What does minor injury mean? The ICBC definition only relates to car accidents after April 1, 2019. This stipulative definition captures almost all serious auto injuries.

Yes, ICBC defines most serious auto injuries as minor . Find out how ICBC pays less money for those injuries under the Minor Injury Regulations.

ICBC adjusters have no legal duty to explain or define this term. However, adjusters have the power to apply minor injury to your case. If applied, your claim will be severely limited.

Here is what you need to know to protect yourself from ICBC:

Application of Term “Minor Injury”

The definition applies to all auto accidents: pedestrians; cyclists; passengers; and innocent drivers. The ICBC Minor Injuries definition does not apply to accidents before April 1, 2019.

ICBC assumes all injuries are minor. It is the responsibility of the claimant to prove an injury is serious. Therefore, understanding the meaning will prevent low, unfair compensation.

The Insurance (Vehicle) Act and Minor Injury Regulations contain the legislative definition.

Summary: Definition applies to all auto injuries after April 1, 2019.

Cap on Pain and Suffering

What is the Minor Injury Cap? This is a financial limit on claims for general damages. This definition therefore limits pain and suffering claims. However, this is not a limit on wage loss.

ICBC will likely define most injuries as “minor” after April 1, 2019. That’s because the law only requires ICBC is to pay $5,500 max for pain and suffering.

A formula set out in legislation determines the limit annually. Therefore, beginning on April 1, 2020 the ICBC injury cap on pain and suffering will slightly increase.

Summary: $5,500 limit on claims for pain and suffering.

When “Minor Injury” Does Not Apply

Serious impairment, incapacity, and permanent disfigurement are excluded. Serious impairment can be from work, school or daily activities. The injury must cause serious impairment for at least 12 months after the accident.

The impairment must therefore create substantial inability. Inability to perform employment, schooling, or daily living.

There must be efforts to accommodate the impairment. However, it may not be reasonable for an employer or school to accommodate. Also, efforts must be made to continue employment, schooling or daily living.

The accident has to be the primarily cause of the serious impairment. The impairment has to be ongoing since the accident.

In addition, there can be no expected substantially improvement.

A *concussion,psychological or psychiatric condition that results in an incapacity for more than 16 weeks is not a minor injury under the Injury Regulations.

Summary: Does not include impairment for longer than 12 months, incapacity, and permanent disfigurement .

List of ICBC Minor Injuries

Defining this term by listing the prescribed injuries is not complete. However, the following injuries that do not result in a serious impairment,
incapacity, or permanent disfigurement are considered by ICBC as minor injury:

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.

If You Don’t Follow Treatment

An injury might be called minor simply because you fail to attend treatment.

Also, an injury is considered minor if you fail to seek a diagnosis. As a result, ICBC will limit and cap your injury if you have not seen a doctor.

Therefore, if recommended treatment is not followed a serious injury will still be considered minor. However, there are exceptions if treatment would not have helped.

Summary: No doctor or treatment, an injury will be defined as minor.

Get legal advice for auto injuries as early as possible. We offer free legal advice and affordable legal services. Learn more about the ICBC injury caps 2019.


  1. I was rearended with my 85 yr old mom in the car, she has whiplash and I have a cluster of soft tissue and jaw, and eye pain, headaches. It took place 6 weeks ago and I am still in pain. I like to swim and I can’t now. I lost my job and likely won’t be able to work in the field again. The car was written off. At the time of this accident my license which was a temp. one was expired. I was given a Class 5 in Victoria at Motor Vehicles, I live in Duncan and so upon going into the BCACCESS centre they took my Class 5 away and gave me a learner’s lisense.

    • If the injury continues to seriously impair your ability to work and play for more than 12 months following the injury, your injury will not be considered a minor injury. The ICBC minor injury cap does not apply to soft tissue injury that results in serious impairment of work, school or daily living for more than 12 months.

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