How To Make a Complete Investigation According to ICBC...

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So today I received a letter from ICBC. I figured it was just some letter informing me that a case from my car accident has been opened and that they were beginning their investigation. After all, I only called in the accident on March 24th, and since adjusters aren't back into the office till March 26th on the Monday, they'd just be cracking that file open.

Instead, the letter says this:

We are writing to confirm that we have completed our investigation of your accident and have assessed responsibility against you at 100%.

Something is fishy. How do you do a complete investigation over the weekend, without all the details and my statement, and without an adjuster? What's even more funny is that the letter was mailed this morning and arrived this...morning. Either the adjuster works really frickin' fast, or no investigation was made.

I'm not disputing my responsibility. I hit the guy in front of me. It was just bad luck that it was wet and ugly, and those white crosswalk lines are like ice in the rain. However, to complete an investigation without doing an investigation is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. You have to wonder how many people just accept their judgment and run away. Should I even bother calling these jokers to make some noise?

Edit: I made a mistake. Today was the 27th. Looks like the letter was actually mailed yesterday, and arrived today, but in order for it to arrive today, it still would have had to go out in the early AM yesterday. The letter was signed as "Dial-A-Claim" which leads me to believe that someone hit the rear ender button and auto generated it to mail out as soon as I phoned in the claim.

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  • Bob Chandler

    I've learned my lesson when I first got into the accident. From now on, I always hire my favorite lawyer. He helped me on my 3rd case and I'm happy that ICBC is not getting a cent from me on my cases! Love it! Check him out: http://nirwanlawcorp.com/icbc-car-accident-lawyer/ Also, check his article on the common mistakes and try to avoid them: http://nirwanlawcorp.com/common-mistakes-avoid-car-accident-vancouver-bc/

  • Rosie

    UGH! I HATE ICBC!!! They just want to screw you over. Definitely make some noise.

  • It's the new way (well, actually several years old now) that ICBC handles many claims. My stepson had an accident where the other person was 100% at fault, and the telephone adjuster declared his car a write-off and stated they were going to pay 1/2 what a comparable replacement costs ($4000 car, they offered $2000). He was just going to take it, not knowing any better, when I got involved. The telephone adjuster was pretty pissed when I did so, and stated that I could not be involved. I told him I certainly could, and said we could just take this up to the next level if necessary. I ended up getting him $2000 AND he got to keep the car (it was just a dent in the fender and needed a wheel alignment).

    Bottom line, do fight it.

    And also, if I read your description of the accident correctly, you may not be at fault. If you were already in the lane alone, and these other two gentlemen decided to pull into your lane, then it's their fault. If the conditions were bad and it took twice as long to stop as normal, you'd be at fault if you were following a car for a while and were too close to stop; but if they pulled into your lane leaving you too little room to stop due to the bad conditions, that's their fault.

    If you were alone in that lane, you might want to get a lawyer.

    • Thanks for that Gregg. Good to know that you can push back.

      Yes, I was travelling in the left lane alone. I was already there well in advance of the intersection and was there the whole time. The Mercedes signalled after all the cars were clear from the left lane and made its move. I saw the signal and he pulled out without cutting me off. He had room (about 2 or 3 car lengths) and was straightened out just getting underway. I downshifted to slow down a bit to accomodate him. Then the Van pulled out right out in front of him. I saw him brake, saw that the reason he was braking was that the Van pulled out on top of him, and responded by braking hard.

      Unfortunately, I hit the crosswalk lines, and slid through the cross walk. Broke all traction at that point with nowhere to go but straight. I had about 2 car lengths of space. I really could have used those extra 4 feet taken away from sliding. I would have stopped totally short.

      I was told that the fleeing vehicle that caused the chain could be charged with both hit and run (no hit) and also exiting its lane of travel unsafely. There is a witness like I mentioned.

      I guess I could always call a Lawyer and see what they say. I'm technically not losing anything monetary except my deductible, and it looks like I will keep my discount because of my safe driving record. But it would establish that I wasn't totally at fault.

      • It may only be the deductible, but what if someone hits you three months from now and ICBC decides to give you 25% of the blame? They like to do so even when it's clearly only one person's fault, means both people have to pay then. They just announced new rules where the rates for people in multiple accidents are going to skyrocket.

        In my non-lawyer, I'm not a professional opinion; if someone pulls into your lane and you can't stop in time to avoid hitting them, then they are 100% at fault. You were established in the lane, if they want to join that lane then it's their job to judge conditions and figure out if they can safely get in front of you or if they need to wait till you pass by. The fact that it was wet and took you 3 times the distance to stop is not your fault, but rather something they needed to take into consideration.

        Tell ICBC you don't accept this, that these other two drivers were not in your lane and both pulled in front of you, leaving no stopping room due to the rain. Tell them that you feel that you have 0% responsibility, and that you will pursue this further if necessary.

        • I called ICBC today, and the rep there apologized for the Generic Letter, but advised me that I would have to speak to my third party insurer moving forward. They would need to lodge the complaint if they do not agree with their 100% fault assessment.

          I'm insured through BCAA Auto Insurance and so far, they've been pretty good about getting my information, getting my car to the shop, and getting me a car to drive around.

          Let the games begin I guess 😛

          • I forgot that you had 3rd party insurance. Talk to them too, they have an interest in you being found 0% responsible.

          • They've been good so far, and definitely much more customer service oriented than ICBC as far as I can remember. The initial call to the rep wasn't great, but the adjuster was definitely a whole lot better. Most surprising was how he told me that no matter what, I've got the freebie on them, and the most important thing was that I would be happy enough to come back to them in the future. That sounds pretty rare to me.

  • Did they really send you a letter with such poor spelling?

    • I was going to say YES to be smart ass 😛

  • Didn't you say you admitted fault to the adjuster in your original call? They write these things down you know 😉

    • Adjusters sit in the office. This was a rep at a call center. Adjusters only work M-F. The rep only took the basic details. They cannot make a judgement. I confirmed this with the other insurance company. Their reps are to say as LITTLE as possible and cannot make a judgement.

  • It does sound very fishy.

  • Stephen, sorry to hear about your accident but the positive is that nobody was hurt. After being run off the road myself on Saturday by some jackass that wasn't paying attention, I can appreciate your situation caused by someone else making a stupid move.

    Just a thought here, could the person you hit be an employee of ICBC or maybe know someone there? It does seem odd that you would receive a letter so quickly about an investigation that doesn't seem like it ever took place.

    • Well, the guy that I did hit was pretty pissed at that other driver. I'm thinking that maybe if I don't provide "additional details" and just accept my fate, even if the driver I hit totally went after the van that he almost plowed into, it would just save money and time not to pursue the other driver, even if my statement matched his.

      I'm sure this works MOST of the time so they are trying it out on me too to see if I'll bite.

      • You know what, I just realized that the guy did tell me he bought some very expensive new vehicle insurance. It might be something offered through ICBC, which means that the replacement of the vehicle would be solely the responsibility of ICBC, which means its in their best interest to just lay it all on someone like me. Thanks for making me think of that!

        • No problem. I would certainly investigate this matter because something just doesn't sound right from what you have told us.

  • Leo

    They read the last name "FUNG" on the case file and put it in the "blame the Chinaman" pile. They probably think you can't read English well enough to dispute.

    Can't stand ICBC. My first Mustang was written off in a collision where a drunk driver made an illegal turn and wiped out the front end, causing over $20k in damage. Even though he was charged by the police for the incident, and he admitted to drinking that night AND has had his license revoked in another prior incident AND there was a witness taking my side, it took four years to come to a settlement. After four years I settled because I did not want to go to court and deal with the mess for another 2 years. ICBC just tries to wear you down after making you jump through hoops.

    • I wouldn't doubt it. I've seen my people drive, and it is downright idiotic sometimes. I wouldn't put racial profiling pass them. They seem to do everything possible to screw you over even if you're not at fault.

      • Racial profiling + Chinese guy in an import + rear-ender = 100% your fault.... or any of those three factors alone, really.

  • definately make some noise, i will help if you would like. Thats pretty messed up how they opened and closed it so quickly with their "investigation"

    • I'll ask them about this when I demand my Chiropractor Treatments.