Settlement amounts sourced through ICBC claims range on a case-to-case basis, based on several factors. Individual claims incorporate specific circumstances that play specific roles in dictating the total settlement compensation. Immediate considerations like personal injuries, coupled with long-term pain and suffering as well as any factors discovered after the claim is initially filed, can all drastically impact the final settlement value. An ICBC personal injury lawyer knows that no ICBC claim settlement amount can be determined at the outset of the claims process.
Injured individuals will often be offered claim settlements at different times in the legal process. An ICBC adjuster can offer a somewhat immediate claim settlement. Though, these offers are aimed at creating premature settlement agreements that require the ICBC to payout less than what is truly due to the claimant. It is recommended that you do not settle with the ICBC until you have reached your pre-accident state of health. The rehabilitation process that you will have gone through, will lead to a higher overall ICBC payout. If your injuries have plateaued, meaning that they have reached their limit of rehabilitation, it can also be in your best interest to settle your claim at this time. In either case, make sure that your doctors can confirm that you have healed as much as possible before settling your claim.
There are no set circumstances that will offer identical facts or settlement values. Thus no strict formula can be applied to immediately determine the exact value of an ICBC claim. Lawyers can use past cases and a variety of injury or harm factors to develop an undersigning of what your claim should be worth, though cannot guarantee any settlement amount. These are some of the factors that impact what a unique ICBC claim will be worth:
1. Injury Severity
Injuries are ranked in levels of severity, with symptoms defining each level. With all other aspects kept equal, a higher injury classification will lead to higher ICBC payouts.
2. Injury Duration
The longer someone is injured, the higher the ICBC payout will likely be. Though, the duration of an injury can only impact your ICBC claim if you can demonstrate that you have taken the precautions and actions needed to heal and mitigate your injury.
3. Your Occupation & Long-Term Impairment
Considerations towards how this injury will affect your ability to work will impact the final settlement value. For example, a back injury could make sitting for long durations very painful or could make a labour-driven role nearly impossible. If your injury makes you less effective or unable to work in your pre-accident role, this can lead to higher settlement values.
4. Time Off Work
The longer your injuries keep you away from work, the higher your ICBC payout generally will be. This factor can only remain legitimate with documents issued by your doctor, stating that you are medically unable to work.
5. Your Injury Mitigation Efforts
These adhere to both the scene of the accident and your rehabilitation efforts. If you weren’t wearing a seat belt or were otherwise in an improper driving position, this can hurt your ICBC settlement value. Also, if you neglect your doctor appointments, medications or other rehabilitation procedures, this negligence can result in a lower ICBC settlement.
6. Accident Liability
If you were found liable in any way for the accident, you may be entitled to lesser ICBC settlements.
7. Your Pre-Accident State Of Health
Pre-existing health conditions cannot be covered in your ICBC accident claim. If you were suffering from a health issue prior to the crash, this can lessen your settlement value. Health conditions, your age and other aspects of your pre-accident state of health will be fully assessed.
8. The Likelihood Of You Facing An Injury
Some people have genetic health issues that make their bodies more prone to serious injuries. If you have any pre-disposed disorders that could make your injuries more severe than another person in the same collision, this can lessen your ICBC claim compensation. A commonly discussed instance for this is outlined in the thin or eggshell skull principle.
9. Loss Enjoyment Of Life
If your lifestyle is going to be altered and the aspects you previously enjoyed are now lost, you will be due to receive a higher settlement value.
10. Future Care Requirements
When serious injuries are sustained, the care requirements can be life long. Rehabilitation, physiotherapy and maintenance therapy are often required for years after the accident. These future claims can make up a large portion of your ICBC claim.
11. Your Council
Self-represented claimants statistically receive much lower ICBC payouts. Without a professional personal injury attorney, you claim valuation can be misrepresented by neglecting unknown factors and damages, misfiling paperwork, missing deadlines or by being intimidated by the ICBC.
12. When Your Claim Is Settled
The further along your litigation process proceeds, the higher your settlement will likely be. This can only remain true if no liability disputes are encountered and no issues regarding your mitigation of injury are found.
The ICBC Claims Process
ICBC claims involve several tasks and processes to be settled. These are the steps commonly associated with the ICBC claim process:
- Initial Meeting – An initial case review with your attorney to examine the legitimacy and likely value of your ICBC claim.
- Rehabilitation – Seek treatment for your injuries. Report to your family doctor, have your injuries fully assessed and abide by the set forth rehabilitation plan. Adhering to you doctor’s wishes and other injury mitigation processes is key in maintaining legitimacy with your claim throughout the settlement and negotiation process.
- Potential Settlement Offer – Once you and your doctor mutually agree that you are at a pre-accident state of health or that your injuries have plateaued, obtain a medical report from your doctor and file the ICBC claim. After your initial conversation with the ICBC, the adjuster may provide you with a settlement offer. If the offer is not up to your standards for any reason, do not accept it.
- Document Disclosure – The ICBC will initially require personal documents like income tax records, clinical notes, and medical reports. Though, they can also begin to request other documents as the negotiations progress. Your attorneys can request these kinds of documents from the ICBC and other motorists involved. These documents help uncover discrepancies in the proposed settlement amount and are effective in progressing negotiations between your attorney and the ICBC.
- Examination For Discovery – This is a process where you and your attorney meet with the ICBC lawyers and representatives to have an in-depth discussion about the accident. Your lawyer can fully prepare you for the proceedings and sit with you throughout the meeting to ensure that no unfair questions are put forward.
- Settlement Attempt – After the Examination of Discovery is concluded your attorney will negotiate further with the ICBC to attempt to come to a fair settlement and resolve this matter.
- Examination Of Undertakings – If a settlement still cannot be reached, there may be an additional meeting, referred to as the Examination on Undertakings. These are much shorter than an Examination of Discovery and questions are limited to the documented questions sourced in the Examination of Discovery process.
- Final Settlement Attempt – A final attempt can be made to settle your ICBC claim. If a settlement is not possible your claim will proceed further into a mediation or settlement conference. If these efforts still yield lacking results, your claim may need to proceed to trial.
Pain & Suffering Settlement
Pain & suffering refers to the emotional stress that an incident and resulting injury caused a claimant. The ICBC utilises internal guidelines that have a reputation of creating a less serious pain & suffering perception than is actually felt. These guidelines are in no way the law, and with proper representation, the British Columbia Courts can see what is truly deserved as compensation for your emotional distress.
The ICBC can be required to provide compensation for a number of personal harms or damages. These are 7 examples of damages that you can claim as part of your ICBC settlement amount and payout:
- General damages – This section of damages accounts for pain & suffering as well as lost quality of life.
- Special damages – These are represented by your out-of-pocket expenses such as medication, physiotherapy, mileage and other costs associated with your treatment plan.
- Accelerated depreciation – When you are in an accident, your vehicle immediately depreciates, even after it has been fully repaired. The value lost in this accelerated depreciation can be included as part of your ICBC claim.
- “In-trust” damages – When we are injured, our friends and family often care for us. This time spent caring for us can cause them to lose income and alter their daily lives. These losses can be added to your claim as compensation, “in trust”, for those who cared for you.
- Diminished earning capacity – As injuries last for years to come, they can make you less marketable to future or existing employers. This can result in missed promotions or career opportunities. This proposed diminished earning capacity can be added to your claim.
- Direct loss of income – If your injury takes you away from work, the time from when you sustained the injury to the date you returned to work or the date of your trial can be included as lost income.
- Loss of housekeeping capacity – Normal household tasks can be much more difficult if you are left physically impaired after the accident. If you are left unable to perform daily household tasks, support services to fulfil these needs are added to your claim value.
Discuss with your attorney, all avenues and ways that your accident and injury have affected your life. The free case reviews we provide at Ng Sidhu Law can be used to gain a full understanding of your case, of what damages you are facing and of the legitimacy of your claim.
Whiplash is defined as the injury resulting from an acceleration-deceleration energy transfer that is placed directly onto the neck. The soft-tissue immediately impacted is known as the whiplash injury, while medical manifestations resulting from the injury are referred to a whiplash associated disorders (WAD). These are the 5 classifications of a Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD):
- WAD 0 – Upon assessment, no lasting neck pain or sign of physical injury is detected.
- WAD 1 – Complaints about stiffness or tenderness, while no physical injury is found.
- WAD 2 – Complaints about stiffness or tenderness as well as a musculoskeletal injury is found, resulting in a decreased range of motion and or point tenderness.
- WAD 3 – Complaints about stiffness or tenderness with a neurological issue found. Symptoms are absent tendon reflexes, instability or sensory deficits.
- WAD 4 – Complaints about stiffness or tenderness accompanied with a fracture or dislocation.
Doctors are able to classify your WAD after a full assessment. Your WAD classification will have a direct impact on the value of your pending ICBC settlement. The more severe the injury, the higher level of ICBC payout you will likely be due.
Soft Tissue Injury Settlements
Soft tissue injuries (STIs) damage muscles, ligaments and tendons in the body. Sprains, strains and major contusions are all common styles of STIs. Symptoms of an STI are point tenderness, swelling, bruising and loss of function. STIs are considered very subjective injuries as the symptoms of these injuries can be very hard to detect on an x-ray or another body scan procedure. The ICBC tends to offer larger claims for injuries that have easily documented symptoms and that clearly create future care needs. If your claim is based on an STI, make sure you work with a professional attorney to ensure you are not taken advantage of or left with a settlement that doesn’t meet your needs.