What if I am hit by an underinsured driver?

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Abby Pang

By Abby Pang

When a car accident causes serious personal injury such as a concussion or brain injury, whiplash, fractures, or spinal cord damage, it will have a significant impact on the accident victim’s life. A person who sustains significant personal injuries as a result of a BC motor vehicle accident is usually unable to work and experiences substantial wage loss – in some cases, the loss of income is permanent. The costs of rehabilitation and medical treatment can be astronomical. It is not uncommon for serious ICBC personal injury claims to result in damages that exceed the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage. What happens if you are hit and injured by an underinsured driver? Our ICBC claim lawyers (Surrey, Burnaby, Vancouver, and the Lower Mainland are served by our team) will answer that question for you now.

What if I am hit by an underinsured driver?

If the at-fault driver is either underinsured (which means that they have insurance coverage but it is not enough to cover your personal injury claim) or uninsured (which means that they have no insurance coverage), you can claim against the Underinsured Motorist Protection (also known as “UMP”) coverage which is provided under your ICBC Basic Autoplan insurance. Note that in the latter situation – where the accident is caused by an uninsured driver – you may also be able to claim against a special uninsured motorist fund that provides coverage for damages up to $200,000.

What is UMP coverage ?

Underinsured Motorist Protection under your mandatory ICBC Basic Autoplan insurance policy covers you if you are injured or killed in a collision as a driver, passenger, or as a pedestrian or cyclist, and also covers all members of your household where injury occurs as a result of a crash where the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance. Basic UMP covers up to $1,000,000 per injured person. Note that UMP coverage does not apply where the accident occurred in a province or state where the law does not allow you to sue and recover damages for injury or death caused by a motor vehicle accident. If you are a BC resident who was injured in an accident outside of BC, it is best to contact a personal injury lawyer in BC as soon as possible for advice on your claim.

What if I sustain serious personal injuries?

Where the at-fault driver is underinsured, your UMP limit will cover things like medical costs, rehabilitation and lost wages. If you are seriously injured as a result of a motor vehicle accident (for example, a head or brain injury, quadriplegia or paraplegia), the basic UMP limit of $1,000,000 may not be sufficient to cover your losses. As significant and catastrophic injury claims very often exceed the basic UMP limit, it is possible to purchase optional ICBC coverage called Extension UMP, which means your limit will be higher. Depending on the ICBC policy you purchase, your total UMP limit can be up to $5,000,000 (which includes the $1,000,000 Basic UMP).

Meet with an ICBC claim lawyer (Surrey, Vancouver, Burnaby, and Abbotsford offices)

Serious personal injury as a result of a motor vehicle accident will likely require costly medical treatments and can cause a substantial loss of income. If the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance, you can claim under your UMP coverage. This area of law can be quite complex – if you have questions about underinsured motorist ICBC claims or UMP coverage, contact Simpson, Thomas & Associates to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our experienced ICBC claims lawyers.