ICBC Claims

What to do if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident? There are several important steps you should take to protect your interests if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident. These apply whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist, a passenger or the driver of a motor vehicle.

1. At the scene:

  • Obtain the names, addresses, phone numbers and driver’s licence numbers of the drivers of all motor vehicles involved in the accident
  • Identify any witnesses to the accident and obtain their contact information
  • When gathering information about the drivers of the other vehicles try to note the following:
    1. what was the driver’s physical condition;
    2. was the driver wearing glasses;
    3. was the driver wearing a seatbelt;
    4. did the driver appear tired or under the influence of alcohol or drugs;
    5. did the driver admit responsibility for the accident?
  • If you are a driver of a motor vehicle, identify yourself, as it is an offence not to do so if your intention is to avoid criminal or civil liability
  • Apart from identifying yourself and providing the details of your insurance and address, it is best not to discuss the accident with anyone except the police and your lawyer. It is generally unwise to discuss responsibility for an accident until you have obtained legal advice. This is particularly important if you have any reason to believe that you may be charged with a Motor Vehicle Act or criminal offence as a result of the accident
  • Make a note of the road, traffic and weather conditions. Write down any other factors that may have caused or contributed to the accident
  • Briefly detail the location of the accident, direction of travel of each car, speed and actions taken by yourself and by the other driver just prior to impact
  • Draw a sketch of the accident scene
  • If you have a camera, take photographs of the vehicles and the accident location
  • If damage is over $400 or someone is injured, and the police did not attend the accident, you must report the accident to the police department in the jurisdiction in which the accident occurred

2. Seek medical attention if you were injured

3. Call your lawyer

4. Report your claim


What to do if you are injured in motor vehicle accident

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the injuries you suffer and any related losses and expenses. Your ability to recover compensation is based on two factors . Tthe first is your Autoplan contract of insurance with ICBC and the second is the law of negligence.

1. Your Contract With ICBC (i.e. “No-Fault Benefits”)

  • What are no-fault benefits?

No-fault benefits include rehabilitation and reasonable medical expenses (including chiropractic expenses and nursing attendant care) up to a limit of $150,000, as well as wage-loss coverage payments and homemaker benefits.

  • Who is eligible for no-fault benefits?

Under your contract of insurance with ICBC, you and your family members are entitled to “no-fault benefits”. This means that no matter who caused the accident you are entitled to basic benefits so long as the conditions of insurance have been met.
You can even apply for benefits if the accident occurred elsewhere in Canada or in the United States .
Pedestrians and cyclists hit by an insured vehicle can also get no-fault benefits if the accident happened in Canada .
In order to receive no-fault benefits you must be in compliance with your insurance policy. If you were injured while driving without a valid driver’s license, or while speed racing, or while trying to crash your car in a suicide attempt, or driving while drunk, ICBC will likely deny your claim for no-fault benefits.

  • What are the types of no-fault benefits offered?
    1. Wage loss benefits: For wage loss coverage, you may receive weekly disability payments if you were employed before the accident but have been totally disabled and unable to work since. You may obtain 75% of your gross weekly earnings up to a maximum of $300 per week.
    2. Home care benefits: If you were a homemaker before the accident, you can receive up to $145 per week if your injury substantially or continuously disabled you from regularly performing most household tasks. The income replacement payments and homemaker benefits aren’t paid for the first week. They begin on the eighth day after the accident. They then continue for as long as your disability lasts or until you turn 65, whichever comes first. However, your eligibility for income replacement and homemaker benefits may be reviewed each year.
  • What are the limitations of no-fault benefits?

No-fault benefits provide only limited coverage of your total losses. They are intended as partial assistance and will not cover all of the losses you may have suffered as a result of the accident, especially if you were seriously injured.
It is also important to note that if you have access to other benefits, such as employment insurance, workers compensation or a private disability plan through your job or privately, you must apply for these other benefits before applying for no-fault benefits. The amount of these other benefits will be deducted from the amount of no-fault benefits you’re entitled to get.

2. Law of Negligence

If you are injured in an accident through the fault of another driver, you may also may make a claim for compensation against that other driver based on his or her negligence. This claim may consist of the following:

  • Compensation for pain and suffering, loss of amenities and loss of enjoyment of life;
  • Compensation for past wage loss, loss of opportunities and in some cases, loss of future income and, or diminished future earning capacity;
  • Compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses both past and future; and
  • Repayment of out-of-pocket expenses.

If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, ICBC is usually in the position of representing the interests of both you and the person who caused your injuries. This places ICBC adjusters in an unusual position. While you will want to receive the maximum no-fault benefits and compensation to which you are entitled, ICBC will want to pay as little as possible to conclude a claim.



Many people choose to use a lawyer to assist them in obtaining no-fault benefits and to seek damages for pain and suffering after being injured in an automobile accident. It is important to note that just because an injured party hires a lawyer that does not mean that their case will proceed to a trial. Approximately 95% of all personal injury claims, even those involving lawyers, are settled without a trial.
In British Columbia , it is common for lawyers handling personal injury files to charge fees based on a contingency fee arrangement. This means that the lawyer’s fees are paid as a percentage of the money recovered from the  defendant or ICBC.


This article was prepared by the law firm of John M Cameron, barrister and solicitor. This article is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to act as legal advice. If you have any questions about this article or ICBC claims in general, please contact us.