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I am New to Canada and I Have Been Involved in a Car Accident – Can I Make a Claim?

Car accidents are stressful. That stress is increased if you are new to Canada when the accident happens. Getting medical attention and navigating the Canadian insurance claim process can feel overwhelming. If you have been injured in a car accident in BC, you most likely can make a claim, but complicated legal issues may arise. You should consult with an experienced ICBC car accident lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your options and ensure you do not lose the right to make a claim.

General Rules for Car Accident Injury Claims

The general rule is that a person who has been injured in a car accident caused wholly or partially by someone else’s negligence has the right to make a claim. It is also generally true that the claim should be brought in the jurisdiction where the accident occurred and that the law of that jurisdiction should apply to the claim. So, for example, if a BC resident is injured in a car accident within the province that is caused by another BC resident, those general rules will apply. The claim is brought against the BC driver and compensation will be paid by ICBC, the mandatory vehicle insurer in the province, in accordance with BC law and insurance limits.

Car Accident Claims if you are New to Canada

The insurance claims process may be much more complex if you are new to Canada when the accident takes place. Depending on the circumstances, questions of jurisdiction, claim eligibility, the time limit to bring your claim, and coverage limits may arise. As soon as possible after a BC accident, you should contact an experienced ICBC car accident lawyer to discuss your situation. In particular, you will want to discuss whether these factors impact your personal injury claim:

  • Fault for the accident. Was the accident caused solely by a BC resident? Or perhaps were you a passenger in a vehicle driven by a family member who is not a BC resident and who bears some fault for the accident? The at-fault parties’ nationality and insurance coverage informs issues such as available policy limits, where you should bring your claim(s), and against whom.
  • Out-of-province insurance coverage. When the accident occurred, were you covered by insurance in another jurisdiction? There can be substantial differences in coverage between jurisdictions and it may be an advantage to you to claim under your own policy, the at-fault driver’s policy, or both.
  • Limitation periods. How long do you have to start the claim? Different jurisdictions have different limitation periods. In BC, the general rule is that a claim must be started within two years of the date of the accident, but it may be shorter in other jurisdictions. If you do not commence your claim within the applicable limitation period, you may be barred from doing so.
  • Eligibility for ICBC Part 7 accident benefits. Do you have an ICBC Part 7 accident benefit claim in addition to a personal injury claim? If, for example, you were licenced and/or insured by ICBC when the accident occurred, the member of an ICBC insured’s household, or injured in a BC hit-and-run, you may also be eligible to claim for Part 7 no-fault benefits to cover certain wage loss and medical/rehabilitation expenses.

Help Navigating the Canadian Insurance Claim Process

If you are new to Canada when involved in a car accident, complicated legal issues can arise. Reach out to our experienced ICBC car accident lawyers for advice on handling your BC personal injury claim. https://simpsonthomas.com/contact/


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