An average of 820 car accidents occur in BC every day. Drivers buy insurance so that they are covered in case of an accident. However, insurance claims are investigated and denied by ICBC for many reasons.
Car insurance is a contract between a driver and ICBC. If ICBC determines you have breached that contract, ICBC will not extend insurance coverage which means you will be responsible for all damages to your vehicle, other vehicles, any personal injury claims and property damage. There are many ways you may be found in breach by ICBC including:
- failing to cooperate with an ICBC investigation
- providing a false statement to ICBC
- incapacity from drugs or alcohol
- misrepresenting who the principal operator is or your rate class
- driving without consent of the owner
- failing to comply with the conditions of the driver’s licence
- failing to remain at the scene of an accident
- street racing
- evading the police
- trading or transporting illicit goods
- a finding that a registered owner permitted a driver to do any of the above
The lawyers at Filkow Law assist drivers with reporting an accident and providing a statement and follow up, handling any breach investigation and potential litigation, negotiating any debt owing to ICBC if insurance coverage is denied.
Reporting the Accident and Providing a Statement
Every insured driver has a duty to report an accident to ICBC. After the initial report, ICBC often requests further details about the circumstances of the accident.
When and what you report to ICBC is critical. It is important to know your rights and the issues regarding making a statement and ongoing communications with ICBC. The lawyers at Filkow Law assist clients daily in communicating with ICBC.
If ICBC believes you may have breached your insurance contract, ICBC can and will investigate. ICBC frequently hires private investigators to investigate a claim. ICBC may have access to a number of types of evidence including witness evidence, cell phone and video evidence, and any statements you have made to ICBC or other people.
ICBC can also compel you to make a statement under oath and question you under oath about the accident. Any false statement can not only lead to a breach of ICBC insurance coverage but may also lead to potential charges under the Criminal Code or the Insurance Vehicle Act of BC.
The lawyers at Filkow Law have successfully negotiated ICBC insurance coverage for hundreds of clients who are under investigation by ICBC.
If you have been denied insurance coverage by ICBC, you will be responsible for all amounts paid out to other people for their injuries, vehicles, and property.
If you do not pay, ICBC can withhold your driver’s licence and insurance and ICBC will take collection action.
The lawyers at Filkow Law have favorably resolved hundreds of ICBC debt cases. Contact us today for assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
I got into a car accident. What do I have to do?
Section 73 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation requires you to provide prompt written notice of the circumstances of the accident to ICBC. Even if you are not the owner, you are required to give written notice. In that case, ICBC may require a statement from the driver and the owner.
Failure to provide a statement can result in ICBC breaching your insurance.
ICBC says that I gave a false statement. Can they breach my insurance?
If you have provided ICBC with a false statement, they can determine that you are in breach of your insurance contract. For example, if you get into an accident and misrepresent the details of the accident to ICBC, they may have grounds to deny you insurance coverage.
What are the consequences of breaching my insurance?
If ICBC determines you have breached your insurance coverage, ICBC will not defend you from any insurance claims. This effectively means that you do not have any insurance. ICBC will hold you liable for any damage you caused in the accident, including personal injury and material damage.
What are the grounds for a false statement?
A false statement is a “wilful false statement”. “Wilful” means intentionally, knowingly, and purposely, without justifiable excuse. In contrast, a statement made carelessly, thoughtlessly, or inadvertently may not be wilfully false. A statement may not be wilfully false if the person making it had an honest belief in the truth of the statement.
The statement must also be material to the management or payment of the claim. It must relate to something that is capable of affecting the mind of the insurer, either in the management of the claim or in deciding to pay it. For example, statements about the involvement of alcohol or drugs or the identity of the driver are material.
I do not have any insurance coverage. Can ICBC help me?
If you do not have insurance, ICBC may pay the other parties for any property damage or personal injury sustained but will hold you liable for the amount paid to the other parties. That amount will then become a debt that you owe ICBC.
What constitutes an ICBC breach?
There are a number of common grounds for breaches:
- a failure to cooperate with ICBC;
- a false statement;
- a finding that the driver is impaired;
- a motor vehicle-related Criminal Code conviction;
- a misrepresentation of the principal operator or rate class;
- a finding that the driver drove without consent of the owner;
- a conviction for driving while prohibited;
- a failure to comply with the conditions of the driver’s licence;
- a failure to remain at the scene of an accident;
- a finding that the driver was in a race;
- a finding that the driver was trading or transporting illicit goods;
- a finding that the driver was attempting to escape arrest or police action; and
- a finding that a person permitted a driver to do any of the above.
I got into a car accident. What should I do?
If you have been in an accident, it is important to get good legal advice, even before you report the incident to ICBC. There is a lot at stake. An experienced lawyer is important for drafting a proper statement, investigating the circumstances of the allegations, determining whether there is in fact and in law a breach, negotiating with ICBC, preparing a lawsuit if necessary, dealing with any debt, and more.
If you need legal assistance, give us a call or simply text us your police, court or driving documents to our respective text line.
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