Working When the Accident Occurred?
One thing that ICBC looks for in every motor vehicle accident is whether you were working at the time. If you were working, they will then look to see if the other driver was working. This is because accidents between most workers are exclusively covered by WorksafeBC, which means you cannot pursue an ICBC claim. However, ICBC will often say that a claim is covered by WorksafeBC when it is not.
Only WorksafeBC can decide whether an accident was between workers. If ICBC says that you were a worker, you should apply to WorksafeBC. This requires you to fill out a form and mail it or fax it to WorksafeBC. While the form can be difficult to understand, we can help you figure it out. Within a few weeks of submitting your application, you should receive a letter outlining the decision that WorksafeBC has made. If it says that you were not a worker or you were not acting in the course of your employment at the time of the motor vehicle accident, you can proceed with your ICBC claim.
However, WorksafeBC sometimes makes mistakes and deems people to be workers when they are not. Their decisions can be appealed, but only within a limited time (which may be as little as 30 days). If you believe that WorksafeBC was wrong, and you wish to pursue your ICBC claim, contact us.
When to Pursue Your ICBC Claim
Even if you are covered by WorksafeBC, you can still pursue your ICBC claim if the other driver was not a worker: you are covered by WorksafeBC, but they are not, so it is not a worker/worker accident. However, if you elect to pursue your ICBC claim, you cannot claim WorksafeBC benefits until you settle your ICBC claim. If you choose to pursue your ICBC claim, you must notify WorksafeBC of your election within 3 months of the accident.
We usually advise our clients to pursue the ICBC claim first, because you can always reactivate your WorksafeBC claim, so long as you submitted an application form and an election form (again, we can help you with this). It is more difficult to resume your ICBC claim if you pursue the WorksafeBC claim first, as you would be required to repay all the benefits received from WorksafeBC, plus a 29% “administrative fee”. It is also common for the ICBC claim to be a better option than the WorksafeBC claim, because ICBC claims cover damages that are not covered by WorksafeBC. Call us for a free consultation so you can make an informed decision when choosing between ICBC and WorksafeBC.
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