I walk a fine line when giving ICBC claim advice in this public forum. On the one hand, there is important advice that absolutely must be shared to injured victims to avoid being taken advantage of by ICBC. On the other hand, by sharing deep, dark, “black arts” advice publically I am sharing my confidential “battle plans” with “the enemy”.
Approximately once a year I pull out the really sinister tactics and strategies. This is it. Brace yourself. If you are the victim of a negligent driver hoping only for fair financial compensation for your injuries and losses, use this column is a reference and follow the tactics I am about to share to the letter.
These tactics have broad application to every aspect of your life. They apply to the way you should deal with your doctor, employer, friend or family member. They apply every minute of every day, when you are deciding whether a particular physical activity should be attempted, how outwardly you should appear to enjoy a public activity and when to attempt a return to work. They have particular application to the possibility that ICBC surveillance is in place, recording your every move.
When I share this important advice to those coming to me directly for advice, they often react with a huge sigh of relief. Everyone around them seems to be an expert about how to handle an ICBC claim. All manner of advice is given, much of it contradictory. My “black arts” advice erases all uncertainty because it is so easy to follow.
I should give you a web address and require you to pay me for a password to unlock the benefits of almost two decades of experience handling personal injury cases. Why would anyone pay me for my advice if I give it so freely? I could also make sure representatives of ICBC didn’t get access to learn my moves.
Here it comes: “Live your life”. Live it as fully as you possibly can. Smile, dance, and relish every pleasure you are able to squeeze out of what might well be a very painful, physically disabling injury condition.
It might be impossible, initially, to return to some of your activities. Heck, it might be impossible to do anything more than move from your bed to the bathroom and back to your bed, perhaps with help. There might be a period of time when returning to work is simply not possible. Share the optimism of your doctor and others on your treatment team. At least some healing will occur. Always be “chomping at the bit” to get back to whatever your pre-crash normal was as quickly as possible. Err always on the side of making attempts to return to your pre-crash functioning, holding back only as you might be told to by your treatment team.
Never go to your doctor asking for another two weeks off work. No, go to your doctor asking for his or her permission to please give a return to work a try, perhaps on a graduated basis if working an 8 hour day is out of the question. If you are given that permission and give it your best try but your symptoms flare up to an intolerable level and you are set back in your recovery then your treatment team will pull you back.
Go to that wedding, go on that trip, go on that holiday that you had planned. Be as functional as you can and enjoy it as much as possible. Smile broadly for photographs. Yes, ICBC might be following you around with a video camera. Yes, ICBC might be able to get hold of your photographs and try to use them against you to say “see, she doesn’t appear to be injured in that posed, wedding picture”. Wipe those concerns from your mind.
Live your life! Live it to the fullest. If you don’t, you will be victimized a second time: first by the negligent driver who hurt you and second by “the claim system” that you are fearful might take advantage of you (quite reasonably!). How could this advice, which sounds like its coming from an insurance company, possibly be good legal advice? It happens to be excellent legal advice which will maximize the prospect of achieving fair financial compensation for your injuries and losses. It happens also to assure you of as full a recovery as can be achieved which is good for you, good for ICBC and only not good for your contingency fee paid lawyer.
Read the next column: ICBC Claim advice: Live your life pt. 2