When ICBC pays for injuries, the worth or value of the claim is determined by judges following accepted values of justice and fairness. However, After April 1, 2019 there will be a government-imposed injury cap of $5,500 and the auto Insurance monopoly, ICBC, will be handed over the power to deny claims as Minor Injuries. These claimants will be denied proper access to legal supports and services in an inadequate and untested tribunal system.
When ICBC makes an offer to settle the first offer often reflects the assessment of their absolute best day in court. Do not be surprised if ICBC claims that your life altering injury is minor and sends you a letter offering to pay $5,500.00 for your pain and suffering. This makes it difficult to determine how much your ICBC claim is really worth.
Pushing back by giving the ICBC lawyer examples of cases in which the court awarded a much higher amount for a similar injury profile can make the difference between winning and losing.
An offer of settlement after a car accident should be assessed by comparative analysis of the facts and the current relevant case law and legislation.
The following are four $45,000 pain and suffering car accident personal injury cases:
Nagra v. Stapleton,2017 BCSC 2225($45,000)- The claimant was 62 years of age and suffered mild to moderate soft tissue injuries. The interference of work was not significant. He continued to experience some symptoms from the accident but he continued to do the work he did prior to the accident. His injuries were temporary in nature and in the ICBC cap system he may only be offered $5,500.00.
Haroon v. Basran, 2015 BCSC 794 ($45,000)- a personal injury case involving a 27-year-old woman who sustained soft tissue injuries to her neck, back, shoulder and hip in which ICBC will want to impose the minor injury cap of $5,500.00 after April 1, 2019. Her cervical and mid-back soft-tissue injuries resolved before trial but she had ongoing lower back pain with occasional sciatic pain in her legs.
In Romanchych v. Vallianatos, 2009 BCSC 669 ($45,000), following a car accident the claimant complained of neck and shoulder pain as well as headaches and persistent jaw pain. She was diagnosed with chronic temporomandibular disorder and TMJ pain. The court found that the claimant’s symptoms had improved but had not resolved, and accepted that the injuries were chronic and would continue to affect her permanently. She was awarded non-pecuniary damages in the amount of $45,000. Note this is in 2009 dollars and in the injury cap system ICBC will try to limit this claim to $5,500 for pain and suffering.
Jones v. McLerie, 2016 BCSC 763 – The claimant was 36 years old as of trial, married with young children; pre-accident, he worked doing maintenance and repairs on forklifts; following the accident, he worked as a field technician for a forklift distributor; his injuries resulted in persistent episodes of low back pain with exertion; prognosis for full recovery was poor; non-pecuniary damages of $45,000 awarded.
A reasonable offer of settlement will consider the unique factors of a case including: age, nature of the injury, severity and duration of pain, disability, emotional suffering, loss or impairment of life, impairment of family, marital and social relationships, impairment of physical and mental abilities, loss of lifestyle, the claimant’s stoicism, and, after April 1, 2019, whether the claim may be arbitrarily capped by government legislation.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.– Serving the injured in BC since 1995.