The Ins and Outs of Motor Vehicle Insurance
Been in a car accident? Unfortunately, many of us have. What most people don’t know is that when you drive a motor vehicle, you carry around two types of insurance.
First, you carry Accident Recovery Benefit Insurance. This is insurance you carry to protect yourselves if you become injured as a result of an accident, even if the accident is your own fault. These recovery benefits include rehabilitation benefits such as physiotherapy, massage, and chiropractic, medication expenses and total temporary wage loss payments if you cannot work. These benefits are also available to almost all B.C. residents if someone else injures you through the operation of a motor vehicle, even if you are a pedestrian, cyclist, passenger or driver.
The benefits you are entitled to under this section of your insurance are legislated and are very specific in nature. As well, ICBC has internal policies that may also limit what recovery benefits are available to you in your situation. For example, massage therapy recommended by your physician will only be covered for 8 weeks following an accident. Also, this insurance will only cover a portion of most physiotherapy or chiropractic charges, which means that you must personally cover a ‘user fee’ at each treatment attendance. It is important to fully understand what is covered by insurance and what you are responsible for personally, so as to not be taken by surprise with unexpected expenses.
Second, you carry Third Party Insurance. Third party liability insurance is mandatory insurance on all motor vehicles in B.C., for use in a situation where you hurt others while using or operating your motor vehicle. If you are injured from someone else’s negligence or fault while operating a vehicle, no matter if you are injured in your car, as a passenger in a car, as a pedestrian or as a cyclist, you may access the wrongdoer’s party’s third party insurance to cover such things as pain and suffering, out of pocket recovery expenses and wage loss not covered by your own no-fault recovery benefits, future care costs towards treatment of injuries and loss of such things as handyman and home making abilities. If others are required to assist you during your recovery, including family members, this may also be claimed against the wrongdoer’s third party insurance.
There are also insurance provisions built into your insurance policy in B.C. to cover you if you are injured by a driver you cannot identify (i.e. hit and run) or a driver that is not carrying sufficient insurance. There are specific requirements to qualify for this insurance, so do not delay in reporting the matter to ICBC or to your lawyer, who will assist you in taking the appropriate steps to ensure you are covered.
As each accident situation and injury is unique, it is important to seek the advice of a lawyer to explain your rights in this very complex and often unfamiliar process with the insurance company. A lawyer’s goal is to ensure that you are aware of all of the benefits that you are entitled to under your insurance and get the best possible care during your recovery, even if you are hurt in an accident that was your fault.
Most lawyers offer a free consultation to discuss your situation. If you would like advice regarding your accident injury situation or for more information regarding such matters, please contact Chahal Priddle LLP to set up an appointment today.