Difference between revisions of "Insurance Benefits and Compensation for Accident Victims (No. 185)"

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{{REVIEWEDPLS | reviewer = Janet Mackinnon and Krista Prockiw of ICBC |date= February 2019}} {{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = cars}}  
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Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can have a serious impact on your health, as well as your wallet. '''Insurance benefits and compensation''' can help ease the financial burden.
  
{{Dial-A-Law TOC|expanded = autos}}
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==Understand your legal rights==
This script explains motor vehicle insurance from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (called ICBC), plus insurance benefits and other payments for people injured in a motor vehicle accident. For information on insurance payments for vehicle damage, check script [[Making a Vehicle Damage Claim (Script 186)|186]] on “Making a Vehicle Damage Claim”.
 
  
==Types of insurance==
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===Basic vehicle insurance is mandatory in BC===
===ICBC vehicle insurance is mandatory===
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Everyone who owns a motor vehicle in BC must have basic vehicle insurance from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), called '''Basic Autoplan'''. You can choose to buy additional insurance coverage — from ICBC or a private insurance company.
Everyone who owns a motor vehicle in BC must have basic vehicle insurance, called Autoplan, from ICBC. You can buy more insurance than Autoplan’s basic insurance—from ICBC or a private insurance company. Autoplan agents can give you the options.
 
  
===Autoplan includes basic third-party legal liability insurance of $200,000===
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===Autoplan includes basic third party liability coverage===
If you injure someone or damage their vehicle in an accident, your third-party legal liability insurance will pay their claim up to the limit of your insurance. The minimum third-party legal liability insurance you must have is $200,000. This insurance will also pay for most of the legal and investigative costs.
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If you injure someone or damage their vehicle in an accident, your '''third party liability insurance''' will pay their claim up to the limit of your insurance. The minimum third party liability coverage you must have is $200,000. This insurance will also pay for most of the legal and investigative costs arising from an accident.
  
===You can buy more than the basic $200,000 insurance===
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===Underinsured motorist protection===
Courts often award much more money (called compensation or damages) than $200,000 – sometimes $1 million or more – especially if the victim was seriously injured. You can buy much more insurance than $200,000—up to several million dollars and most people do. You can buy this extra insurance from ICBC or from a private insurance company. Buying more than the basic insurance is even more important if you drive to the United States because accident costs (especially medical) can be much higher there.
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'''Underinsured motorist protection''' means you don’t have to rely on other drivers having enough insurance coverage. Basic Autoplan insurance includes underinsured motorist protection up to $1 million.  
  
If you have only the basic $200,000 insurance, and someone you injure sues you for more, you may have to pay the rest. That can be a financial disaster for you.
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Here’s how this type of coverage works. Say you are hurt in an accident that is the other driver’s fault, and that driver has only the basic $200,000 third party liability insurance. But your claim is worth $800,000. What happens? ICBC will pay your full $800,000 claim through your underinsured motorist protection.
  
===Autoplan includes under-insured motorist protection===
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===Protection against hit-and-run accidents===
Basic Autoplan includes under-insured motorist insurance up to $1 million. For example, you are hurt in an accident that is the other driver’s fault, and the other driver has only the basic $200,000 insurance. But ICBC decides your claim is worth $800,000. What happens? ICBC will pay your full $800,000 claim through your under-insured motorist protection.
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All BC residents — even if they do not own a vehicle — are insured up to $200,000 by Autoplan if a hit-and-run driver kills or injures them.
  
You can increase the under-insured motorist protection with ICBC from $1 million to $2 million.
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===You can buy more than the basic insurance===
 +
In motor vehicle accident cases, courts often award much more money (also called '''compensation''' or '''damages''') than $200,000. Sometimes they award $1 million or more — especially if the victim was seriously injured. You can choose to buy much more third party liability insurance than $200,000 — up to several million dollars. And most people do.  
  
===Autoplan includes protection against hit-and-run accidents===
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You can buy this extra insurance [https://www.icbc.com/autoplan/optional/Pages/Default.aspx from ICBC] or from a private insurance company. Buying more than the basic insurance is even more important if you drive to the United States. The costs of an accident (especially medical costs) can be much higher there.
All BC residents—even if they do not own a vehicle—are insured up to $200,000 by Autoplan if a hit-and-run driver kills or injures them.
 
  
===You can lose your insurance if you break the law===
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Similarly, you can choose to increase the underinsured motorist protection from the $1 million in the Basic Autoplan coverage. ICBC offers optional coverage up to $2 million, $3 million, $4 million or $5 million.
Be careful not to lose your insurance by driving while you’re prohibited or your license is suspended or committing a crime while driving. In these cases, your third-party legal liability insurance may not cover you, and you may have to pay for any damage or injury you cause in an accident.
 
  
==Benefits (compensation) if you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident==
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===You can lose your insurance coverage if you break the law===
There are two main types of benefits:
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You can lose your insurance coverage by:  
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*driving while you’re prohibited from driving
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*driving while your licence is suspended
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*committing a crime while driving
  
#no-fault accident benefits
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Any of these acts may breach your third party liability insurance, and you may have to pay for any damage or injury you cause in an accident.
#damages (payment) for losses caused by someone’s negligence
 
  
===1. No-fault accident benefits===
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===If you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident===
====When can you get them?====
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If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are two sources of compensation:
ICBC pays no-fault accident benefits to all injured drivers and passengers of any vehicle licensed and insured in BC, as long as those people have met the insurance conditions. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident. You can apply for benefits if the accident occurred in BC, elsewhere in Canada or in the United States. You may also get benefits if the vehicle wasn’t insured in BC: for example, if you were hurt as a passenger in an out-of-province vehicle, but you had a BC driver’s license.
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#no-fault accident benefits, and
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#damages for losses if another person was at fault.
  
If you are a BC resident who is hurt in an accident in Canada as a pedestrian or cyclist, you can get accident benefits if you have basic ICBC insurance or a BC driver’s license, or if you live with someone who has basic ICBC insurance or a BC driver’s license.
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===No-fault accident benefits are paid no matter who caused the accident===
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'''No-fault accident benefits''' are available to almost everybody in BC who is injured in a motor vehicle accident — no matter who caused the accident.  
  
You have to meet the conditions of the insurance to get accident benefits. For example, if you were injured while driving without a valid driver’s license, or crashing your car in a suicide attempt, or racing or in a speed test, ICBC will not pay you any accident benefits.
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Anyone who is in a vehicle licensed and insured in BC is eligible for accident benefits. So is a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a vehicle, if they or a member of their household has a BC driver’s licence or an Autoplan policy. The accident could occur in BC, elsewhere in Canada, or in the United States.
  
====What no-fault accident benefits can you receive?====
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You must meet the conditions of the insurance to get accident benefits. For example, if you were injured while driving without a valid driver’s licence, or while racing your car, ICBC will not pay you any accident benefits.
Accident benefits include the following amounts:
 
  
*funeral expenses up to $2,500 and some death benefits.
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===Accident benefits are limited===
*rehabilitation and reasonable medical expenses (including chiropractic expenses and nursing attendant care) up to $150,000.
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Accident benefits help with medical care and wage loss. They include rehabilitation and medical expenses, as well as disability benefits for workers and homemakers. We explain these more fully shortly.  
*income replacement payments.
 
*homemaker benefits.
 
  
====How much are the income replacement and homemaker benefits?====
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Accident benefits only provide limited coverage. They’re not designed to pay you for all the losses you may suffer from an accident, especially if you were seriously injured. You may also be entitled to additional damages for losses caused by the negligence of others, explained in the next section.
'''Income replacement benefits'''—you can receive weekly disability payments if you were employed (working) before the accident, but have been totally disabled and unable to work since. You get 75% of your gross weekly earnings (minus any weekly total wage loss payments from other sources) or $300 a week, whichever is less. ICBC considers you employed if you worked any 6 of the 12 months before the accident.
 
  
'''Homemaker benefits'''—if you stayed home and looked after your family and home, you can get up to $145 a week in homemaker benefits. But your injury must substantially or continuously stop you from regularly performing most household tasks.
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===Damages for losses if another person was at fault===
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If another person was legally at fault for (or caused) the accident, you can also be paid damages for your losses. There are several types of '''damages'''. For example, you could be fully paid for the loss of your future earnings if you can’t work because of the accident. Or you may be paid for the pain and suffering the accident caused you; these are called “non-pecuniary” damages. (Note as of April 2019, the [http://canlii.ca/t/844h law in BC] limits the amount that can be awarded for pain and suffering for “minor injuries”.)
  
Income replacement and homemaker benefits aren’t paid for the first week. They start on the eighth day after the accident. They continue for as long as your disability lasts or until you turn 65, whichever is first. But ICBC can review your eligibility for these benefits each year.
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For more details, see our information on [[Making a Personal Injury Claim (No. 188)|making a personal injury claim (no. 188)]].
  
====You must apply for other benefits first====
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===You cannot collect twice for the same accident===
If you have other benefits like employment insurance, workers compensation or a private disability plan through your job, you must apply for these other benefits first. And ICBC will subtract these other benefits from the accident benefits it pays you.
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You cannot collect twice for the same loss. Accordingly, ICBC will subtract the accident benefits and other insurance benefits paid to you from any damages (or compensation) you receive arising from someone’s negligence.
  
====Accident benefits are limited====
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==Common questions==
Accident benefits only provide limited coverage. They’re not designed to pay you for all the losses you may suffer from an accident, especially if you were seriously injured. So you may also be entitled to payment or damages for losses caused by the negligence of others, explained in the next section.
 
  
===2. Damages for losses caused by someone’s negligence===
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===Should I buy extra insurance coverage?===
If someone else was legally at fault for the accident—even partly—then you can be paid for at least some of your losses from the accident. For example, you could get payment for the clothes you were wearing that were ruined in the accident. You could also get fully paid for the loss of your future earnings if you can’t work because of the accident. Also, you may be paid compensation for the pain and suffering the accident caused you.
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With Basic Autoplan insurance, if you injure someone in an accident, your third party liability coverage will pay their claim up to $200,000. If someone you injure is awarded more than that amount, you may have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. That can lead to financial ruin. It’s a good idea to buy more insurance — for both third party liability and underinsured motorist protection.
  
====You cannot collect twice for the same accident====
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===What is covered by no-fault accident benefits?===
Because you cannot collect twice for the same loss, ICBC will subtract the accident benefits you receive from any damages (or compensation) that you receive for someone’s negligence. On the other hand, employment insurance and private disability benefits are not normally subtracted from damages, except in hit-and-run cases and some other situations.
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No-fault accident benefits help with medical care and wage loss if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault. See the [https://www.icbc.com/brochures/Pages/injured-in-crash.aspx ICBC website] for updated information on benefit amounts.  
  
==Summary==
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===Rehabilitation and medical expenses===
Basic Autoplan insurance will pay for motor vehicle claims against you up to $200,000. But it’s a good idea to buy more insurance—for both third-party legal liability and under-insured motorist protection. If you’re hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to certain ICBC accident benefits. If your injuries were caused by another person’s negligence, you may also be paid for all your expenses directly related to the accident, plus damages for your other losses. But ICBC will subtract the accident benefits from the total damages you receive.
+
Accident benefits cover reasonable expenses for medical and rehabilitation services, up to $300,000. This can include chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments and nursing attendant care.
  
==More information==
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===Disability benefits for workers===
*Check the ICBC website at [http://www.icbc.com www.icbc.com].
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If you were working before the accident but were disabled in it and can no longer work, you can receive weekly disability benefits. Your benefits are based on 75% of your average gross weekly earnings (up to a maximum amount).
*Check script [[Making a Personal Injury Claim (Script 188)|188]], called “Making a Personal Injury Claim”.
 
  
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{| class="wikitable"
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|align="left"|'''Tip'''
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If you are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits, you should apply for them. ICBC will include these benefits to calculate the disability benefits owing to you — even if you do not collect your EI benefits.
 +
|}
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===Disability benefits for homemakers===
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If before the accident you looked after your family and home, and your injury makes you unable to perform most of your household tasks, you can get weekly homemaker benefits. These benefits continue for as long as your disability lasts or until you turn 65, whichever comes first.
  
[updated June 2014]
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===As a pedestrian, I was hurt when a car hit me. Can I qualify for accident benefits?===
 
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Yes. If you are injured as a pedestrian or cyclist in an accident with a vehicle, you can get accident benefits if you:
 
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*are named in an Autoplan insurance policy, or
----
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*have a valid BC driver’s licence, or
----
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*are a member of the household of a person who is named in an Autoplan policy or has a valid BC driver’s licence.
  
 +
===ICBC denied my claim. Can I appeal?===
 +
Yes. You can [http://www.icbc.com/claims/feedback/Pages/default.aspx appeal] ICBC’s decision to [http://www.icbc.com/claims/feedback/Pages/Appeal-a-denied-claim.aspx deny your claim] and its decisions on [http://www.icbc.com/claims/feedback/Pages/Your-settlement-offer.aspx how much to offer you], [http://www.icbc.com/claims/feedback/AppealFault/Pages/default.aspx who is at fault], and [http://www.icbc.com/claims/feedback/Pages/Appeal-how-you-were-treated.aspx how to handle your claim].
  
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{{Dial-A-Law Copyright}}
 
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Latest revision as of 16:03, 22 March 2019

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Janet Mackinnon and Krista Prockiw of ICBC in February 2019.

Being involved in a motor vehicle accident can have a serious impact on your health, as well as your wallet. Insurance benefits and compensation can help ease the financial burden.

Understand your legal rights

Basic vehicle insurance is mandatory in BC

Everyone who owns a motor vehicle in BC must have basic vehicle insurance from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC), called Basic Autoplan. You can choose to buy additional insurance coverage — from ICBC or a private insurance company.

Autoplan includes basic third party liability coverage

If you injure someone or damage their vehicle in an accident, your third party liability insurance will pay their claim up to the limit of your insurance. The minimum third party liability coverage you must have is $200,000. This insurance will also pay for most of the legal and investigative costs arising from an accident.

Underinsured motorist protection

Underinsured motorist protection means you don’t have to rely on other drivers having enough insurance coverage. Basic Autoplan insurance includes underinsured motorist protection up to $1 million.

Here’s how this type of coverage works. Say you are hurt in an accident that is the other driver’s fault, and that driver has only the basic $200,000 third party liability insurance. But your claim is worth $800,000. What happens? ICBC will pay your full $800,000 claim through your underinsured motorist protection.

Protection against hit-and-run accidents

All BC residents — even if they do not own a vehicle — are insured up to $200,000 by Autoplan if a hit-and-run driver kills or injures them.

You can buy more than the basic insurance

In motor vehicle accident cases, courts often award much more money (also called compensation or damages) than $200,000. Sometimes they award $1 million or more — especially if the victim was seriously injured. You can choose to buy much more third party liability insurance than $200,000 — up to several million dollars. And most people do.

You can buy this extra insurance from ICBC or from a private insurance company. Buying more than the basic insurance is even more important if you drive to the United States. The costs of an accident (especially medical costs) can be much higher there.

Similarly, you can choose to increase the underinsured motorist protection from the $1 million in the Basic Autoplan coverage. ICBC offers optional coverage up to $2 million, $3 million, $4 million or $5 million.

You can lose your insurance coverage if you break the law

You can lose your insurance coverage by:

  • driving while you’re prohibited from driving
  • driving while your licence is suspended
  • committing a crime while driving

Any of these acts may breach your third party liability insurance, and you may have to pay for any damage or injury you cause in an accident.

If you’re hurt in a motor vehicle accident

If you’re injured in a motor vehicle accident, there are two sources of compensation:

  1. no-fault accident benefits, and
  2. damages for losses if another person was at fault.

No-fault accident benefits are paid no matter who caused the accident

No-fault accident benefits are available to almost everybody in BC who is injured in a motor vehicle accident — no matter who caused the accident.

Anyone who is in a vehicle licensed and insured in BC is eligible for accident benefits. So is a pedestrian or cyclist hit by a vehicle, if they or a member of their household has a BC driver’s licence or an Autoplan policy. The accident could occur in BC, elsewhere in Canada, or in the United States.

You must meet the conditions of the insurance to get accident benefits. For example, if you were injured while driving without a valid driver’s licence, or while racing your car, ICBC will not pay you any accident benefits.

Accident benefits are limited

Accident benefits help with medical care and wage loss. They include rehabilitation and medical expenses, as well as disability benefits for workers and homemakers. We explain these more fully shortly.

Accident benefits only provide limited coverage. They’re not designed to pay you for all the losses you may suffer from an accident, especially if you were seriously injured. You may also be entitled to additional damages for losses caused by the negligence of others, explained in the next section.

Damages for losses if another person was at fault

If another person was legally at fault for (or caused) the accident, you can also be paid damages for your losses. There are several types of damages. For example, you could be fully paid for the loss of your future earnings if you can’t work because of the accident. Or you may be paid for the pain and suffering the accident caused you; these are called “non-pecuniary” damages. (Note as of April 2019, the law in BC limits the amount that can be awarded for pain and suffering for “minor injuries”.)

For more details, see our information on making a personal injury claim (no. 188).

You cannot collect twice for the same accident

You cannot collect twice for the same loss. Accordingly, ICBC will subtract the accident benefits and other insurance benefits paid to you from any damages (or compensation) you receive arising from someone’s negligence.

Common questions

Should I buy extra insurance coverage?

With Basic Autoplan insurance, if you injure someone in an accident, your third party liability coverage will pay their claim up to $200,000. If someone you injure is awarded more than that amount, you may have to pay the rest out of your own pocket. That can lead to financial ruin. It’s a good idea to buy more insurance — for both third party liability and underinsured motorist protection.

What is covered by no-fault accident benefits?

No-fault accident benefits help with medical care and wage loss if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who is at fault. See the ICBC website for updated information on benefit amounts.

Rehabilitation and medical expenses

Accident benefits cover reasonable expenses for medical and rehabilitation services, up to $300,000. This can include chiropractic and physiotherapy treatments and nursing attendant care.

Disability benefits for workers

If you were working before the accident but were disabled in it and can no longer work, you can receive weekly disability benefits. Your benefits are based on 75% of your average gross weekly earnings (up to a maximum amount).

Tip

If you are eligible for Employment Insurance benefits, you should apply for them. ICBC will include these benefits to calculate the disability benefits owing to you — even if you do not collect your EI benefits.

Disability benefits for homemakers

If before the accident you looked after your family and home, and your injury makes you unable to perform most of your household tasks, you can get weekly homemaker benefits. These benefits continue for as long as your disability lasts or until you turn 65, whichever comes first.

As a pedestrian, I was hurt when a car hit me. Can I qualify for accident benefits?

Yes. If you are injured as a pedestrian or cyclist in an accident with a vehicle, you can get accident benefits if you:

  • are named in an Autoplan insurance policy, or
  • have a valid BC driver’s licence, or
  • are a member of the household of a person who is named in an Autoplan policy or has a valid BC driver’s licence.

ICBC denied my claim. Can I appeal?

Yes. You can appeal ICBC’s decision to deny your claim and its decisions on how much to offer you, who is at fault, and how to handle your claim.

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