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Common Challenges in Cross-Border Injury Claims and How to Overcome Them

If you or someone you love have been injured as a result of another person’s negligent or wrongful actions, you may be eligible for financial compensation. Typically pursued through a personal injury claim, this compensation may help offset the costs of medical and rehabilitative care, income you have lost as a result of your injuries, and more.

When you are a resident of one jurisdiction and the accident happened in another, there may be some additional considerations to keep in mind as you seek justice. Two sets of laws and two sets of administrative policies can be challenging to navigate. At Border Solutions Law Group, we are licensed to practice in both British Columbia and Washington State. With knowledge of the law concerning injury claims on both sides of the border, we may be uniquely positioned to help in your cross-border injury claim. 

Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation, and learn how our team of cross-border injury lawyers may be of service to you.

What is a Cross-Border Injury Claim?

A cross-border injury claim is, as the name suggests, a claim that traverses a border. Typically this means that a resident of one jurisdiction is injured in another. If, as a British Columbia resident, you are involved in a car accident within British Columbia, your personal injury claim will be filed with ICBC. However, if you are a Canadian citizen involved in a car accident while travelling in Washington State, the resulting claim may begin as a tort against the at-fault driver within the United States. Then, you may seek reimbursement for any outstanding costs through a claim with ICBC.

Personal injury law is largely similar between Canada and the US, but significant differences arise in the way insurance, damages, and legal costs are handled. Car accidents are among the most common causes of injury in cross-border claims, and the differences between US and Canadian auto insurance can have substantial impact on the claims process. Our British Columbia cross-border personal injury lawyers strive to provide clarity on this process, addressing your questions every step of the way.

At Border Solutions Law Group, our team of cross-border injury lawyers prioritizes clear and timely communication, seeking to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to learn more.

Caps on Pain and Suffering Damages

In Washington State, there is no cap on damages. This means that if a person who has been injured in a car accident is awarded one $1 million, this is the amount they are entitled to receive. In Canada, there is a cap of around $400,000. Even the most catastrophic injuries possible would not be eligible for more than $400,000 in pain and suffering damages.

However, in Canada, you are entitled to recover the entirety of your economic losses. This speaks to any tangible amounts you may have lost as a result of your injuries. Examples include medical and rehabilitative bills, the costs of attendant care, income or wages you have lost as a result of having to take time away from work, and more.

Differences in Insurance

While there may not be a cap on damages in Washington State, the majority of drivers have only the minimum coverage in auto insurance: up to $25,000. Therefore, if a Washington driver with minimum coverage is at fault in your accident, the upper limit of what you may be able to receive through a claim with their insurance provider is $25,000 – no matter the real cost of your injuries.

Canadians injured in Washington State have the option of seeking coverage of the remainder of their damages, up to $1 million, through a British Columbia Underinsured Motorist Protection claims process. Governed by ICBC, this policy is intended to “top up” an injured accident survivor’s compensation in order to provide the financial support they need. 

Differences in Legal Costs

Another common challenge in cross-border injury claims is the strategizing of legal costs. Regulations regarding costs and disbursements differ on either side of the border. Costs and disbursements are legal costs that are accrued over the course of a claim, including lawyer fees and expenses required to move the case forward. 

In Washington State, a claimant may not recover costs and disbursements in their claim. In British Columbia, meanwhile, costs and disbursements are recoverable. At Border Solutions Law Group, we understand these nuances, and strive to structure the process in the most cost-effective way possible.

Contact Border Solutions Law Group for a Free Initial Consultation

Whether you have been injured in a car accident, a slip and fall, or another incident caused while travelling across the border, contact our team of British Columbia cross-border personal injury lawyers today. Learn how we may be able to help you receive the compensation you deserve.