Voluntary payments made by ICBC to victims of personal injury is a signal that the current system is inadequate. Without ICBC advanced payments made on the basis of third party liability coverage many claimants would not be able to survive after an accident related injury.
Here are 3 basic accident benefits you can expect if you are an ICBC insured injury claimant:
1. Income replacement: Maximum $300 per week. This is only paid of you have no insurance from any other source. The maximum payable has not changed since 1991 and falls well below our poverty line.
|Prolonged Visit CNS:||$35.90|
|Additional area (Up to three additional areas may be billed)||$ 6.75|
No therapist can afford to charge these low rates. As a result claimants must pay very high “user fees” to gain access to this basic therapy. Some claimants pay $40, $50, $60 per visit just for this “user fee”. Again, ICBC recognizes the unfairness in this system by, in some cases, paying these user fees voluntarily before settlement.
3. Home care for the functionally disabled: $145.00 per week. The homecare service providers charge $25-35 per hour or more, which means that this coverage only provides assistance 1-2 times per week. This is completely inadequate for individuals that cannot perform the chores of daily living on account of a car accident injury.
What is most troubling is that ICBC appears to only make these voluntary payments if the claimants refuses to hire a legal advocate and agrees to deal with ICBC on their own. If a claimant chooses to hire a lawyer to assist in their case, the policy of ICBC in my experience is to cut off all voluntary payments. Statistically in Canada claimants without lawyers receive less than claimants with lawyers.
As ICBC continues to ask for more money in the way of increased auto insurance rates, the accident benefits appear to be shrinking. The only equitable avenue available to vulnerable claimants is access to the courts.
Read on to learn more about ICBC accident benefits.