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Things to Consider When Filing a Cross-Border Injury Claim in Canada

If you have sustained injuries in an accident while travelling across the border, it may be possible to file a cross-border injury claim to seek compensation for the damages you have incurred. This may help to cover the costs of medical bills and rehabilitative care, as well as make up for income you have lost while unable to work.

Because a cross-border injury claim involves the laws of two different jurisdictions, the process often requires an additional set of considerations. Variations in the law, as well as specific administrative requirements, can have an impact on how you may wish to proceed. Working with a cross-border injury lawyer may be essential to clarifying the structure of your claim. 

Each case is unique. For tailored insights as to what may be possible for you, contact us today and schedule a free initial consultation with our team at Border Solutions Law Group.

When Should I File a Cross-Border Injury Claim in Canada?

A cross-border injury claim usually involves two claims – one in each jurisdiction. If you are a BC resident who has been injured while travelling to Washington, for example, you might first file a claim pursuant to Washington State law. 

Because car accidents are a leading cause of injury worldwide, motor vehicle-related injuries are at the centre of most claims we see. The majority of Washingtonian drivers only carry $25,000 in third-party benefits, meaning this may be the most you might recover in a successful claim. However, if your injuries exceed this amount, you may be able to recover the remainder in Canada through an Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP) claim with ICBC.

The practical process of navigating a claim on each side of the border can be nuanced. Our team of cross-border injury lawyers at Border Solutions Law Group understand what is required in each jurisdiction, and may be able to guide you through a personal injury claim from beginning to end.

What is an UMP Claim?

UMP stands for “underinsured motorist protection.” Administered through ICBC, this is a policy that provides financial support after a motor vehicle accident if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance. UMP may cover you and the members of your household to an amount of up to $1 million each, depending on the nature of your injuries and their effects on your life.

In BC, the minimum amount of liability insurance a driver may have is $200,000. This may not be enough to cover costs related to a catastrophic injury, such as in spinal cord injury claims. An injured accident survivor may file an UMP claim to receive the remainder of their award. 

In Washington State, the minimum insurance many drivers carry is $25,000. For Canadians injured in Washington, this can be tremendously low when compared to the costs incurred in a sustained injury. At Border Solutions Law Group, we may be able to help you close your claim in the United States, and then file an UMP claim in Canada to cover the remainder.

The Differences in Caps on Damages in Washington and BC

There is no upper limit on the amount you may receive in damages in Washington State, which means if you are awarded $1 million in pain and suffering, that is the amount to which you are entitled. Meanwhile, there is a cap on damages in Canada, meaning even if your pain and suffering amounts to $1 million, you may only receive a few hundred thousand. 

While there is no cap to damages in Washington, the reality is that personal injury claimants are often limited by the amount of insurance the defendant carries. You may be eligible to receive $1 million, but if the at-fault driver’s insurance is capped at $25,000, that is the most you may receive. 

A cross-border injury lawyer may be able to help you navigate the specific systems of each jurisdiction, prioritizing efficiency in pursuit of securing you the compensation you deserve.

Cross-Border Legal Costs

Legal costs are a key consideration when filing a cross-border injury claim. Often known as costs and disbursements, these are the expenses that accumulate in connection with your file. They include legal fees paid to your lawyer, as well as expenses your firm accrues on your behalf, such as court fees.

Costs and disbursements are not recoverable in Washington State. In BC, they may be reimbursed. This means it may be of benefit to strategize when and where to incur expenses during a claim. 

At Border Solutions Law Group, we tailor our approach to each client’s unique needs, aiming to keep legal costs low. We work on a contingency basis, meaning we do not get paid unless you do.

Contact Border Solutions Law Group for a Free Initial Consultation

When filing a cross-border injury claim in Canada, there are a number of considerations you may wish to keep in mind. The process of filing a claim can be particularly challenging when dealing with two different legal systems, all while healing from your injuries. Contact us today to learn how our cross-border personal injury lawyers may be able to help.