It should go without saying that if you have been injured in an accident in Victoria BC, be it a car accident, a dog bite, or a slip and fall, recovering your health should be your foremost objective. In spite of the fact that you have been suddenly injured, however, you are not suddenly exempt from your pre-accident responsibilities.
With this in mind, it is important that you promptly visit a Victoria personal injury lawyer for a free case evaluation to not only learn about your rights and the legal remedies available to you, but to also discover what you can do, or avoid doing, to protect any claim you may wish to pursue. In the mean time, here are 5 basic tips for helping your claim:
1. Seek proper medical care immediately
This is important not only from the standpoint of healing, but also because if you have no record of visiting a doctor shortly after your accident, ICBC can argue that your injuries must not have been serious, or that you were never injured at all.
2. Take all necessary steps to mitigate (lessen) your damages
As a personal injury claimant, you are legally obligated to make all reasonable efforts to rehabilitate yourself. Not doing so will can ICBC to severely minimize your claim.
3. Make repeat visits to the same doctor
Visiting a single doctor will make it easier for that doctor to prepare a comprehensive medical report when it comes time for your personal injury lawyer in Victoria to negotiate a settlement. A detailed medical report documenting your injuries and your rehabilitative efforts is one of the most powerful negotiation tools a Victoria personal injury lawyer can have.
It is also to your advantage to visit a physician who knows you and has your medical history on file, as opposed to a stranger at a walk-in clinic.
4. Be forthcoming about your injuries with your doctor
If you do not disclose all of the physical and emotional injuries that resulted from your accident to your doctor, or you understate any of them, you are effectively allowing ICBC to argue that you are not entitled to recover all the damages that you deserve and raise questions about your credibility. Likewise, overstating your injuries can also work to your disadvantage.
5. Document your recovery process
Keep a private record of all of your doctor visits, what was discussed during those visits and all treatments and rehabilitative measures stemming from them. It is not uncommon for a Victoria personal injury lawyer to also recommend that their client keep a “pain journal,” documenting how their injuries are effecting them each day.
The more proof your Victoria personal injury lawyer has of your injuries, the more likely you are to receive a fair settlement.
6. Keep original receipts for out-of-pocket expenses
Keeping receipts for your injury-related expenses will not only allow you to document your rehabilitative efforts, but also ensure that you are able to recover recoverable expenses.
7. Be aware that ICBC may interview your friends and family
It is not uncommon for ICBC investigators to interview friends and family members of an accident victim. If anything you say to someone who is interviewed by ICBC is not entirely accurate, this can hinder your efforts to receive a fair settlement. It is best to only discuss the circumstances surrounding your accident in confidence with your immediate family members and a personal injury lawyer Victoria BC residents trust.
8. Be careful about discussing liability with medical staff
Anything you say to medical staff, including your doctor or a doctor employed by ICBC, can make in into your medical record. If you are asked about your accident by medical staff, it is probably in your best interests to simply state the type of accident you were in and leave it at that.
9. Avoid making a signed statement to ICBC
If you are injured in an accident in Victoria, you are required to report your accident to ICBC to qualify to receive Part 7 benefits (also known as no-fault accident benefits). Part 7 benefits are benefits that ICBC is required to pay to people injured in accidents, whether or not they are at-fault. As an accident victim, you are under no obligation to provide a statement to ICBC about your accident or injuries.
ICBC will often request that a person injured in an accident visit their offices to sign a statement about their accident. If anything in a signed statement given to ICBC is inaccurate, incomplete or misconstrued, this can diminish or eliminate the claim of the person who gave it. Furthermore, it is important to understand that the extent of your injuries may increase over time. If your statement to ICBC doesn’t reflect the full extent of your injuries, this may prevent you from collecting the maximum compensation you are owed.
10. Avoid signing any release of information forms for ICBC
ICBC may ask you to sign a form allowing them to access your entire medical history. This can result in them having access to information about you that is both embarrassing and impertinent to your matter.