Legislation passed by the provincial government of British Columbia took effect on April 1, 2019, to limit the compensation for motor vehicle injuries that are deemed "minor." This new category of "minor injuries" caps the monetary amount available for ICBC claims and all auto accident claims at $5,500, with additional monies awarded for lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses. Unfortunately, this law leaves many victims with severe injuries left without legal recourse for the valid and appropriate compensation they deserve for their injuries. Medical professionals are not involved in the classification. "Minor injuries" are determined by the ICBC or insurance company adjuster.
Steps to Take to Avoid Your ICBC Claim Being Categorized as Minor Injuries
Our lawyers in Vancouver and surrounding areas expect that most ICBC claims will be deemed minor and be subject to the $5,500 capped compensation. Injuries that prevent or limit your abilities to perform daily tasks or go to school or work for more than a year—and your condition is not expected to improve—may push your claim out of the minor injury category. However, it's crucial to your health and your ICBC claim that you follow these steps after an accident:
- Seek appropriate medical care and follow treatment advice.
- Ask your employer to accommodate your injuries in the workplace to help you perform your duties.
- Keep in mind the 2-year statute of limitations for B.C. auto accident claims.
- Submit medical care receipts to ICBC within 60 days of billing to make sure ICBC is required to pay those expenses.
- These include ambulance, hospital, surgical, dental, nursing, and other medical services such as physical therapy, speech therapy, and chiropractic treatment.
If you don't follow the steps above, your claim may be deemed "minor injuries," even if it is not.
Your Options If Your Injuries are Deemed "Minor"
The severity of your injuries is determined by the adjuster at first instance. If you believe that decision is wrong, then you can appeal through an online application to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT makes the final call on your injuries using evidence supplied by you and ICBC. This process is unlikely to be on your side given the legislation and negates your ability to go through the court with educated, trained judges in this matter.
How to Challenge this Outrageous Legislation
Our lawyers at Stephens & Holman are saddened and angered at the limitations this legislation has placed on injured victims. If you're as frustrated with the degradation of British Columbian's rights as we are, we recommend contacting these persons:
- Premier Horgan, Local MLA
- Andrew Wilkinson, Leader of the Opposition
- Andrew Weaver, Leader of the Green Party
- David Eby
We hope you'll also use social media to spread the word about the terrible situation in which the new legislation puts injured victims.
Contact Stephens & Holman in Vancouver
If you or a loved has been injured in an auto accident in British Columbia, our lawyers can help you pursue a claim for compensation. Stephens & Holman has 25 locations throughout the B.C. province. Call us today at (604) 730-4120.