Victims of car accidents in Alberta can see their lives upended in an instant. To add insult to potential injury, recent changes to British Columbian and Albertan insurance systems have made each more difficult to navigate.
Here to help you understand these changes and recover from your accident faster are the helpful lawyers at Stephens & Holman. We are a BC law firm licensed to represent car accident victims in Alberta. When a BC driver suffers serious bodily injury as a result of a car accident that isn’t their fault, they may be owed compensation. Our personal injury lawyers can help you make a successful legal claim for financial car accident damages.
Pursuing Personal Injury Damages After a Car Accident in Alberta
The Alberta car insurance system allows injured drivers to take legal action against liable third parties such as the offending driver or their insurance company. Outcomes of a personal injury claim can include a court-sanctioned award or a settlement agreement negotiated outside of court with a third party such as the insurance company.
Here are some important areas to consider when pursuing insurance benefits or seeking a personal injury claim for a car accident in Alberta as a resident of BC.
BC Drivers, Accidents in Alberta and the ICBC
BC drivers involved in an out-of-province accident in Alberta are subject to both BC and Alberta car insurance systems. Recent ICBC reforms provide BC drivers with what’s called the Basic Autoplan, automatically. This plan, along with the regulatory system dictating out-of-province accidents in each of Canada’s provinces, determines that coverage-based payouts are paid by the non-resident driver’s insurance. However, those payouts are subject to the rules in the province where the accident occurred. This means that although the ICBC will provide benefits, they will be subject to Albertan insurance rules.
Understanding the DCPD, AAIBR, and ICBC Systems
As of January 2022, car accident claims in Alberta are administered by the Direct Compensation for Property Damage (DCPD) system. The DCPD system is responsible for covering the cost of vehicle repairs and compensating accident victims for any additional property loss. Note that accidents in Alberta occurring prior to January 2022 are subject to a different set of rules. Contact a lawyer for a review of your case if your accident occurred prior to this date.
Accident benefits for many private plans extend beyond property coverage in accidents where a driver isn’t at fault. These additional accident benefits such as medical, disability, funeral, and counseling expenses are administered through the Automobile Accident Insurance Benefits Regulation (AAIBR).
What the MIR, DTPR, and AAIBR Mean for BC Drivers
The legislation that established the DCPD also updated the Minor Injury Regulation (MIR) laws, Diagnostic Treatment and Protocols Regulation (DTPR), and the AAIBR in 2022. Changes to these laws extend benefits to more accident victims for lost income, disability, and medical care as a result of minor injuries. Previously, only individuals with severe, life-altering injuries were able to receive financial assistance after a car accident in Alberta by bringing the offending driver to court.
Those harmed in a vehicle collision can pursue benefits and compensation from the AAIBR for a wider range of physical and financial harm. But there is a substantial catch: payouts may be lower than if a claimant (the harmed driver) had taken the at-fault driver to court. Changes to the law defining a “minor injury” could result in underestimating your injury’s severity and require help from a lawyer and a doctor to demonstrate its full impact on your life.
Although your benefits will be covered by the ICBC based on AAIBR and DCPD rules, a Stephens & Holman lawyer can still represent you in Alberta courts should you decide to seek compensation for the costs and financial loss incurred because of your accident. Alberta has different rules regarding how medical costs associated with your injuries and any property loss beyond car repairs are handled.
We can help you win your car accident case and receive compensation for medical costs not covered by insurance. We can also help you receive additional compensation for pain and suffering as well as lost income and expenses due to injury based on Alberta insurance rules.
Learn How Accident Fault Affects Compensation
You may be asking whether Alberta has a no-fault or at-fault insurance system. At-fault insurance systems allow drivers who aren’t responsible for an accident to seek compensation from third parties for damage to their vehicle, property, and body.
Formerly a tort-based system, Alberta’s car insurance system has seen changes in recent years designed to help drivers not at fault in their accidents receive claim reimbursements sooner. Compared to systems in other Canadian provinces, which are either “no-fault” or “at-fault,” Alberta’s insurance system takes attributes from both. Even with these changes, Alberta motor vehicle accident victims can still seek compensation from third parties for the bodily harm they sustain due to a collision, especially if that harm is severe.
Learn How Fault is Calculated
One important implication of the Alberta system is the integral process of assigning fault. Accidents can often involve varying degrees of fault; it may be the case that neither driver is 100% at-fault. But what does that mean for the driver in Alberta? In Alberta, the amount of coverage you receive for a collision could be impacted by the degree to which an accident is your fault. Those who are partially at fault may only receive partial payment from the DCPD for the cost of vehicle repairs. This is important because degrees of fault could also impact a personal injury claim.
There are a number of factors that determine who was at fault. The police, insurance companies, and lawyers may all potentially have a say. If an initial determination is assigned partial or full fault for an accident, you may be able to challenge this decision in court to receive the accident compensation you are owed.
Contact a Lawyer
The lawyers at Stephens & Holman specialize in Alberta car accident cases. We have years of experience pursuing personal injury claims for drivers harmed physically, emotionally, and financially in car accidents. We specialize in winning compensation for those harmed by a car accident in Alberta. Act quickly, because the deadline to file a claim is two years from the date of an accident.