The police and ICBC have important roles to play in a motor vehicle accident. The police may choose to issue tickets or simply write a report. The report or ticket may be used to decide fault, but they are not final. If you have been ticketed, you should challenge the ticket (if you believe it is wrong).
Keep in mind that the police and ICBC rely on witnesses who may have not seen the entire accident, or may have a flawed recollection of the accident. Even where there are no witnesses, your statement may be different from the statement of the other driver. Just because the police officer or ICBC adjuster happened to prefer the other driver’s statement does not mean they are correct.
Finally, even if you did do something to contribute to the accident, you still have a claim if the other driver contributed to the accident as well. Finally, you might have a claim against another entity, such as the municipality, if some element of the road conditions or design contributed to the accident.
Gathering Evidence at the Scene
In any case involving a liability dispute, it is important to get contact information for any witnesses who come forward (even those that come forward after the accident). You should also get the police file number and ask for a copy of anything that the police officer prepares at the scene.
Requesting Police and ICBC files
After leaving the scene, it is important to request the police file (which usually takes about 2-4 weeks), and ICBC’s file. The police file will usually include an MV6020 (you may have received one at the scene). This document has specific codes that can be very valuable in identifying the relevant factors. ICBC’s file is available by a Freedom of Information request, and it should include notes of the adjuster’s initial conversations with each party to the accident, as well as any statements voluntarily given to ICBC.
Once ICBC makes a liability determination, they rarely change it. They may reconsider their decision if presented with new evidence. However, if you have given them all your evidence, and they simply refuse to accept it, then your best option is to retain a lawyer.