Types of Accidents
Motor Vehicle Accidents
If you are driving a motor vehicle and you are involved in a collision with another motor vehicle, then it must be determined which driver was at fault (negligent). If you are injured, then you must prove that the other driver was at fault in order for you to pursue your injury claim because the claim is made against the negligent driver and his/her insurance. Therefore, if the other driver was driving a motor vehicle with British Columbia licence plates, then the auto insurer is ICBC and ICBC will be defending the negligent driver against your injury claim.
Pedestrians have a duty to take reasonable care for their safety and to obey traffic laws.
Who has the right of way and priority, as well as who is visible, are common legal issues in a motor vehicle accident involving a pedestrian and a vehicle which make these types of claims challenging. Pedestrians are vulnerable to suffering significant injuries in a motor vehicle accident. Commonly, pedestrians will suffer concussions, spinal cord injuries and fractures due to trauma from the impact with a motor vehicle.
Accidents involving bicycles and a motor vehicles commonly occur when one is not visible to the other when turning or changing lanes. In Vancouver, in particular, accidents are commonly occurring due to a lack of knowledge of the new bike lanes and the traffic laws regarding these new lanes. When involved in an accident with a motor vehicle, cyclists are indefensible and will often suffer significant injuries including concussions, spinal cord injuries and fractures.
Like pedestrians and cyclists, motorcyclists are exposed serious injuries concussions, spinal cord injuries and fractures when involved in a collision with a vehicle. This is often because they travel at equal speed with vehicles and there is very little protection to the motorcyclist. Accidents often occur as a result when drivers do not properly share the road with motorcyclists, as well as when drivers are not paying adequate attention in seeing motorcyclists when turning or changing lanes.
If you are injured in a motor vehicle accident and you are not at fault for the collision, then you are entitled to compensation or “damages” for your injuries and any losses you suffer due to your injuries. There are different types and which ones you are entitled to make a claim for will depend on your circumstances, the nature of your injuries and the extent of your recovery.
Damages for pain and suffering compensate you for your pain and suffering and any loss of enjoyment of life as a result of the injuries suffered in the motor vehicle accident. The amount you are entitled to is determined through an examination of your circumstances and through precedent (past cases) which is what judges have awarded individuals in similar circumstances at trial.
Injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents occurring after April 1, 2019 may be limited to $5,500.00 for pain and suffering under the new minor injury caps if proper evidence is not provided.
Damages for past wage loss compensate you for any lost income resulting from missing time from work due to your injuries from the date of the accident until settlement or trial.
Loss of future earning capacity is a claim for lost opportunity to earn income into the future due to injuries from a motor vehicle accident. The loss of opportunity can arise because your injuries prevent you from working at all, from working full hours or from working in your own pre-accident occupation or other types of occupations that you were well suited for before the motor vehicle accident.
If the physical or psychological injury is considered permanent and ongoing future treatment is recommended by the medical experts as reasonable and medically necessary, you are entitled to compensation for future anticipated treatment costs.
Special damages compensate you for all out of pocket expenses you have incurred relating to your accident-related injuries. Such expenses will include user fees from therapy, medications and mileage.
Part 7 Benefits
If are injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia, you may be entitled to a claim for Part 7 Benefits from ICBC which are often referred to as Accident Benefits or No Fault Benefits.
Part 7 Benefits are considered “secondary” to other insurance schemes. This means that if you have other insurance that provides funding for the same items, then that other insurance is considered primary and is required to pay. Accordingly, ICBC can refuse payment on that basis and deny the claim for Part 7 benefits.
Part 7 Benefits are medical and rehabilitation benefits payable by ICBC regardless of whether you are at fault or not at fault for the accident. This is unlike the claim for compensation (damages) which is only available if you are not at fault. There are different types of Part 7 Benefits and which ones you are entitled to will depend on the nature of your injuries, rehabilitation needs and recommendations of your medical team.
Medical benefits relate to “reasonable”and “necessary”expenses for therapy and medication recommended by a physician. ICBC does not pay for the entire cost of these expenses, but rather it provides partial funding. Examples of medical benefits include prescriptions, physiotherapy, active rehabilitation, chiropractic treatment and massage therapy.
Rehabilitation expenses include a variety of services and items that a doctor considers necessary and “likely to promote the rehabilitation”of your motor vehicle accident related injuries. Examples include home alterations, wheelchairs, transfer aids and home care.
Disability benefits, which are called Temporary Total Disability Benefits or TTD Benefits, are available if you are injured and your injuries prevent you from working. There are stringent eligibility requirements imposed by ICBC before these benefits are payable including when your disability starts, how long its lasts for, your employment status and your earnings in the previous year.
Homemaker disability benefits provide funding for the cost of a housekeeper who is not a family member to full-time homemakers whose injuries prevent them from performing their usual housekeeping duties.