How Cross-Border Injury Claims Work in British Columbia and Washington
Personal injury claims are intended to help injured accident survivors receive financial support crucial to their recovery. A successful claim may result in compensation towards medical and/or rehabilitative bills, the costs of attendant care, coverage of lost income, or more.
If you are a resident of one jurisdiction but have been injured in another, there may be some particular challenges to navigating your injury claim. While personal injury law has many similarities in British Columbia and Washington State, there are key differences in how each jurisdiction handles a claim.
At Border Solutions Law Group, we are licensed to practice law in both Washington and BC. Drawing on our expertise particularly devoted to cross-border claims, our cross-border personal injury lawyers may be able to help you from the beginning of your claim to its conclusion. Contact us today to set up your initial consultation.
What is a Cross-Border Injury Claim?
A cross-border injury claim is a claim that involves more than one legal jurisdiction. For example, this might be a Canadian residing in British Columbia who travels down to Washington State and is involved in a motor vehicle accident. If the accident had taken place in BC, they would file a claim with ICBC for accident benefits. But because the accident occurs across the border in Washington State, they must first deal with Washington State law under the tort system.
Our cross-border injury lawyers are here to listen to the particulars of your case, and offer our dedicated guidance through the process.
What to Do After a Cross-Border Accident
As always with any injury, the first and most important step is to ensure that you and everyone involved are out of harm’s way. If you have sustained physical injuries, make sure to seek medical attention. It may take time for certain injuries to reveal their scope, and having the guidance of a medical professional can be key to your recovery. Maintaining a clear medical record can likewise help with any personal injury claim you may wish to file.
If it is safe to do so, try to record as much information as possible about the accident. Take pictures and videos of the accident scene, record the contact information and insurance numbers of other parties involved, and write down contact information for any eyewitnesses to the event. If there have been injuries, and/or if the property damage is significant, call the police. Make sure to record the badge numbers of attending officers, and verify that a police report has been made.
Contact a cross-border personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. In your initial consultation, we will ask clarifying questions about the circumstances surrounding the accident, and may provide guidance as to possible next steps.
Filing a Claim in Washington State
If you are a BC resident injured in Washington State, the first step in a cross-border injury claim may be filing a tort claim against the person at fault for your accident. In cross-border motor vehicle accident claims where the accident takes place in Washington, the at-fault driver’s insurance is intended to cover damages.
There is no cap on damages in Washington State, meaning you may be entitled to the total cost awarded to you. However, many drivers in Washington State carry only the minimum required insurance, capped at $25,000. If the cost of your injuries exceeds this amount, you would receive only the $25,000 maximum.
If you are a resident of British Columbia, however, you may be entitled to seek the remainder of your damages through a second claim with ICBC once you return home.
Filing a Claim in British Columbia
After you have filed a successful claim in Washington State, you may be able to file a second claim in British Columbia to recover the remainder of your damages. In British Columbia, Underinsured Motorist Protection claims are intended to “top up” damages not covered by an at-fault driver’s insurance, typically up to $1 million.
For guidance tailored to your specific case, it may be in your best interests to work with a cross-border personal injury lawyer. Our team at Border Solutions Law Group draws on knowledge of the law in both British Columbia and Washington to provide dedicated support to our clients, every step of the way.
Contact Border Solutions Law Group for a Free Initial Consultation
Navigating the nuances of two jurisdictions can be challenging, particularly when you are also in the process of recovering from an injury. It can be tremendously stressful to seek financial compensation while paying for medications, physical therapy, psychological care, and more. If you are unable to work as a result of your injuries, you may be faced with the additional pressure of losing income while you heal. There may be help available. Contact us today at Border Solutions Law Group, and schedule your free initial consultation to learn how our cross-border personal injury lawyers may be of service to you.