The growth of auto insurance giant ICBC has come at greater cost than just higher car insurance premiums. It has meant losing patient rights and control over access to proper medical care. Innocent victims of personal injury can expect less medical coverage after April 1, 2019, especially if they have been paying for the benefit of private insurance. Although benefit amounts will be increased, the overall payout will be much less.
Profound changes to the rights of injury victims pronounced by the NDP coalition government in June and November, 2018 will mean if British Columbians are injured by bad drivers, the government insurance company can dictate access to medical care and ICBC can refuse to pay the actual cost of treatment.
The NDP coalition government changed the Insurance (Vehicle) Act to limit the liability of bad drivers for health care costs of their victims. Starting April 1, 2019 an innocent auto injury victim may not recover, for a health care loss, an amount that exceeds the health care loss under a pre-set regulation.
After April 1, 2019 in civil proceedings relating to an injury, the burden of proof that the injury is not a minor injury is on the injury victim alleging that it is not a minor injury. The government is essentially setting up claimants to have their claims for pain and suffering limited to $5,500.00 by the new ICBC minor injury cap.
The law creates a fiction that injuries such as concussion and whiplash are minor in nature, in a misguided effort to reduce insurance premiums. If allowed to stand the law will develop in marked departure from modern medicine and scientific investigation. All injuries will be deemed minor for only those injured by a motor vehicle in British Columbia after April 1, 2019.
The doublespeak used in the legislation creates a new health care professional in British Columbia to help ICBC deny claims, the Registered Care Advisors. This insurance adjuster/healthcare professional will make a written report to a referring physician about the diagnosis or treatment of the patient’s injury within 10 days after the date the registered care advisor assesses the patient’s injury. This has huge potential for abuse by ICBC insurance adjusters.
Starting April 1, 2019 ICBC insurance adjusters will be denying all injury claims as minor injuries unless a claimant can prove otherwise. The approval and payment of medical treatment will become more difficult for the injured.
Many deserving claimants will be getting letters from ICBC indicating that their injuries are minor and as such are limited by the Minor Injury Regulations. For car accidents after April 1, 2019, $5,500 will be the compensation limit for pain and suffering in minor injury claims. Expect ICBC to offer even less.
If you receive a letter from ICBC stating your injury is minor under the Minor Injury Regulations, call a personal injury lawyer right away. The new law has been set up to make these claims even more time sensitive, so getting a free legal consultation could mean the difference between winning and losing your injury claim.
Before signing a medical authorisation for ICBC speak to a lawyer and watch our short video: