Image of an insurance claim form from car insurance companies

Snowbirds who reside in British Columbia but over-winter in the US may find themselves in need of legal services while down there. The unfortunate reality is that car accidents and other serious personal injury accidents happen every day. With many British Columbia residents opting to drive to their winter residences, the long hours of driving in unfamiliar locations increases the risk of an accident.

Every year there are an estimated 4 million Canadian and northern US residents that migrate south to popular destinations like Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia every winter. These states experience high volumes of migrating birds better known as “snowbirds” or tourists during these colder months.

Who can really blame them? These sunny, southern states provide non-stop sun, fun, relaxation, and activities for everyone. If, and when, the fun comes undone due to catastrophic or serious personal injuries Snowbird Accidents is here for you.


This is where Snowbird Accidents comes in. We work with some of the best personal injury lawyers who understand the complexities of cross-border accidents.

Very few lawyers understand the complexity of cross-border accidents. After a serious car accident or other accident has occurred, you will need a lawyer in both the state the accident occurred and in your home province too. It’s crucial the two lawyers work collaboratively to ensure your rights and remedies are properly protected.

Both lawyers will share one contingency fee based on the work performed. Since these lawyers work on a contingency basis, you will only pay for the services rendered once your settlement has been received, helping you to focus on your recovery, not your finances.

What Should You Do If You’re Involved in An Accident Outside Of British Columbia

  • Your top priority is always the health and safety of you and your family. Be sure to seek out medical attention immediately.
  • Make sure the police are contacted.
  • Inform your family doctor of the accident and your injuries.
  • Obtain the drivers’ licence and insurance particulars of the other vehicle.
  • Call your insurance company and report the accident.
  • If possible, get contact information for witnesses.
  • Write down all details of the accident while it is still fresh.
  • Take photos of the scene, the accident, and your injuries.
  • Contact the Snowbird Helpline as soon as you’re able to.

Travelling Is Not Risk-Free

Before travelling south, Canadians need to make sure they are prepared for any emergency. You need to investigate your current medical and travel insurance options, to make sure you understand what you are covered for, and how to access the said coverage. It’s always a good idea to purchase extra travel and medical insurance to cover your entire family.

It’s also a very good idea to increase your optional car insurance coverage. We recommend that you increase your Liability limits, Accident Benefits, and ensure you have underinsured/uninsured motorist protection. These optional benefits are fairly inexpensive and invaluable to you and your family should you experience a bad accident.

British Columbia Residents Should Seek Legal Services If Involved In A Personal Injury Accident In The US

Accidents happen. The law of the state where the accident happened dictates the rights and remedies you have (Tort rights). In most states, you can sue (or be sued) for pain and suffering and any economic losses suffered. Furthermore, each state has different procedural rules as to when and how a claim can be made. You will need a lawyer/attorney in that state to provide legal advice.

Canadian Car Insurance & Personal Insurance Protection (PIP)

At this time, every Canadian province has mandatory automobile insurance requirements.

Additionally, every Canadian driver has third-party liability coverage. Most people also have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage when they are travelling in the US or outside of their home province. However, it’s very important that you confirm you have both before driving outside of British Columbia.

In the event of a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, or pedestrian accident, contractual claims must be remitted to your insurer in the province where you purchased your car insurance. For example, if a Canadian from British Columbia is involved in a Texas car accident, they can sue in Texas and must remit their contractual claims to their provincial car insurer.

Personal Insurance Protections Available In British Columbia

As of January 1, 2022, these are the personal insurance protections available to those injured in a car accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident (involving a car).

Mandatory Minimum Third-Party Liability

In situations where lawsuits are permitted, $200,000 is available for any one accident. However, if the claim involving both bodily injury and property damages reaches $200,000, payment for property damage will be capped at $20,000.

Is Direct Compensation Property Damage Required?

British Columbia uses a similar system, which is referred to as Basic Vehicle Damage Coverage.

Medical Payments

There is no time or amount limit for medical payments.

Funeral Expense Benefits

Funeral Expense Benefits are payable up to $9,386.

Disability Income Benefits

90% of net wages based on actual gross annual income that is less than $105,500.

Death Benefits

There is up to $68,863 available to spouses. Benefits for dependants are age-defined and range from $32,708 to $61,680. However, if no spouse or dependant, each non-dependant parent or child receives up to $15,336.

Impairment Benefits

There is up to $172,154 per person for non-catastrophic injuries and up to $271,834 for catastrophic injuries.

If you are involved in a car accident in British Columbia lawsuits are not allowed.

How To Access Your Personal Insurance Protections

Accidents need to be reported to your car insurance company. They in turn will send to you an Accident Claim Form. This form must be completed and returned to them as soon as practicable. Once submitted, you will become eligible for benefits.

Please note, if you are involved in a car accident in any state or province outside of your normal place of residence, your car insurance policy is to comply with State or Provincial laws. For instance, if an American is injured in British Columbia, they are not allowed to sue. In addition their US policy must provide BC Statutory Benefits.

Conversely, as a Canadian, your car policy must comply with the laws of the jurisdiction where the accident happened. If you are injured, you have the option of deciding which contractual benefit scheme you would like to receive. This is tremendously complicated since you need to compare the two insurance policies and decide which is in your best interest.

Filing property damage claims.

Property damage claims are subject to the extent of the property damage. Claims are to be reported to your car insurer. Contact your local insurer, especially if your vehicle needs to be towed or returned to Canada.

Canadian car insurers also provide underinsured and uninsured benefits.

Do not leave home without this coverage. Each state and province require car drivers to have certain minimum liability and contractual benefits. It is suggested that 70% of the car accidents in the United States involve car drivers who are inadequately insured, if at all. If you are injured by an underinsured or uninsured driver, you can claim any financial shortfall from your own car insurer up to the limit of your car policy.

Why You Need Legal Services For Cross-Border Accidents

Rules and regulations surrounding personal injury claims vary greatly between countries, provinces, and states. Additionally, private insurance companies provide different coverages and benefits based on where they are located and what you have purchased. Additionally, rules for car insurance differ greatly between Canada and the United States. They even vary between states.

Furthermore personal injury and contract claims must be brought against the defendant driver and your own car insurer in a timely fashion. Should you not do so, you can find your actions statute barred resulting in being denied the benefits and compensation you deserve.

There are just a few reasons why cross-border accidents are exceptionally complicated and confusing. Snowbird Accidents can arrange for some of the best personal injury lawyers and attorneys to help you navigate this process quickly, without added stress, so you can focus on your rehabilitation.

These personal injury attorneys and lawyers work collaboratively with your insurers and hospital and healthcare companies to quickly process your Canadian cross-border claims. Our recommended personal injury lawyers will ensure your rights and remedies are protected while dealing with hospitals, insurance companies, and negligent parties to get you the compensation that you deserve.

Obtain Legal Services in The State or Province You Were Injured in Now!

Any personal injury law firm, personal injury lawyer, or personal injury attorney we recommend has shown they have extensive knowledge and expertise you can trust when faced with the challenge of a cross-border accident. In most instances, you can deal directly with them by going to their website. As an alternative, you are welcome to complete the contact form or give us a call.