We take on ICBC/CRT cases and will fight for you to ensure you get fair compensation. We take on ICBC injury cases, regardless of the magnitude, and fight for our client’s rights.

WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?

The new law regarding a cap of $5,500.00 for pain and suffering (soft tissue injuries) will not affect any car accident that occurred before April 1, 2019. So if you accident occurred before this date, the new rules will not apply to your case.

A cap of $5,500.00 for pain and suffering (soft tissue injuries) will apply to auto accident claims that occur after April 1, 2019. The $5,500.00 soft tissue injury cap is only for pain and suffering. You are still entitled to claim for wage loss, future capacity, and out of pocket expenses on top of your pain and suffering claim. Under the old rules there was no monetary cap for pain and suffering. Under the new rules unless you can prove that your injury is not minor, your case will fall within the jurisdiction of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT).

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) now has jurisdiction over motor vehicle accident claims where the Claimant has suffered minor injuries. If possible we will fight to get your case out of the minor injury designation.

IS IT WORTH HIRING A LAWYER IF YOUR INJURY IS MINOR?

Yes it is still worth hiring a lawyer if your injury is minor. Dealing with the ICBC CRT process can be challenging as there are a number of rules and important deadlines that need to be followed. If you miss a step along the way, your claim can be denied. Dealing with an ICBC adjuster can also be complicated as their interests are not to protect your rights, but rather to save ICBC money. So they will do whatever it takes to pay you the least amount possible and close your claim as quickly as possible. Remember, just because there is a cap of $5,500.00 for your pain and suffering claim, it doesn’t mean that ICBC will automatically give you $5,500.00. We will need to fight for it. If you are injured in an accident, and if your injury is minor, call us today to discuss your options.  

WHO MAKES THE DECISION REGARDING YOUR CLAIM

For motor vehicle accidents on or after April 1, 2019 the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will make decisions on the following matters:

  • The determination that an injury is a minor injury or not
  • The entitlement to receive accident benefits claimed
  • Decisions around who is responsible for the crash
  • Settlement amounts for all injury claims below $50,000.   

The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) has jurisdiction over minor injuries sustained due to a motor vehicle accident that occurred in British Columbia on or after April 1, 2019. This means that any disputes over minor injury claims cannot be resolved in Supreme Court, unless you can prove your injuries are not “minor”.

The CRT has jurisdiction on motor vehicle accident claims up to $50,000. Claims exceeding $50,000 will be deferred to the courts.  The onus is on the claimant to provide substantial evidence that his or her claim will likely exceed $50,000. If the dispute is denied by the CRT, the claimant will be subject to the new $5,500 limit on pain and suffering awards for minor injuries. The $5,500 cap is only for pain and suffering. You are still entitled to claim for other heads of damages such as wage loss, loss of earning capacity, and special damages (out of pocket expenses).

DEFINITION OF “MINOR INJURY” IN THE INSURANCE VEHICLE ACT

“minor injury” means a physical or mental injury, whether or not chronic, that

(a) subject to subsection (2), does not result in a serious impairment or a permanent serious disfigurement of the claimant, and

(b) is one of the following:

(i) an abrasion, a contusion, a laceration, a sprain or a strain;

(ii) a pain syndrome;

(iii) a psychological or psychiatric condition;

(iv) a prescribed injury or an injury in a prescribed type or class of injury;

Examples of a “Minor Injury”

  • Abrasion
  • Contusion
  • Laceration
  • Strain – Includes 1st and 2nd degree strains but excludes 3rd degree which include torn muscles
  • Spain – Includes 1st and 2nd degree sprains but excludes 3rd degree which include torn ligaments
  • Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/Jaw)
  • Pain Syndrome – means a syndrome or disorder or other clinical condition associated with pain, including pain that is not resolved within 3 months
  • Whiplash Associated Disorder (WAD) – includes WAD 1 or 2, but excludes WAD 3 or 4, which involve neurological symptoms, fractures or dislocations of the spine
  • Psychological and psychiatric conditions – which do not result in an incapacity beyond 16 weeks
  • Concussion – which does not result in an incapacity beyond 16 weeks

Serious impairment means a physical or mental impairment that is not resolved within 12 months, or another prescribed period, if any, after the date of an accident, and meets prescribed criteria

“Prescribed criteria” of serious impairment includes the following:

Affects the claimants/patient’s: (1) employment; (2) training/education; or (3) activities of daily living

Primarily caused by the accident and

Ongoing since the accident; AND

Impairment must not be expected to improve substantially.

There are new rates for treatment as of April 1, 2019. You should try to ensure that you are not being charged above them. 

Your provider should approach ICBC to have the whole treatment amount covered, leaving no shortfall and no need for Direction to Pay starting in April.

If you are using a 3rd party benefits provider please ensure that they do not require you to pay them back.

Prescribed rates as of April 1, 2019:

If your treatment provider is charging a total amount over the prescribed amount per treatment, they should change to the prescribed amount mentioned above.

If you treat at places that are charging you more than the prescribed rates, you run a risk of not receiving reimbursement, as it may be deemed unnecessary and unreasonable without good reason.

If you have extended health benefits, it is a mandatory requirement in ICBC cases to request to have treatment expenses covered through your extended health benefits. Extended health benefits are benefits you receive from a private insurance company (for example, Pacific Blue Cross, Great West Life, Manulife).

Many extended health companies will indicate they do not cover treatment in ICBC cases.  That denial letter is important, and you should keep a copy of it.  Some of the extended health benefits companies will write and indicate that even though you are not covered for ICBC related benefits, they will pay you those treatment expenses as a “loan”, which you will need to pay back upon settlement. Our initial review of the new law on this suggests if you take a “loan” payment for treatment purposes ICBC will not be required to pay you back.

Until we receive more clarity from the NDP government (which has brought in these unfair changes), from ICBC, or the courts, we are advising all of our clients not to enter into any “loan” agreement for treatment benefit repayment with any of their extended health benefits providers. The risk being that ICBC will not pay you back for those amounts, yet you will still be required to pay back the loan on your own to that extended health benefits company.