Has ICBC Decided That Your Injury is ‘Minor’?

ICBC has a list of injuries it considers to be ‘minor’. If your injury falls into one of these categories, and affects your life for no more than 12 months (or 16 weeks in the case of concussions and mental health injuries) your general damages will be capped.
It is possible to get your injury reclassified – but only if ICBC agrees. Otherwise, you must pursue a dispute through the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).

What is a minor injury according to ICBC?

On April 1 2019, ICBC published a list of injuries that are defined as minor. This list is subject to change, but currently includes:

  • Sprains
  • Strains
  • General aches and pains
  • Cuts
  • Bruises
  • Road rash
  • Persistent pain
  • Minor whiplash
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
  • Mild concussion
  • Short-term mental health conditions

When you make an ICBC claim, an independent medical expert will assess whether your injuries match those on the list. If so, ICBC will treat your injury as minor.

What does a minor injury mean for my claim?

If ICBC decides that your injuries are minor, it means that your general damages will be capped. General damages are awarded for your pain and suffering, be it physical or psychological. If your motor vehicle accident happened after April 1 2020, a limit of $5,627 will apply. If it happened in the year preceding April 1 2020, a cap of $5,500 will apply.

This cap does not affect the amount you can claim for your medical care, wage losses and out-of-pocket expenses.

Are there any exceptions?

There are occasions when a minor injury will be reclassified as a serious injury. This occurs when a physical injury causes serious impairment to your life for more than 12 months. Or, when a concussion or mental health condition persists for 16 weeks or more.

The definition of a ‘serious impairment’ is a difficult one. According to ICBC, it means that you have a substantial inability to perform the essential tasks of daily living, or while at work or school. The impairment must also be ongoing with no expectation of substantial improvement. However, there is no guidance as to what a ‘substantial inability’ might be, or what amounts to an ‘essential task’.

A personal injury lawyer can help establish the true extent of your impairment. This is achieved by producing evidence that shows exactly how your injuries have impacted your life. So long as this proves that your ability to perform essential tasks has been hindered for 12 or 4 months, your general damages will not be capped.

What if I disagree that my injury is minor?

While ICBC may consider the injuries listed above to be minor, they may in fact be life-changing to you. If you disagree that your injury is minor – but ICBC is unwilling to reclassify your injury as serious – then your dispute can be heard by the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). A personal injury lawyer can manage this process on your behalf.

Our ICBC lawyers

We understand how galling it is to be told that your injury is minor, when in reality, it has had a devastating impact on your life. As personal injury lawyers, we help injured victims of motor vehicle accidents claim the compensation they deserve. If ICBC has wrongly designated your injury as minor, we can work to get your injury reclassified as serious. This ensures you receive the right amount of compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of quality of life.

To speak to our ICBC lawyers, contact us for a free consultation. Either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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