The Top Ten Mistakes That Could Screw Up Your ICBC Claim, Mistake #10
This series, by Pushor Mitchell personal Injury lawyer Paul Mitchell Q.C., will explain the Top Ten mistakes to avoid with your ICBC claim. The article will give tips on how to ensure you do not make serious mistakes that could be fatal to your claim. For the next 10 issues of Legal Alert, Paul will focus on one mistake you should avoid, and what you should do instead to ensure your claim is not prejudiced.
Mistake # 10) Don’t get witness names and other vital information at the scene
Who is at fault (called " liability") is often a major issue with many ICBC claims. To get compensated for your injury, you must prove someone else was at fault for the accident.
All too often, the party at fault will admit fault at the scene, and then deny they were at fault soon after, and try and pin the blame for the accident on you.
ICBC often tries to blame the injured party for all or partial fault for the accident, and sometimes in the most bizarre circumstances.
I have seen ICBC allege partial fault with someone who has been rear-ended (for "stopping too fast"), when hit in a cross-walk ( for "not seeing the oncoming car and getting out of the way"), when hit head-on in their own lane ( for "failing to avoid the oncoming car") ,when side-swiped ( "for not getting out of the way") etc.
The key to avoiding a potential finding of fault against you is to get vital information at the scene where possible,
- the name and contact info of all witnesses..everyone..bystanders, other drivers who were close by, even those who cam e on the scene shortly after impact.
- witness statements, in handwriting if possible at the scene, of what they saw, including speed, direction, what colour the light was if at an intersection, etc
- photos of the scene ( use your cell phone), showing where the cars came to rest, skid marks, dents in the cars,picture of the other driver, weather and road conditions ( amount of snow/ ice on the road, rain, darkness and light conditions) …anything and everything that may be relevant to your claim
- if the other driver admits fault, try to get them to agree to a recording of him/her admitting fault…use your voice recorder on your cell phone if you have one
- if you have no recording device, have the other driver sign a short statement if possible.."I , John Q Driver, admit I was at fault for the accident.. etc".
- the drivers license of the other driver, and other photo ID if possible.
- make notes of what you saw, what the other driver did, and said…do this soon as possible after the accident
If you are seriously injured and cannot obtain witness contact info, interview witness, take photos etc, ask someone at the scene to do these things on your behalf.
If you can use your cell, call a friend or family member to come to the scene immediately, if possible, to do these things for you.
If a member of your family or friend is seriously injured, make sure you do these things on their behalf as soon as possible. Do not wait.
The evidence gathered at the scene will often make or break a case. Witnesses leave the scene without leaving their names. Cars are moved. Evidence is lost.
Failing to get this vital information at the scene leaves you wide open for the other driver at fault, and ICBC, to try and avoid blame, and deny you compensation. Don’t make a mistake. Make your case.
Paul Mitchell, Q.C. has extensive experience with brain injury, spinal injury, death claims, and other catastrophic injury claims. He uses a multitude of experts in complicated cases, including accident reconstruction engineers, industry experts in large income loss claims, economists, actuaries, vocational experts, and many independent medical experts, to ensure his clients get proper compensation. He does not, and will not, act for ICBC. For more information on this article, or for a confidential discussion of your claim, contact Paul at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or at firstname.lastname@example.org