AS you’ve been driving around the city, you’ve likely noticed there are more pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists out enjoying the good weather. It’s also the time of year when many of us will head out of town for a weekend getaway or a BBQ with family and friends. Whatever your plans are, we’re asking you to be prepared and think about how you can help make sure you and your loved ones return home safely.
Every year in August, on average, 34 people are killed and 6,600 injured in 22,000 crashes in B.C.
You may have planned ahead and arranged a designated driver for the family BBQ, but what about your brother and his friends? What about your parents who are heading out of town to visit family; are they well rested and not being overly ambitious in how long their drive will take? Does your sister answer cellphone calls and texts when she’s behind the wheel? These are the type of questions you can ask and talk to your loved ones about to help them stay safe on our roads.
While we can always plan to drive safely, unfortunately crashes can happen at any time, to anyone. Should you or your loved ones be in this unfortunate situation, we want to help make sure you understand the claims process and your rights. Some may think it’s a complicated process but in reality, it’s not. The easiest thing to do is to call us first. We’ll answer any questions you may have and help you get the treatment you need to recover and your vehicle repaired as quickly as possible..
We also want to dispel some common myths about the claims process so you can make informed decisions if you ever have a claim.
Have you ever heard someone say not to sign anything from ICBC because you’ll give up your rights? This is not true. In fact, in most cases you don’t have to sign anything to get the medical benefits you’re entitled to. And regardless of who is at fault for the crash, most people qualify for medical benefits. If your injury causes you to miss work, you may also qualify for wage-loss assistance.
You may have also heard that ICBC will force you to settle your injury claim. Again, this isn’t true. We know that being involved in a crash is stressful, especially when you or a loved one is injured. Our goal is to help you get better. That means your adjuster will discuss your injury settlement on your schedule, not theirs. In most cases, you have up to two years to settle your claim.
And remember, you don’t need to start legal action to get compensation for your injury. You can get a lawyer at any point in the claims process if you’re not satisfied, but we’re asking you to give ICBC a chance first. Call us and we can explain the process and your options so you can make a decision based on facts, not rumours.
Did you know that if your vehicle is damaged in a crash, in most cases you don’t need to attend a claim centre in order to have it fixed? Your adjuster will walk you through the process and options, but often you can go directly to an ICBC c.a.r. shop VALET facility for a damage estimate and repairs. Not only does this eliminate the need to attend a claim centre, but these shops guarantee their repairs for as long as you own your vehicle. You can choose to take your vehicle to any body shop, but make sure that the shop will guarantee their repairs.
We’re committed to being there for you when you need us the most. That’s why we’re available to help you with your claim 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We have a dedicated Punjabi claims line to assist you should you need translation services to help discuss your claim with us. It’s available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days week at 1-866-906-6163.
We hope you and your loved ones enjoy your summer adventures and stay safe on our roads. Think about how your smart decisions behind the wheel can set an example for your family and friends. And remember if you are unfortunately involved in a crash, we’re here to help.
– BY HARVEY KOONER
ICBC Road Safety Coordinator