So you were in an accident…dealing with ICBC 

So you’ve been in an accident.  Maybe it was a fender bender, maybe high-impact; maybe it was your fault, maybe someone else hit you, maybe you were a passenger.  Either way, you now are presented with the very real experience in making an ICBC claim.

This whole process freaks people out, so first of all, you are not alone if you feel a little overwhelmed with the experience.  So let me walk you through the process from my experience as a chiropractor, and as someone who has been on the same side of the table as you.

First of all, you need to report the claim.  ICBC has a dial-a-claim number or you can report your claim online.  will get you started.  You will be given a claim number, and will subsequently be contacted by your claims adjuster to come into ICBC for a meeting.  I suggest to my patients that they write down everything they can remember about the accident, from how it happened (a diagram can help), when it happened, the road conditions, and how they felt physically after the accident.  This will give important information to your adjuster.  You will be asked to sign forms to allow ICBC to access your medical records.  You do not have to give ICBC carte blanche to your records; you can make an addendum to the form you are signing specifying what parts of your file they may access (ie. those related to your areas of complaint).

If you are injured, it is not necessary to wait for your ICBC appointment to seek treatment.  Both your medical doctor and your chiropractor are considered primary health care doctors.  You do not need a referral, you only need to phone for an appointment.

No matter who was responsible for your accident, or how bad it was, if you are injured, ICBC will cover treatment to help you recover from your injuries.  In the past, if you had chiropractic treatment, ICBC would pay a portion of your treatment and you would pay a user fee that may or may not be reimbursed by ICBC.  That all changed about 2 years ago, when ICBC and chiropractic offices such as mine, entered an agreement that allowed patients to come in for care with no user fees.  ICBC will now pay the chiropractor directly for care until the patient reaches maximal medical recovery. 

Maximal medical recovery doesn’t mean everything will be just as it was, but it does mean that your chiropractor will treat you until you are no longer improving.  The treating chiropractor will keep careful notes of your care and send initial, progress and final reports to ICBC.  This will help ICBC when it comes to settling your claim; now they will have medical reports telling them if you are still having symptoms and they can make more appropriate recommendations for your case. 

When I co-treat ICBC patients with medical doctors, I like make sure that I send reports to the MD so they know how their patient is progressing.  I find that if everyone is on the same page, patient care is improved.  It’s important that they know that their patients are having active care; and that they are being rehabilitated with appropriate exercises and stretches. 

So if you are in the unfortunate situation of having been in a motor vehicle accident, don’t despair.  It doesn’t have to be a horrid experience.  You have great options available to you to help you return to health and you have great people that can help you walk through the experience. 

© Jennifer Forbes 2015