The top 4 reasons you shouldn’t accept ICBC’s first offer.
As a general rule, don’t accept ICBC’s first offer, and in most cases, not even their second, third or fourth offers. At DBM, we advise our clients that after you file a claim, ICBC stops being “your insurance company” and starts defending the party who you say was responsible for the accident.
So what are the four main reasons you shouldn’t accept ICBC’s first offer?
- Your claim will be paid out of the other driver’s policy and ICBC has a contractual obligation to represent that driver’s best interests. ICBC will try to keep the claim as low as possible to protect the other’s driver’s policy. It also helps ICBC keep their expenses down (see DBM blog, “What’s wrong with ICBC’s claims process?”).
- In some cases, injuries take a long time to heal and can have long-term effects. You shouldn’t accept any offer until you and your doctor appreciate the extent and duration of your injury, and the impact it may have on your quality of life. Once you settle your claim, you will be required to sign a release and will be barred from pursuing any further claims in relation to your accident.
- ICBC may offer you a dollar amount without any explanation of how they arrived at that figure. Would you buy a car without knowing what the price included? So why would you accept an offer without knowing exactly what ICBC is basing it on? You cannot rely on ICBC to take everything into account. It is your job to inform ICBC of your situation and help them understand exactly how your accident has affected your life. ICBC, often times, would like to settle quickly for as little as possible. Do not be tempted by an easy payoff.
- You may not know what your injuries are actually worth. The amount of compensation you can receive is based on a number of different factors: the nature of the injury; the duration of the injury; whether the injury has caused a loss of past or future income; whether the injury has resulted in payment of medical expense etc. Claims can get very complicated. The question becomes, how much is enough for these and other possible consequences of the accident?
At DBM, we strongly recommend anyone injured in an accident seek legal counsel early. Most firms will provide a free consultation where the lawyer will outline your legal rights and obligations and provide a general understanding of how your claim will progress. Further, good personal injury lawyers should be able to help you understand how much your claim may be worth.
ICBC’s first offer is often not their best offer, so don’t accept it. Go see your doctor and start treatment as recommended. Retain competent counsel. Be patient. Focus your efforts on your physical and mental improvement. Settle when you are ready and fully understand every aspect of your claim.
Contact DBM if you have any questions. We’re here to help.