The Top Ten Mistakes That Could Screw Up Your ICBC Claim, Mistake #9
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 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 # 9) Do Not Believe The ICBC Adjuster Is Working For You
Many people make the common mistake of thinking that the adjuster on their file is "on their side", or "their adjuster", or "acting for" them.
As a result, many claimants rely on the adjuster, which can often be fatal to their case. ICBC spends millions of dollars every year on advertising. Much of their advertising message is to convince the claimants that their adjuster can be "trusted".
Their slogan right now on the bottom of every e-mail is "ICBC building trust, driving confidence".
One of their goals with this branding campaign is to convince the claimants to follow the direction of the adjuster, and trust the adjuster.
Why? So the so the adjuster hopefully can settle the case for less than what it is actually worth.
When an adjuster is "handling" your injury claim, they are actually acting for the other driver. Their objective is to settle your claim as quickly as they can, and for as little as they can get away with.
Anything you say to them, or any statement you give to them, can and will be used against you. They often tell claimants”you are 50% at fault". …. .or "this is a minor impact (low vehicle impact, or LVI), so "your claim is not worth anything".
The LVI statement is completely untrue. Many LVI claims can sometimes be worth a substantial sum. LVI is an internal policy, created by ICBC, to deter claimants from pursuing their legitimate claims.
ICBC gets repeatedly chastised in court for their "LVI Policy", which has no basis in science, yet they persist with the policy.
Their goal is to deter claimants from pursing legitimate claims, or to convince them to settle for substantially less than what their claim is worth.
I have been involved in a number of cases where they have offered $6,500 as the "total value of the claim", and we eventually settled well into the six figures.
ICBC also does not have the final say in who is at fault.
Remember, they are acting for the other driver. Should you believe them if they say "we have determined you are 50% at fault", if they are acting for the other driver?
Not on your life. The final determination of who is at fault, and what percentage, is determined by a court, not an ICBC adjuster. They also often say to claimants "do not hire a lawyer, as they will take a percentage.. … the case is only worth what I say it is, so you will get less money in your jeans".
Again, this is highly misleading. The adjusters are trained to try to convince claimants not to hire a lawyer.
Several years ago ICBC actually placed large posters in their claim centers trying to convince claimants "not to hire a lawyer".
The reason is obvious. They do not not want to pay what the claim is worth.
The adjuster will also usually try to settle your claim prematurely, before your the injury has plateaued.
The adjuster often knows it is too early to settle, but also knows that the longer your claim is open, and the longer you have problems and pain, the more your claim will be worth. So the adjuster will try and settle as quickly as they can.
In summary, the adjuster will try and convince you to "trust" them….to believe them that "this is what your claim is worth", that "you will not get any more later", or you will "you will not get any more with a lawyer".
That is one of the reasons they are plugging their marketing slogan. You should not believe the adjuster is acting impartially. They are certainly not "on your side".
Do not rely on your adjuster, and above all, don’t think the adjuster is working for you.
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 acts for injured clients all over BC and Alberta, and will not act for ICBC.
For more information on this article, or for a confidential discussion of your claim, contact Paul Mitchell, Q.C. at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or at firstname.lastname@example.org