Accident Claims in BC: What you need to know about the new changes
On April 1, 2019, the BC government made changes to ICBC accident claims in the province. The largest change is the limitation of “minor injuries” to $5,500 and giving the Civil Resolution Tribunal exclusive power to hear claims for damages from motorvehicle claims of $50,000 or less and determination of entitlement to Part 7 Benefits.
Minor Injury and Claims Under $50,000
The major change to accident compensation in BC is the changes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal’s jurisdiction to hear certain accident claims and a $5,500 limit on “minor injury claims”. After April 1, 2019, the Civil Resolution Tribunal now has exclusive resolution to hear disputes where there is disagreement between the you and your insurance company about:
- The entitlement to receive accident benefits;
- The classification of an injury as a minor injury; and
- Liability and quantum decisions for motor vehicle injury claims up to $50,000.
Additionally, the Civil Resolution Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to hear claims for damages from a motor-vehicle accident under $50,000. Claims for lost wages and cost of future care upwards of $50,000 are heard exclusively by BC Supreme Court. However, those claiming for damages in excess of $50,000 bear the onus of establishing with some evidence that the claim will exceed the $50,000 limit.
Minor Injury Claims are defined in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act and the Minor Injury Regulation. A minor injury is a physical or mental injury (as diagnosed by your doctor or health care provider), that does not result in a serious impairment or permanent disfigurement, including:
- An abrasion, a contusion, a laceration, a sprain or a strain
- A pain syndrome, including pain that is not resolved within 3 months
- A psychological or psychiatric condition that does not result in an incapacity
- A concussion
- TMJ disorder (an injury that involves or surrounds the temporomandibular joint)
- Certain whiplash associated disorders
Part 7 Benefits
The Part 7 Accident Benefit scheme is set out in Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation. The most important part about these benefits is that you can claim them regardless of whether you were at fault in an accident. The benefits provide payment of lost wages and medical treatment if your injured and can’t work.
Prior to April 1, 2019, where ICBC had previously denied payment, you were required to file a Notice of Civil Claim in BC Supreme Court to obtain those benefits. Now, only the Civil Resolution Tribunal will determine entitlement to Part 7 Benefits.
Additionally, preserving your limitation period to claim Part 7 Benefits has changed. Prior to April 1, 2019, you could preserve your limitation period by filing a Notice of Civil Claim for benefits within two years of the date of the accident (or date of your last benefit payment), or you could send ICBC written notice to preserve your limitation under section 103 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation.
Starting April 1, 2019, this process has changed. When you provide written notice of your intention to make a claim for benefits under section 103, ICBC may provide a written response. If they do, you must start a claim for entitlement to benefits with the Civil Resolution Tribunal for benefit entitlement within 3 months of receiving ICBC’s response, 2 years of the date of the accident or 2 years from the date of the last benefit payment, whichever is later.
If you have been injured in a car accident are unsure how the new rules affect you, contact our firm to start a consultation.