially receive answers regarding your accident and what caused it, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our lawyers today. With our help, you can receive peace of mind.