They know how the system works... do you?

After a car accident: book helps survivors

Navigating the maze of medical, legal and insurance bureaucracies after a car accident can be nearly as bad as the accident itself, but a new guide published by a Port Coquitlam company could change that.

The Auto Accident Survivor's Guide for British Columbia details what steps to take immediately after a car accident, explains the ICBC claims process, and provides tips on how to manage your award money.

"Like a lot of people in BC, I assumed the medical and legal systems would take care of me," said author Jill Franklin. As a pedestrian she was seriously injured in a traffic accident in 1990 but it wasn't until 1997 that her ICBC case settled. Afterwards, she felt it was important to demystify the whole process for others. This goal was a huge undertaking that took eight years to complete. Franklin did an enormous amount of research, interviewing many personal injury lawyers, as well as experts at ICBC and the Worker's Compensation Board. The book changed along the way to reflect emerging case law, changing legal statutes, and a new BC government.

Franklin's book fills a connective void among the many groups involved in a person's post-accident recovery, providing a big picture view of the entire process. Knowing potential issues with insurance adjustors, for instance, arms doctors with more information to ask better questions of their patients, providing a clearer diagnosis. "If we all knew our rights and obligations, the system would be cleaner, simpler, cheaper and more effective," Franklin said.

Franklin doesn't expect anyone to sit by the fire reading the Auto Accident Survivor’s Guide instead of watching a good movie, but she does recommend it as a "you never know when something's going to happen" informative guide. That's because it contains a wealth of information for anyone who's been in a car accident, from the beginning to the end of the process, the short- and long-term aftermath and a variety of medical and psychological issues.

Sarah Young
Tri-City News staff reporter

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"Contains a wealth of information for anyone who's been in an accident, from the beginning to the end of the process."