What Your ICBC Claim is Worth in the Era of Injury Caps

British Columbia now has a cap for minor injuries sustained in car accidents. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, bicycle accident or pedestrian accident some of your ICBC compensation might be capped or reduced if you have private insurance. Consult a personal injury lawyer to find out what you are entitled to.
If you’ve been in a car accident in Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby, Richmond, Abbotsford or anywhere in BC you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver. An important claim is for non-pecuniary damages which is to compensate a victim for pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
For car accidents occurring on or after April 1, 2019 in British Columbia, the claim for pain and suffering is capped for “minor injuries”. Unless you can prove your injury is not minor, you are not entitled to seek more than a legally set amount.
*There is no injury cap for car accidents before April 1, 2019.*
For accidents after April 1, 2019 the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, may tell you that your claim is capped and that you cannot seek further compensation. This is the reason a personal injury lawyer is essential when dealing with a car accident injury claim.
The British Columbia Minor Injury Cap
British Columbia’s minor injury cap has been set at $5,500 for the year 2019, beginning April 1st, 2019. Therefore, if you are seeking compensation for pain and suffering you may not sue for more than this amount. Importantly, this cap does not apply to other damages such as medical expenses, loss of income, and other tangible losses.
The cap on pain and suffering will be calculated after 2019 based on a formula set out in the Minor Injury Regulations.  Talk to a lawyer to find out more about any increase in the amounts awarded for pain and suffering.
How to Determine if You’ve Sustained a Minor Injury
“minor injury” is defined in the British Columbia Insurance(Vehicle) Act and means generally a physical or mental injury, whether or not chronic, that does not result in a serious impairment or a permanent serious disfigurement of the claimant, and is at least one of the following:

  • Cuts and bruises (abrasions, contusion, lacerations);
  • Sprains or strains;
  • Pain syndrome;
  • Psychological or psychiatric condition;
  • Concussion that does not result in an incapacity;
  • TMJ disorder (jaw);
  • Whiplash injury (WAD – whiplash associated disorder); and
  • Further injuries as may be added.

So, for example, if a car accident has caused you a sprain that does not interfere with your daily activities, the claim for non-pecuniary damages (Pain and suffering) will likely be subject to the cap. However, there are several grades of whiplash and if you’ve suffered a severe whiplash that results in a serious impairment, your claim is not subject to the injury cap.
It’s important to understand that if you’ve suffered an injury such as a sprain that is resulted in serious impairment or inability, the pain and suffering award may not be capped.
Registered Care Advisors
The government run insurance company, ICBC, will create a list of individuals titled “Registered Care Advisors”  to classify injuries as minor. Once ICBC determines your injury is a “minor injury” your case will be capped unless you apply to the Civil Resolution Tribunal.
Civil Resolution Tribunal 
After April 1, 2019 the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will have the ultimate jurisdiction over whether to classify an injury as minor.  If ICBC denies your injury claim as a minor injury, and you disagree, you must apply to the CRT for a decision.
The CRT will be making decisions on: the entitlement to ICBC injury accident benefits; determining whether a claimant has suffered a minor injury; and liability/compensation decisions for motor vehicle injury claims up to $50,000.
The application of the minor ICBC injury cap is difficult to determine and you can bet ICBC will assume your injury is minor, in fact the new law makes this assumption. Each injury claim is unique and you could be entitled to more compensation even if your injury falls within the “minor injury” definition as laid out by law.
It’s important to always consult with a personal injury lawyer in British Columbia to evaluate your ICBC injury case.  Other elements of your claim are not capped and this figure is solely for pain and suffering.
For car accidents occurring on or after May 17, 2018 there may be other deductions ICBC will make to your claim if you have private insurance. Having a lawyer will ensure someone is looking out for your best interest.
Many citizens are lobbying to change these oppressive new laws . Bookmark our “ICBC Injury Caps” category to keep up to date and share this information with others.
Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer before you settle with ICBC or agree to sign any reimbursement agreements with a private insurance company. We offer a free legal consultation for people injured in motor vehicle accidents in BC. We always work for the injured, never ICBC or any other insurance company.