We understand that the legal process involving ICBC or other personal injury claims can be overwhelming. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we get from friends, family, and prospective clients. If you have questions about your claim or how your personal injury lawyer at Slater Vecchio can help, contact us now.
Hiring a lawyer to assist with your injury or no-fault benefits claim is not mandatory but it is highly recommended. The greater the impact your injuries have had on your life, the more important it is to obtain legal advice to make sure that you are compensated fairly.
A lawyer will provide you with valuable information and experience while negotiating your settlement with ICBC. Without a lawyer, ICBC has the upper hand and will use their knowledge of the process to serve their best interests. Assistance from experienced counsel will help protect your rights and allow you to obtain a settlement that focuses on what is fair from your point of view.
We serve clients from all over the world. Regardless of where you call home, if your accident happened in British Columbia we are happy to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. While managing your claim, a multi-tiered team of experienced staff will help organize all of the necessary components of your claim to ensure you recover and receive a fair settlement for your injury claim.
We are here to help you determine if you have a valid claim against ICBC. From claim assessment, to collecting evidence and reporting the necessary information, our team is able to help you take the initial steps to find out whether or not you have a claim worth pursuing.
At the very least we recommend you contact us and discuss your options to make sure you are fully informed. We are very friendly and initial consultation is free of charge!
In terms of a timeline, your Slater Vecchio team will first report your accident to ICBC right away if you have not done so already. If a settlement has not been reached and the full extent of your loss is not clear within two years of the date of the accident, an official lawsuit will be filed in order to meet the required deadline for preserving your claim. From this point on your Slater Vecchio team will work with counsel from the other side to secure you a fair settlement through negotiation and mediation where necessary. If both sides are unable to agree on a fair amount your claim will proceed to trial approximately 3 to 5 years after the date of your accident.
The term no-fault insurance can be misleading and is often interpreted to mean that no one is at fault for the accident. In actuality, there is always a determination of fault in an accident.
No-fault insurance is commonly referred to as accident benefits or Part 7 benefits. These benefits may be available to any party to an accident, regardless of who is at fault.
In order to be entitled to Part 7 benefits you must be an “insured” under Part 7 of the Regulation. Generally, this means you must be either be:
- An owner of an ICBC insured vehicle;
- A member of the vehicle owner’s household;
- A resident of BC who has been properly issued a valid driver’s license and members of that persons household;
- An occupant of a vehicle licensed in BC;
- An occupant of a vehicle not required to be licensed in BC, but is operated by a person properly issued a valid BC driver’s license;
- A cyclist or pedestrian who collides with an ICBC insured vehicle; or
- A resident of BC who is entitled to bring an action as a result of a hit-and-run or accident with an under-insured motorist.
Part 7 benefits include:
- Medical and rehabilitative benefits;
- Disability benefits for employed persons;
- Homemaker benefits; and
- Death benefits.
An examination for discovery is an important pre-trial process that allows counsel to find out facts about each party opposite in interest. Examinations are often held at private offices specifically designed for this purpose. During an examination for discovery counsel will ask questions to other parties or relevant employees where necessary. The questions and answers will be recorded by a reporter and later produced as a transcript.
The questions asked can be broad and are aimed at clarifying what the opposing party has to say about matters at issue in the lawsuit. In many instances examinations for discovery will help foster settlement as important determinations of liability and injury are clarified. As our client, your Slater Vecchio team will be fully manage your examination for discovery and prepare you in advanced so that you have nothing to worry about.
Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution aimed at helping parties settle their claim. Where appropriate, parties to a lawsuit will agree to have a neutral third party, referred to as a mediator, help facilitate voluntary settlement. Mediation is less rigid than trial and any discussion that takes places cannot be relied on in court should the sides fail to reach an agreement.
Unlike a judge, a mediator does not decide on any maters at issue and rather helps facilitate positive conversation between both parties. This is achieved by removing any obstacles to communication, helping both sides develop alternative solutions and insuring all needs are understood.
The benefits to mediation include:
- A cheaper and quicker process compared to trial;
- Increased participation by both parties; and
- A private resolution of your claim.
Mediation is not appropriate for all claims and the lawyers at Slater Vecchio will use their years of experience to determine if mediation is right for your claim.
The answer to this question can vary greatly depending on the complexity of your case. A lawyer from our team will explain what you can expect at every step of your personal injury case, and will take action on your behalf.
The majority of legal claims arising from accidents or injuries do not reach a civil court trial. Most claims are resolved earlier through a negotiated settlement among the parties. An informal settlement can even take place before any lawsuit is filed.
Trial can be a long and intimidating process but sometimes it is necessary to ensure you receive fair compensation for your loss. Whether or not proceeding to trial is necessary for your claim is a determination you and your lawyer will make as your claim progresses. Remember, it is our job at Slater Vecchio to provide you with the necessary advice but any and all instruction comes from you, the client. Whether or not your case goes to trial is a decision you will make together with the informed help of your lawyer.
There is no easy formula to determining the value of your case. Instead, the value is based on a careful analysis of the facts, legal liability, nature and extent of injuries, as well as medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earnings, pain, suffering, physical impairment and other damages. Based on our proven track record and experience, and our history of recovering millions of dollars in settlements, arbitration awards and jury verdicts, we are able to evaluate cases and provide a range of fair value.
Costs for medical and rehabilitation expenses occurring as a result of your accident are recoverable as part of your no-fault insurance or Part 7 benefits. Medical and rehabilitation expenses under Part 7 are limited at $150,000. Where ICBC has denied coverage of such expenses under Part 7, all reasonable medical and rehabilitation expenses will be included in your tort claim.
Reasonable medical and rehabilitation expenses generally include any expenses incurred as a result of an accident for:
- Nursing services
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
The type of treatment provided for is not limited to the above list and whether or not a respective treatment is recoverable under your claim will be determined on a case by case basis. Generally speaking, any treatment that is referred by a physician or qualified professional should be recoverable if reasonable.