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Do I Have to Report a Car Accident to ICBC?

For many people, auto accidents are very jarring and emotional experiences. Even if you’re not injured in an accident, you may find yourself flustered and unsure of what to do next. Do you call the police? Call your insurance company? In the chaos of the moment, you may be understandably lost. One of the more common questions people tend to have following an accident is, “do I need to report this to ICBC?”

Legal Requirements for Reporting Accidents to ICBC

As you’re likely aware, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is the public auto insurance provider for drivers in British Columbia. And to make a long story short, yes; you are legally required to report auto accidents to ICBC and provide a statement to them. Specifically, a formal report to ICBC is required under the following circumstances:

  • you are a driver who was involved in an auto accident in British Columbia
  • you were a passenger or other third party who was injured in a traffic collision

Typically, accidents are reported to ICBC in one of two ways: through an online report or via telephone call. From there, a claims representative will contact you to set up a formal statement, where you will be asked to provide specific information about the accident and any injuries you sustained as a result. Failure to follow these steps could result in a loss of coverage, as well as an inability to seek any kind of compensation for damages related to your accident through ICBC.

A Word of Caution About Providing a Statement to ICBC

While it’s true that you must report auto accidents to ICBC, there are some considerations worth keeping in mind before you give your formal statement to a claims representative. For starters, remember that while ICBC is meant to serve the public, at the end of the day, it’s still an insurance entity. As such, ICBC will look for ways to not pay out claims when they don’t absolutely need to. With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to have legal guidance and representation before you give your statement to ICBC.

Unfortunately, information you provide in your statement could be used against you, and could potentially come back to prevent you from obtaining the damages you’re seeking.

How a Legal Professional Can Help Protect Your Rights

By having an experienced and dedicated auto accident lawyer on your side both before and during your ICBC statement, you can ensure that your rights and best interests are being protected from unfair questioning or recording of your statement. Furthermore, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect from the process of giving a statement and how to best prepare. Ultimately, having a legal professional to assist you will help you prevent making mistakes during your statement that could otherwise put your claim into question.

Overall, it’s extremely important that you report any auto accidents to ICBC, and that you give a formal statement to begin the claims process. However, the last thing you want is for a mistake in your statement to prevent you from collecting the damages you’re entitled to. At Becker, Lavin, & Wessler, we specialize in helping clients just like you through the ICBC claims process. Contact us today to set up your free case evaluation.

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