What Types of ICBC Claims Are Available to You?
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, you may be overwhelmed with not only your own injuries and rehabilitation, but also with figuring out how to deal with ICBC. You are likely wondering what types of claims you can make against ICBC, how to apply for those claims and what exactly you are entitled to.
The ICBC claims process is a complicated and difficult one. ICBC is not required to explain the process to you and they are not required to provide you with all of the information you need.
The first step is understanding what claims you are entitled to make against ICBC. Generally, injured claimants who have suffered injuries in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia will have 2 types of claims available to them from ICBC: a claim for part 7 benefits and a claim for compensation (tort claim).
PART 7 BENEFITS
Generally, anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia will be entitled to Part 7 Benefits from ICBC. First, you must be considered an “insured” according to the law in order to be entitled to these benefits. An “insured” is defined as:
- a person who is the registered owner of a vehicle in British Columbia
- a person who lives in a household with a person who is a registered owner of a vehicle in British Columbia
- a passenger in a vehicle licenced in British Columbia
- a cyclist or a pedestrian who collided with a vehicle licenced in British Columbia
If eligible, there are different types of Part 7 Benefits available.
Total temporary disability benefits (known as TTD Benefits) are wage replacement benefits if you are unable to work due to your injuries. If the motor vehicle accident occurred before April 1, 2019, then the maximum amount payable by ICBC per week is 75% of the injured claimant’s gross average weekly income (calculated according to earnings in the year before the collision) to a maximum of $300 per week. If the motor vehicle accident occurred on or after April 1, 2019, then the maximum payable by ICBC per week is 75% of the injured claimant’s gross average weekly income (calculated according to earnings in the year before the collision) to a maximum of $740 per week. To qualify, the injured claimant must have either been employed at the time of the motor vehicle accident or he/she must have been employed for at least 6 months in the year before the collision.
Homemaker disability benefits are available to homemakers who are unable to regularly perform most (more than 50%) of the household tasks they were previously responsible for doing themselves. ICBC will provide funding for hiring a housekeeping company to attend your house and perform work for you at a maximum cost of $280/week.
Medical benefits relate to medical expenses for treatment and prescriptions. ICBC must provide funding if the medical expenses are “reasonable and necessary”. ICBC is only required to provide funding for certain types of treatments and there are maximum rates for each:
- acupuncture ($88/session)
- chiropractic treatments ($53/session)
- counseling with a clinical counselor ($120/session)
- counselling with a registered psychologist ($195/session)
- kinesiology/active rehabilitation ($78/session)
- massage therapy ($80/session)
- physiotherapy ($79/session)
- occupational therapy ($112/hour).
Rehabilitation benefits relate to treatments that are “likely to promote the rehabilitation” of an injured claimant. Unlike medical benefits that are mandatory and which ICBC must pay as long as they are reasonable and necessary, ICBC “may” pay for rehabilitation expenses. This is because the decision to approve funding is entirely within the discretion of the ICBC adjuster assigned to your claim. Examples of rehabilitation benefits include home alterations and accessories.
DAMAGES/COMPENSATION (TORT CLAIM)
The second type of ICBC claim is known as a Tort Claim. This claim compensates an injured claimant for his/her injuries and losses as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
Injured claimants who are not at fault for an accident are entitled to claim compensation. In essence, this is a claim in negligence made against the at fault driver who caused the motor vehicle accident.
There are different types of damages that may be claimed depending on the injured claimant’s injuries and losses.
Pain and suffering (non-pecuniary damages) compensates an injured claimant for the types of injuries suffered and the impact those injuries have had on their lives.
Past wage loss compensates an injured claimant for any time off work and loss of income suffered in the “past” from the date of the motor vehicle accident until settlement or trial.
Future wage loss / future loss of earning capacity compensates an injured claimant for anticipated income loss suffered into the future past the date of settlement or trial.
Loss of housekeeping capacity compensates an injured claimant for the loss of ability to perform household chores.
Future care costs compensates an injured claimant for anticipated medical and treatment costs into the future.
Special damages compensates an injured claimant for out of pocket expenses incurred relating to injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident.
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