The Court of Appeal has done away with any legal basis for ICBC’s policy of denying disability benefits when total disability arises beyond the first 104 weeks of a car accident(Symons v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia,2016 BCCA 207 ). Long term disability benefits for personal injury claims must now be paid for future periods of total disability up to age 65.
The ICBC injury claimant was injured in a rear-end motor vehicle accident when travelling on the Alaska Highway near Charlie Lake, British Columbia. She was off work for two weeks and received disability benefits from the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) under s. 80 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulations. As a result of further complications, the claimant became totally disabled from employment and she claimed disability benefits pursuant to s. 86 of the Regulation.
ICBC refused to pay the required disability benefits despite clear inability to work. The Supreme Court of BC therefore had to declare that she was entitled to the total temporary disability benefits. This Court of Appeal Case is ICBC’s appeal from the Supreme Court Order requiring payment of the disability for lost income.
The Court of Appeal considers the purpose of the ICBC total disability scheme to be dual: 1. access to compensation for the injured and 2. promotion of road safety (see: Niedermeyer v. Charlton, 2014 BCCA 165, leave to appeal ref’d  S.C.C.A. No. 285).
Also in Halbauer v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2002 BCCA 5, the Court of Appeal adopted the reasoning of Melnick J. in Brewer, concluding, at para. 64:
… [T]he right to disability payments, after having ceased because the insured for a time is no longer disabled under s. 80, revive when the insured again becomes disabled because of the original injury.
However the Court of Appeal went further stating,
 Reading the words of this legislative scheme in its entire context, harmoniously with the whole of the scheme and purpose, leads to the conclusion that if a person who was disabled as a result of an accident returns to work, and then, because of setbacks or otherwise, is again totally disabled due to the accident, she qualifies for benefits under s. 86, even if she was not disabled on the “magic” day at the end of 104 weeks. This interpretation is consistent with the object of the Act—to provide no-fault benefits for persons injured in motor vehicle accidents.
 In my opinion, the decisions in Rashella and Andrews have been overtaken by Halbauer and Charlton.
This case was so well written, pithy and succinct nothing more need be said.
We explain more about when ICBC pays for lost wage benefits.
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.