What You Need to Know About the ICBC Changes

ICBC is making some radical changes to the amount that can be claimed for minor injuries, as well as for medical and wage loss benefits. Here’s what you need to know.

Compensation cap for minor injuries

As of April 1 2019, ICBC will only award $5,500 compensation for pain and suffering in minor injury claims. This compensation cap does not apply to serious and catastrophic injuries.

What is a minor injury?

That inevitably leads to the question – what exactly is a minor injury? According to information recently released by ICBC, a minor injury includes sprains, strains, general aches and pains, cuts, bruises, minor whiplash, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), mild concussions and short-term mental health conditions.

ICBC also says that a minor injury is one that impacts your life for less than 12 months. If it persists longer than this, your compensation for pain and suffering should not be capped. Also, if a concussion or mental health condition affects your life for more than four months, there is no compensation limit.

Who decides?

If you are claiming accident benefits from ICBC, an independent medical professional will assess your injuries and decide if it falls under the definition of ‘minor’. The decision is not made by ICBC. If you disagree with the diagnosis of your injury, your case will be referred to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).

What is the Civil Resolution Tribunal?

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) currently hears small disputes under $5,000 and strata disputes of any amount. As of April 1 2019, it will also deal with disagreements between ICBC and its customers. This might include disputes such as –

  • Whether or not an injury is ‘minor’
  • Whether an injured person is entitled to compensation
  • Whether someone is at-fault for an accident
  • Settlement amounts for claims below $50,000

Increase for medical and wage loss benefits

While the amount of compensation awarded for pain and suffering in minor claims will decrease, the amount awarded for medical and wage loss benefits will go up. ICBC implemented the first phase of this new scheme on January 1 2018, when the overall limit for medical and physiotherapy costs rose from $150,000 to $300,000.

Now, wage loss payments and other benefits have increased, as follows –

  • Maximum wage loss benefits will increase from $300 per week to $740
  • Homemaking benefits will increase from $145 to $280 a week
  • Benefits for funerals will increase from $2,500 to $7,500
  • Death benefits will increase from $17,580-$20,080 to $30,000

ICBC will pay more money per treatment, no matter who is at fault for the accident. More types of treatments will also be covered, including acupuncture and counselling.

Can I claim other compensation?

The compensation cap of $5,500 only relates to your pain and suffering. You can still claim compensation for your medical and wage loss benefits. If you were not at fault for the accident, you can also make a personal injury claim. This allows you to claim compensation for your out-of-pocket expenses.

Can I still hire a lawyer?

Yes! You still have the right to hire a personal injury lawyer.

If you want help with your ICBC claim, please contact us now at John Mickelson Law Corporation. Either fill in the free online enquiry form or call us on 604 684 0040.

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