ICBC: Meet my Lawyer

Boneman

Super Moderator
Hopefully you will never find yourself in this situation but I thought I would share the results of my ICBC settlement with the riding community in case others needs some help if they find themselves with an ICBC claim. Just over one year after my accident, I've finally settled my accident claim with the assistance of a lawyer - Patrick Sweeney.

** Note: This is my experience and everyone's situation will be different **

The Accident:

For those that don't know the back story, last August in Vancouver while returning home from a nice 2 day ride with friends, I was hit by a car that decided to make an abrupt left tun that was travelling in the same direction, but in the lane to my right. The collision wrote off my much loved 05 FZ6 and set me flying 15M into oncoming traffic on Oak Street that was thankfully about 1/2 a block back. Accident was 100% cagers fault and ATGATT saved me from what could have been some major damage. Pics of my bike here: http://www.bonemanfz6.com/FZ6 Crash Pics - Intact Insurance.pdf

Bike = written off
Me = major soft tissue damage (STI) to my right leg (amazingly no broken bones). Developed an large ulcer (hole) on inside thigh near knee. Some additional bumps and bruises. Possible permanent nerve damage around right knee area (no on knows if this will heal in time). All in all I faired VERY well all things considered.

The Claim:

I started a claim with ICBC and my insurance. All went very smooth, although you need to stay on top of ICBC as they don't move as fast as I wanted them too. Here are some tips for your claim:

- Document EVERYTHING!! Regardless if you are getting a lawyer, document everything you can think of!!
- Keep all your documents ORGANIZED! Don't just throw everything into a shoe box.
- Take daily pictures of injuries. I kept a photo journal of my injuries.
- Keep a journal of how you are feeling. Include things that you can no longer do at that time as a cause of your injuries - no matter how small (can't go for walks with daughter, etc).
- Use email to contact your ICBC representative so there is a paper trial of things said. I found there were some difference between what people told me on the phone and what was the actual case.
- keep all your receipts!!!
- make a spreadsheet of all your expenses, including things like mileage to and from Dr. appointments, cost of parking at hospital/Dr. office, etc.

Why Did I get a Lawyer?

I got a lawyer because ICBC presented me with what I felt was an incredibly low settlement amount considering what I had gone through. I think this was in large part to "nothing broken" and ICBC thinking that an STI is a bad bruise!

During a claim, ICBC will do a one time payout to reimburse you of expenses (bills, wages, expenses, etc.). I got fed up of not seeing much action from ICBC and I was the one who called and initiated a face to face meeting as I felt that my adjuster was not on the same page with details of my claim (kept asking me for stuff that I had previously submitted to him).

During our face to face, he was very good and went over all my expenses and receipts to date and they did cut me a cheque that brought me up to date with lost wages and expenses. THIS IS NOT PART OF YOUR SETTLEMENT. The settlement and this payout are 2 separate things. I told him that I was not prepared to settle at this time as I was not fully healed.

DO NOT SETTLE UNTIL YOU ARE FULLY HEALED!!

When I was leaving his office, he informed me that if I were to settle now, that my claim would be worth $5,000.00. I almost chocked, but said nothing and left. I'm not sure why he tipped his hat like that and told me the amount?

ICBC also works in 'tiers' in which your claims adjuster is only authorized to pay out a certain amount. If you want more, then you get passed onto another person and up the chain you go. A lawyer is good at getting to the top of this chain.

ICBC will tell you that you have up to 2 years to settle. This is true, unless you seek legal council, in which your lawyer can very easily extend that 2 years by filing a writ with the courts if you need more time to heal from your injuries.

Don't let ICBC panic you or pressure you into thinking you have to settle!

So knowing ICBC's low offer, I asked around on here for any lawyer recommendations and I was told to try Patrick Sweeney of Pearlman/Lindholm. Patrick now only does personal injury.

Prior to this, I have never used a lawyer before other than for signing doc when buying a house. I met with Patrick and found him to be a very nice and straight forward person. I presented my documents and details during our initial consultation (no charge and about an hour). Patrick agreed that ICBC's offer was "a tad low".

So I decided to retain Partick's services. The services were as follows:

Patrick would receive 25% of the settlement amount; or 30% if it went to court.

Since ICBC had already made me an offer of $5,000, I was guaranteed that amount, even if Patrick spent the next 6 months working on the case and it got thrown out. So basically it was a no brainer - no lose situation for me.

A lawyer also has better access to all the medical and accident documents needed and assumes the cost of acquiring those instead of you (the cost gets rolled up in the end as part of their payment). Doing only personal injury, Patrick also knows the in's and out's of how ICBC works and how to work their system in your favour.

So I left it all in Patrick's hands. He sent a letter to ICBC informing them that he was representing me and not to contact me directly anymore.

The Result:

Patrick came though for me and presented a strong case to the ICBC adjusters - this is what you are paying the lawyer for! He had to go back and forth a few times and up the chain, but the end result was a settlement over 9x what ICBC originally offered me!!

In the end, we got what I felt was fair. I wasn't looking for a 'quick payday', I was looking for a settlement amount that better reflected what I had gone through/going through for something that was not my fault.

I can't say enough good things about Patrick Sweeney and if you ever find yourself in need of a personal injury lawyer, I would fully endorse Patrick Sweeney.

If anyone wants more information or has questions about dealing with ICBC, just PM me or shoot me an email: dmbone at shaw.ca
 

canakiwi

New member
Thanks for sharing the information Dave, so sorry you had to go through it and glad it wasn't worse. Take care of that knee! Great and valuable information.
Deb
 

Scootergal125

New member
As the "other half" in this situation - I would also add to input expenses that your spouse (or friend, or whoever) has incurred on your behalf. For example - Dave always picks up our dd from preschool; that's our family schedule. So factoring in costs of me having to take the car to work instead of the bus so that I could pick her up - that daily parking cost and mileage were things to be claimed. More receipts are better than none!

I also highly emphasize the idea of journalling after an accident - your injury can/may change over time (Dave's ulcer started as a bruise and went bad after a couple weeks).
 
Last edited:

Moto_Diva

New member
Dave During our introduction night Stirling showed us some mangled gear of "someone in VISC" was in an accident last summer & he kindly donated what was left of his gear to show students why good gear is important. Am I assuming correctly that this was your gear?

I have a STI on my right quad muscle from a scooter incident 10 months ago, still hurts & still not healed, in fact the hematoma has hardened & turned to bone. Probably will always be wrecked. Hope you heal up, have you seen a neurologist about the nerve damage?
 

DSmoto

New member
Great information. I went through a similar situation with ICBC and ended up hiring a lawyer. It worked out fine but took a few years. I was rear ended at high speed by a drunk driver while stopped at a crosswalk.
 

Boneman

Super Moderator
Dave During our introduction night Stirling showed us some mangled gear of "someone in VISC" was in an accident last summer & he kindly donated what was left of his gear to show students why good gear is important. Am I assuming correctly that this was your gear?

I have a STI on my right quad muscle from a scooter incident 10 months ago, still hurts & still not healed, in fact the hematoma has hardened & turned to bone. Probably will always be wrecked. Hope you heal up, have you seen a neurologist about the nerve damage?
Yep that was my gear. I figured some good should come out of it. I hoped it also illustrates the point that no one, even instructors, is invincible.

As for the knee, my doctor and specialists agreed that there is not much point in seeing a neurologist in regards to my nerve damage. We know what it is and that the treatment is time (if that works). Surgery is not an option as the damage is minor enough that having someone go digging around in there wouldn't do much good.
 
Last edited:

Dirtybill

New member
Very important info and thanks for posting it.

I too had a similar incident a few years ago coming home from work on the bike.

Luckily the guy that did the left turn in front of me lied thru his teeth and the police report verified his lies plus I had 3 witnesses that collaberated my statement. A friend of mine worked at UBC at the time and he got me free legal advice who told me at what amount I should settle for. Things worked out fine for me.

Remember steel framed bikes? Mine was a TDM850 which ICBC did not write off after sending the bike to a specialist shop to determine if the frame was bent. Frame was okay, got a bunch of new stuff on it and even some cool bling as the aftermarket stuff was cheaper than Yamaha-- full Kerker exhaust etc.

Oh ya, be very carefull what you say to the Paramedics. I told them on the scene my neck and upper back hurt slightly which they did, next thining I know I'm on a back board and basically in traction for the next 3 hours. Having an itch during that time is a killer.

I did manage to persuade the Paramedics from cutting off my Hein Gericke leathers though!! I ended up taking out the windshield on this guy's Golf with my body and there were splinters of windshield on the back of my jacket but they never went thru the leather. Jacket that also had armor in it which I'm sure helped a lot. I'v had far worse injuries just hacking around on my dirt bike.
 
Last edited:

Lady VRod

Live, love, Laugh, Learn
Dave, it's outstanding that you were able to compile these thoughts for others. I was also hit and it's been seven years. I was a single mom at the time and was quick to want to settle. My laywer talked me out of it because we didn't know the extent of how my injuries would affect my life. 7 years later, I have been diagnosed with trauma enduced fibromyalgia (sp) from the accident and it's been determined that my condition will deteriorate. My career ended that day but I was determined at the time that I would get better. If I had settled I would be looking at a lifetime on disability. Thanks to my laywer pushing me to be patient, my payout has to replace lost wages for life and so much more. What a difference my life would have been if I had not followed the same tips that you've just posted. I can say with certainty having been in this same situation 7 years ago. These are very valuable tips and I would recommend the same. Well done Dave!
 
Top