Accident and ICBC claim season fast approach – In case of a crash, take lots of notes, pictures, and witness information

BY BECKER LAWYERS, THE TIMES MAY 24, 2012

With our offices near the corner of Lougheed Highway and Harris Road in Pitt Meadows, we hear our fair share of serious car accidents.

In fact, sadly, I can point out my office window to the location of many accidents that resulted in serious injuries, or even deaths.

Aside from the personal devastation to families and other loved ones in such circumstances, the legal issues can be complex and representation is important, even in less serious accidents.

Statistically, the period between July through September is among the highest with reported crashes, and as you plan to enjoy our surroundings by car this summer, it’s important to know what to do in the event of an accident.

Following decades of experience with ICBC claims, here are my top tips:

1. Get the names, contact information, driver’s licence numbers, and licence plate numbers of all people who were involved in or witnessed the accident. Call the police immediately if the driver who hit you leaves the scene of the accident without identifying themselves. If you fail to try to identify the driver or call police, ICBC can deny your claim – even in the most serious accidents or where the other driver is clearly at fault. This is not uncommon and I’m currently working for clients to oppose ICBC’s denial of claims in court.

2. Take photographs of the scene of the accident as soon as possible after it occurred. Use any device to take images of the configuration of the cars, any skid marks, or shattered glass. You’ll also want to capture the time of day and weather conditions if possible.

3. See your family doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Document your injuries and receive appropriate treatment to minimize your injuries. Initiate a treatment program and follow through.

4. Telephone ICBC within 24 hours to obtain a claim number. Don’t give a statement to ICBC, merely state that you’ve been in an accident and make note of your claim number for you and your lawyer.

5. Note your recollection of what caused the accident as soon as possible. A diagram of the positions of the vehicles and point of collision, the conduct of the other driver, timing of the traffic light change, could be useful.

6. Maintain a diary of your injuries, your levels of pain, and any mobility restrictions. Following each medical appointment, note the date, key points and any treatment.

7. Keep receipts for all your expenses related to the accident. Keep receipts for non-prescription medication, orthotics for shoes, taxi expenses, and any others that are reasonably connected to your injuries and treatment.

8. See your family doctor and treatment providers on a regular basis. Seek treatment to responsibly aid in your recovery. Treatment providers will add credibility to your claim of injuries and pain, as will your documentation of your progress.

Enjoy your summer. Drive safely.

© Copyright (c) Maple Ridge Times