You have a legal duty to notify ICBC if a vehicle you own or are driving is involved in an accident that injured someone or damaged property.
Even if you are not the owner or driver, you must promptly notify ICBC to preserve your claim to ICBC benefits. There are three steps that you must take:
- Notify ICBC of the Accident: call dial-a-claim at 604-520-8222 or 1-800-910-4222. (Ideally within 24 hours of the accident)
- Give a statement describing the Accident. (Within 30 days of the accident)
- Submit an application for benefits to ICBC (CL22). (Within 90 days of the accident)
What Information Does ICBC Want?
When you call ICBC, they will likely ask you:
- where and when the crash happened;
- licence plate number of each vehicle involved;
- driver’s licence number of each driver;
- insurance information of any vehicles not insured by ICBC;your explanation of how the accident happened, and whether you accept fault;
- details of any injuries you suffered;
- police file number (if police attended);
- witness information (if you have any).
Everything you say to ICBC is being recorded and can be used to limit or deny your claim.
For more information, please see our ICBC claim resources on:
Giving ICBC a Written Statement
The next step is to give a written statement. You can do that yourself, or you can retain a lawyer to give your statement to ICBC. In either case, you must tell the truth. When you give a statement to ICBC, you will be asked a series of questions. Some of these questions are entirely reasonable and valid. Other questions go beyond what is legally required. ICBC is not required to tell you which questions are optional or may lead to a denial of your claim.
Should I Consult a Lawyer Before Speaking With ICBC?
It is always good to consult a lawyer before speaking to ICBC. Even if you are entirely in the right, you might omit something or make a mistake, and ICBC will assume that these answers are correct and complete. If there is a dispute over liability, your answers can be used against you. You may also be asked questions about your vehicle usage, to see if you were in breach of your insurance policy. If there are liability or coverage issues, your statement must be carefully drafted to protect your rights. We can prepare a valid statement that protects your claim. We also draft any other forms required by ICBC.
Getting Medical Attention After an Accident
If you need medical attention, or are unsure, you should call an ambulance. The emergency medical technicians can evaluate you to determine if it is safe for you to go home, or if you should go to the hospital for further evaluation. If you only develop symptoms after leaving the scene, you should contact your family doctor or go to an emergency room. Finally, if your symptoms worsen or persist longer than expected, you should consult your family doctor or a walk-in clinic.
Contacting the Police
It is always a good idea to contact the police about an accident. This is especially true if:
- A vehicle fled the scene
- The accident caused serious damage or injury
- There is a dispute about fault
- You have concerns about the other driver or vehicle (e.g. uninsured, impaired)
Getting Your Vehicle Repaired
If your vehicle was damaged, ICBC will usually ask that you bring it in to be examined. Depending on your insurance coverage, ICBC may repair your vehicle or offer to pay you what (in their opinion) was its market value immediately before the accident. They will want you to sign a release, and if you sign it, you are agreeing not to make any future claim regarding your vehicle damage. You may want to consult a lawyer before signing the release.
Applying for ICBC Benefits
We have translations for Korean and Chinese.
ICBC benefits cover medications, medical treatments (subject to a user fee), lost income (up to $300/week) and housekeeping expenses.
There are three steps whenever you apply for ICBC Benefits:
Notify ICBC of the Accident. (Ideally within 24 hours)
- Give a statement describing the Accident. (Within 30 days of the accident)
- Submit a claim form to ICBC (CL22). (Within 90 days of the accident)
Keep in mind that your statement and any other forms submitted to ICBC can be used against you in your future claim. In fact, the application benefit form (CL22) includes this warning:
This information will be used primarily in the evaluation and settlement of your current claim.
There is also the possibility it will be referenced on future claims you may have. Questions about the collection or use of personal information should be directed to your adjuster.
For this reason, we always advise our clients to come see us before giving a statement or completing the CL22 or any other ICBC form.
What Happens if I Don’t Complete The Steps in Time?
While failure to complete these steps on time may limit your claim to ICBC benefits, it is often possible to activate your benefits even if you complete one or more steps after the deadline, but it is important to act quickly. You should contact us right away.
What Other Steps do I Have to Take to Apply for ICBC Benefits?
If you require medical treatment or prescription medications, you need a doctor’s note. You submit a copy to ICBC along with the receipts for the treatment or medications. Most physiotherapist and other treatment providers are able to bill ICBC directly, just give them the note and your claim number.
If you are applying for wage replacement (often referred to as TTDs), you must provide proof of earnings for all paid positions you held in the 12 months preceding the accident, as well as a doctor’s note stating that you are disabled from working.
What if I Have Private Insurance?
You are generally required to exhaust your private insurance before claiming benefits from ICBC. You also must claim government benefits such as Employment Insurance or CPP disability.
Applying for Non-ICBC Benefits
We only have Korean and Chinese translations.
Even if you qualify for ICBC benefits, you should always apply for any non-ICBC benefits that are available. ICBC benefits are secondary to any private or government benefits: you must exhaust those benefits before ICBC is required to pay. The most common such benefits are:
- Private insurance
- EI Sickness benefits
- CPP disability
If you or a family member have private insurance that covers medical expenses or loss of income, you should notify the insurer promptly, even if you do not intend to submit a claim. Most private insurance plans have a notice period – sometimes as little as 30 days. If you fail to notify them of the accident within that notice period, they may deny coverage for any future medical or wage loss expenses.
Employment Insurance (EI) Sickness Benefits
Many people are unaware that Federal Employment Insurance offers up to 15 weeks of employment insurance benefits if you are unable to work due to illness or injury. You need to submit a record of employment for each paid position you held in the 12 months prior to the accident, and a medical disability certificate drafted by a doctor. It is important to apply promptly, as you will lose benefits if you wait more than a few weeks, and even once you apply, it can take 4-6 weeks to process your claim.
If you are already receiving EI because you were laid off, you still must notify Service Canada that you are unable to work currently. You will be shifted to the sickness benefits until you recover. When you are able to work again, you can notify EI and return to regular EI benefits.
Canada Pension Plan disability benefits may be available if you have paid CPP premiums for the “minimum qualifying period”. You meet this threshold if you paid sufficient premiums for 4 of the last 6 calendar years, (or 3 of the last 6 if you have paid for 25 years). If you have been disabled within the last 6 years, then you must have paid CPP premiums for each month since you recovered from your prior disability. To qualify you must provide a doctor’s note specifying that you are disabled from working.
What About Worksafe/WCB Benefits?
If you were working at the time of the accident, you must elect whether to pursue an ICBC claim or a WCB claim. We generally recommend choosing the ICBC claim, but one downside is that you may not receive compensation for medical expenses or income loss until your claim is resolved.
If you are unable to earn income after the accident, you may also qualify for Fair Pharmacare benefits.