You have a legal duty to notify ICBC if a vehicle you own or are driving is involved in an accident that injured someone or damaged property. Even if you are not the owner or driver, you must promptly notify ICBC to preserve your claim to ICBC benefits. There are three steps that you must take:
- Notify ICBC of the Accident: call dial-a-claim at 604-520-8222 or 1-800-910-4222. (Ideally within 24 hours of the accident)
- Give a statement describing the Accident. (Within 30 days of the accident)
- Submit an application for benefits to ICBC (CL22). (Within 90 days of the accident)
What information does ICBC want?
When you call ICBC, they will likely ask you:
- where and when the crash happened;
- licence plate number of each vehicle involved;
- driver’s licence number of each driver;
- insurance information of any vehicles not insured by ICBC;
- your explanation of how the accident happened, and whether you accept fault;
- details of any injuries you suffered;
- police file number (if police attended);
- witness information (if you have any).
Everything you say to ICBC is being recorded and can be used to limit or deny your claim.
The next step is to give a written statement. You can do that yourself, or you can retain a lawyer to give your statement to ICBC. In either case, you must tell the truth. When you give a statement to ICBC, you will be asked a series of questions. Some of these questions are entirely reasonable and valid. Other questions go beyond what is legally required. ICBC is not required to tell you which questions are optional or may lead to a denial of your claim.
Should I consult a lawyer before speaking to ICBC?
It is always good to consult a lawyer before speaking to ICBC. Even if you are entirely in the right, you might omit something or make a mistake, and ICBC will assume that these answers are correct and complete. If there is a dispute over liability, your answers can be used against you. You may also be asked questions about your vehicle usage, to see if you were in breach of your insurance policy. If there are liability or coverage issues, your statement must be carefully drafted to protect your rights. We can prepare a valid statement that protects your claim. We also draft any other forms required by ICBC.
Getting medical attention after an accident
If you need medical attention, or are unsure, you should call an ambulance. The emergency medical technicians can evaluate you to determine if it is safe for you to go home, or if you should go to the hospital for further evaluation. If you only develop symptoms after leaving the scene, you should contact your family doctor or go to an emergency room. Finally, if your symptoms worsen or persist longer than expected, you should consult your family doctor or a walk-in clinic.
Contacting the police
It is always a good idea to contact the police about an accident. This is especially true if:
- A vehicle fled the scene
- The accident caused serious damage or injury
- There is a dispute about fault
- You have concerns about the other driver or vehicle (e.g. uninsured, impaired)
Getting your vehicle repaired
If your vehicle was damaged, ICBC will usually ask that you bring it in to be examined. Depending on your insurance coverage, ICBC may repair your vehicle or offer to pay you what (in their opinion) was its market value immediately before the accident. They will want you to sign a release, and if you sign it, you are agreeing not to make any future claim regarding your vehicle damage. You may want to consult a lawyer before signing the release.