Archive for the ‘Who is ICBC’ Category

Am I Covered by my Auto Insurance if I’m at Fault?

One of the first questions to be determined after a collision is who is at fault? I don’t like to call collisions “accidents”. When people say “it was an accident,” the connotation is no one was at fault. Now to be at fault doesn’t mean someone set out to cause the collision.

It really means that someone did something or omitted to do something they should have done that caused the collision.
If no one is at fault, or the person at fault was the person injured, then the compensation is very limited. It’s limited to what is available as no fault benefits. No Fault benefits will be the topic of another article.

Now if someone is at fault for a collision, it doesn’t mean that they did something criminal or illegal. It could be momentary inattention or a poor judgment call. Insurance will pay the other person if we make a mistake. Now if the conduct is criminal, such as driving while impaired, racing or seeing how fast your vehicle could go, then ICBC will pay out, then sue the person at fault for reimbursement.

If the collision isn’t your fault, then it’s the insurance company of the person who caused the collision that you deal with. It’s usually ICBC, but if the collision was caused by someone outside of BC, it could be another insurance company. The insurance company will try to settle the case, but they are doing so because their duties and responsibilities are to the person who cased the collision.

It is possible for liability or fault to be divided amongst different people. The owner of a vehicle is liable for the actions of anyone they let drive the vehicle. The owner is also covered by the insurance through ICBC.

If two different drivers contributed to the collision, both of them can be found liable.

If the injured person was partially at fault (for example, if the injuries are worse because the insured person didn’t wear their seat belt, was struck by a vehicle while jay walking, or was one of the drivers who caused the collision) then they are still entitled to compensation, but the compensation will be reduced by the percentage that the injured person is at fault.

So ICBC will cover pay all the costs of a collision you cause. If you don’t have valid insurance, or you breached the policy by committing a criminal act or doing something else improper, ICBC will still pay out, but then sue you for the money they paid out back.

Is ICBC Really Acting in Your Best Interests?

When you have a claim, ICBC is involved in many ways.   When a case goes to trial, insurance is not supposed to be a consideration.   This is a fiction.  Not only is vehicle insurance in this province compulsory, but also the minimum coverage must be with ICBC.

Other insurers can provide optional coverage, but I suspect that ICBC subsidizes compulsory coverage with the mandatory insurance to give them an unfair advantage in the marketplace.

In making a claim, there are some benefits we all get from ICBC no matter who’s at fault.  They cover the ambulance ride, medications, medical supplies, a portion of your wage loss in some instances, and homemaking services.  They also reimburse the Medical Services Plan for what was paid on your behalf.  They have to pay the non-user fee portion of other treatments such as physiotherapy.

If someone else caused the collision, as that person’s insurer, ICBC stands in their shoes and pay out claims to people who have a claim against the person at fault.

So what’s ICBC’s duty to you as the person injured due to the negligence of someone else?  NONE.

The adjuster represents ICBC when acting as your insurer, and the adjuster acts for the person who caused the claim.  The adjuster has a fiduciary obligation to act in the best interests of ICBC, and of the person who caused the collision.  They have no duty to act in your interest.

It gets worse.  This was highlighted when I was reminded by a police officer that when going through Yahk on Highway 3, the speed limit is 60kmh.  To assist my memory, He compelled me to pay $138.00.  When I looked on the traffic ticket to see who to make the cheque out to, it was ICBC.

So they collect fines, pay overtime for roadside checks, assist financially in constructing highways, and control the issuance of licenses.

They have their own police force to investigate claims they suspect are fraudulent, though I note that there are very very few charges laid.  Unless they hired officers who are incompetent, it must be because the incidences of fraud are not very great.

When dealing with ICBC, keep in mind whose side they’re on, especially when asking them for information or receiving their views and opinions.

They are not there to assist you in knowing your rights.   Adjusters are not to “work” the file, and assist you in knowing all you’re entitled to.  They have a duty to act in the best interests of the person who caused the collision, and in the best interests of their employer, ICBC