Are you a homemaker who has been injured in an automobile accident? Have your injuries made it difficult to perform your daily house chores? If so, under part 7 of your accident benefits, ICBC may be required to reimburse you up to $145 a week so that you may hire a housekeeper to assist you. In order to win these benefits, though, there are a few very important dos and don'ts that you need to be aware of.
Do Pursue Your Benefits
If you're unsure of whether or not you qualify for housekeeping benefits, it's best to go ahead and pursue them anyway. Any compensation you have received, or could have received under part 7 of your accident benefits can be deducted from your final settlement.
If you don't attempt to recover housekeeping costs after filing an ICBC claim and it is later determined that you were indeed eligible for them, you risk losing $145 a week off of your total settlement award.
Don't Grant ICBC Any Consent
Upon filing your claim with ICBC, it is likely that you will be contacted by an adjuster. This adjuster will ask to meet with you and request that you sign a few documents to help move your claim along.
One of the documents presented will be a consent agreement that allows ICBC to collect all kinds of medical information about you. If you sign this consent form, you could grant the insurance company permission to delve deep into your past medical history and dredge up information to use against you in court.
You do not have to sign this form. In fact, you don't even need to meet with the adjuster.
Do Find Your Own Housekeeper
Your ICBC adjuster might also suggest a specific housekeeping service. They may tell you they work with this particular agency regularly and that it will make it easier for you to gain approval for housekeeping benefits if you opt to allow them to clean your home.
In reality, many ICBC appointed housekeepers must fill out forms after each visit. These forms include detailed information about what they witness while in your house and can later be used as evidence against you.
You do not have to accept your ICBC-appointed housekeeper. Gather plenty of quotes to show that you shopped around for reasonable rates, and select the housekeeper that you feel best suits your needs. If you're approved for housekeeping benefits under part 7 of your accident benefits, ICBC will need to compensate you as long as you have selected a reasonably priced professional to do the work.
Don't Hire A Family Member
There's a lot of confusion about whether or not ICBC will allow you to hire a family member to help you with the chores around your house. Originally, you could not be reimbursed for payment to a family member, regardless of whether or not they lived with you.
In 1992, however, the court system overruled this law in the Watson vs. ICBC case. The court declared that ICBC must still compensate housekeeping charges paid to a family member so long as that family member doesn't live with the injured party.
As it stands, though, ICBC can still refuse to reimburse you for housekeeping wages paid to a family member, and although you can contest this refusal in court, it's safest to just hire somebody who is not related to you to assist you with your chores.
If you're a homemaker and you're having a difficult time maintaining your house following an automobile accident, you're entitled to compensation from the ICBC. Before you seek that compensation, though, pay close attention to the above list of dos and don'ts, and contact an ICBC claims lawyer, like Yearwood & Company, to help you prove that the injuries you sustained during your automobile accident are preventing you from fulfilling your duties as a homemaker.