Common Questions

I've been hurt in a motor vehicle accident. What can I do?

Last reviewed November 2020 by the Clicklaw Editors
NOTE: The Provincial Government has plans to implement a new care-based model for automobile insurance starting May, 2021

If you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to receive no-fault accident benefits (generally, these benefits include wage loss to a maximum of $300 per week while you are disabled due to your injuries, and medical and rehabilitation benefits). Even if you caused the accident, ICBC (the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia) will pay you these benefits if you meet the conditions of this insurance.

If the accident wasn’t your fault (or only partly your fault), you can get “damages” for your pain and suffering, lost wages (past and future), future care, out-of-pocket expenses, and other losses. These damages aim to put an injured person who didn’t cause the accident in the same position they would have been in if the accident had not happened. ICBC will typically offer you money to settle your claim. Once you settle, you can’t make any further claims, even if you later suffer new effects from your injuries, which you hadn’t expected. 

You may want to sue the owner and driver of the other vehicle if ICBC:

  • refuses to pay accident benefits or pays less than you think is fair;
  • refuses to pay damages or pays less than you think is fair; or
  • decides that you’re at fault for the accident, partly or totally.
It is a good idea to get legal advice before you decide to settle or sue. There are deadlines to sue - within 2 years from the accident date, or the date of the last benefit payment (unless you were under 19 years of age). Many personal injury lawyers accept cases on a "contingency fee arrangement" which means you only pay if you win damages at the end of a lawsuit or settlement, based on a percentage of the damages won. If you do not win, you may still have to pay some expenses associated with your file. 

Good starting points include:

Need more help?

  • The Lawyer Referral Service offers a free 30 minute initial consultation with a (personal injury) lawyer. You can contact them at 604.687.3221 in the Lower Mainland, or 1.800.663.1919 toll-free elsewhere in British Columbia.

See our related common questions:

ICBC, car accidents, personal injury, MVA, motor vehicle accident, motor vehicle accidents, bus accident, tort, ICBC claims, ICBC claim, ICBC adjuster