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The following outlined procedure will help you understand the Road Traffic Accident Personal Injury Law Process.
1. Report to police and ICBC: Reporting the road traffic accident to the police is of paramount importance and should be done at the earliest. The police will issue you with a file number as reference that could be quoted as a reference for future correspondence. In UK, you would need to report the accident to ICBC through a telephone. ICBC will also issue a file number and sets up an appointment for you to see an adjuster. 2. Meeting the solicitor and an ICBC claims adjuster: A consultation with the solicitor is recommended before you meet the adjuster appointed by ICBC. This will go a long way in protecting your interests. The best scenario would be to make your solicitor accompany you to meet the ICBC claims adjuster, so that all information you give out to the adjuster is accurate and your solicitor has the first hand information is building your case at a later date.
3. Negotiations with ICBC: Negotiations can begin anytime after the meeting with the adjuster. The negotiations can go on until you go to court or the case is settled. More than 90% of the ICBC cases are settled before they come to trial. To get the most out of them negotiations normally continue up to the date of the trial.
4. Filing a lawsuit: After a few meetings with your solicitor, the solicitor will review the circumstances and the evidence that keep you out of blame's way. The solicitor would then carry on to reviewing the evidence of damages to your claim by interviewing witnesses for assessing liability.
The solicitor then takes a call on whether to file a lawsuit or not and if necessary, will assess the timing of the lawsuit. The timing would depend on the negotiation level with ICBC, your personal injury symptoms and the size and complex nature of he claim itself.
5. Trial date: Trial date should be set as early as possible, but it is advisable to leave it to the solicitor to do as he/she feels best.
6. Documentation and Pre-trial examinations: After the lapse of 6-12 months from the beginning of a lawsuit, each party to the accident is examined by the lawyers of the other side before trial. This is done to try and gather evidence of liability on your part, so that they could deny part or all of the coverage. In a normal procedure, documents are exchanged that include evidence pertaining to wage loss and other opportunities which may have been lost due to the accident.
7. Trial: If the negotiations fail before trial, going to court becomes necessary. The court hears out the evidence for fault finding, your losses due to the accident and a decision is made by the judge or jury to find the fault and to ascertain the amount of damages suffered.
8. Appeals: If the decision of the court is not acceptable to any of the parties involved, an appeal can be made to the B.C. Court of Appeal. The decision is reviewed, based upon the evidence and facts. A decision is taken to uphold the previous decision or overturn it accordingly.
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