If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and your injuries prevent you from working, you may have a claim against ICBC for repayment of your lost wages. As discussed in a previous blog post on ICBC wage loss claims, there are 2 aspects of a wage loss claim that you may be entitled to make from ICBC. First, there is a claim for total temporary disability benefits (TTD benefits) which are payable to you under your Part 7 benefits while you remain unable to work. Second, there is a claim for your lost wages which forms part of your claim for compensation which is payable at the end of your claim by way of settlement or trial.
Anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia will generally be entitled to a claim for Part 7 benefits from ICBC. In addition to TTD benefits, Part 7 benefits also provide funding for certain medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses and homemaking benefits.
The Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation sets out the details of eligibility and ICBC’s responsibility to pay Part 7 benefits including TTD benefits.
ICBC is required to pay TTD benefits to an injured claimant if he or she is eligible. To qualify for TTD benefits:
- an injured claimant must be unable to work in his or her own job within the initial 20 days after the motor vehicle accident
- an injured claimant’s inability to work must be due to the motor vehicle accident as confirmed by a treating doctor
- an injured claimant must have either been actively employed at the time of the collision or must have worked at least 6 months of the preceding year before the motor vehicle accident
Other important facts about TTD benefits include:
- TTD benefits are not payable for the first 7 days after the motor vehicle accident (7 day waiting period)
- TTD benefits are payable if the injured claimant is unable to work in her or her job for 2 years after the motor vehicle accident
- If an injured claimant is unable to work in their own job for longer than 2 years after a motor vehicle accident, TTD benefits continue to be payable beyond the 2 year mark if he or she cannot do any job that they are suited for based on a consideration of age, education and experience
- If an injured claimant is unable to work in their own job for longer than 2 years after a motor vehicle accident, then he or she is required by ICBC to apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits (CCP)
- If an injured claimant is found eligible to receive CPP Disability Benefits after receiving TTD benefits for 2 years, then if the CPP Disability Benefits are more than what is payable under TTD Benefits, then TTD benefits are no longer payable
- If an injured claimant is found eligible to receive CPP Disability Benefits after receiving TTD benefits for 2 years, then if the CPP Disability Benefits are less than what is payable under TTD Benefits, then TTD benefits will be payable to top up the total benefits received to the maximum payable under TTD benefits
- TTD benefits are only payable if an injured claimant does not have any other sources of disability available such as from EI Sickness Benefits, short term disability or long term disability. Accordingly, an injured claimant will often be required to apply for disability elsewhere first and once this has been exhausted, ICBC will then pay TTD benefits. However, if the other disability benefits are less than what would be payable under TTD benefits, then ICBC is responsible for “topping up” the total benefits to what would be payable for TTD benefits
- TTD benefits are not payable past age 65
- If an injured claimant returns to work after receiving TTD benefits and then becomes unable to work again, TTD benefits can be reinstated
On April 1, 2019, funding for Part 7 benefits was increased for the first time in decades which was a very overdue and welcomed change. See our previous blog post summarizing the new changes to ICBC Part 7 rehabilitation benefits which provides more funding for treatment.
As it relates to TTD benefits, the amount an injured claimant is entitled to received is calculated according to a formula and the total amount will depend on when the motor vehicle accident occurred. For instance:
- TTD benefits are calculated according to the injured claimant’s previous 12 months of gross earnings prior to the motor vehicle accident to determine the average weekly gross earnings amount
- For motor vehicle accidents occurring before April 1, 2019, the maximum amount payable by ICBC for TTD benefits is 75% of the average gross weekly earnings to a maximum of $300/week
- For motor vehicle accident occurring after April 1, 2019, the maximum amount payable by ICBC for TTD benefits is 75% of the average gross weekly earnings to a maximum of $740/week
It is interesting and very concerning that the NDP increased funding for rehabilitation expenses relating to treatment (physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, acupuncture, counseling and occupational therapy) for all claims regardless of when the accident occurred. For TTD benefits, however, this blanket increase was not provided leaving injured claimants with insufficient TTD disability benefits to a maximum of $300/week if their motor vehicle accident occurred prior to April 1, 2019. This is clearly an intentional failing of the NDP and ICBC to recognize the importance of providing TTD benefits in an amount to allow injured claimants to survive financially when they are disabled from working due to a motor vehicle accident.