Can I Get an ICBC Settlement If I Only Have Minor Injuries?
Yes, if you are involved in an automobile accident in British Columbia, and you suffer an injury, you are eligible to collect a settlement from ICBC. Most claims fall under the jurisdiction of “minor” since new definitions went into effect April 1, 2019, including a cap on “pain and suffering” damages for minor accidents. If you have questions about pursuing an ICBC claim after an accident, speak with a knowledgeable ICBC lawyer to get all the information you need to decide on next steps.
What Are “Minor” ICBC Injuries?
According to ICBC, a “minor” injury includes:
- Abrasions, cuts, lacerations, and scrapes
- Bruises or contusions
- General aches and pains
- Road rashes
- Short-term psychological impairment
- Sprains or strains
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
- Whiplash injury or whiplash associated disorder
If your injury is more severe than any of the above conditions, make sure to fully document your diagnosis and treatment, and follow your doctor’s recommended recovery plan. All too often, an auto accident victim returns to work prematurely, while still injured, because he or she cannot afford to lose the income over an extended period of time. This might allow an ICBC claims representative to argue that your injuries are “minor” because you were able to return to work ahead of schedule.
Are You Seriously Impaired?
Minor injuries are in contrast to “serious” injuries, which “could potentially lead to death, prolonged disability or permanently diminished quality of life.” Serious injuries include broken bones, spinal cord damage, loss of limb function, and severe soft tissue damage that leads to impairment of daily function.
ICBC considers “serious impairment” as:
- A “substantial inability” to perform “essential” work or school activities and daily tasks.
- The “primary cause” of the impairment was the accident.
- “Ongoing” impairment.
- No expectation of “substantial improvement.”
These terms are vague and subject to legal wrangling. What is “substantial” with regard to work or study? Which tasks are “essential” to daily life? What if the accident exacerbates a pre-existing condition? Does “ongoing” impairment mean a consistent level of pain 24/7? Where is the line drawn between “some improvement” and “substantial improvement”? An experienced lawyer can help you to definitively establish your true level of impairment so that you receive full and fair ICBC compensation.
Who Decides Whether Injuries Are Minor or Serious?
An independent medical professional will be in charge of determining whether your injury is minor or not. Sometimes injuries are determined “minor” at first and get re-classified after 12 months of sustained impairment. Traumatic Brain Injuries, internal bleeding, and soft tissue damage can worsen over time if not promptly diagnosed and treated, for instance. Mental health conditions that cause significant impairment beyond 16 weeks are considered major. If you cannot go back to school or work, or care for yourself, your injuries may exceed the standard payment limits.
How Much Is A Minor ICBC Claim Worth?
For minor motor vehicle accidents in British Columbia, you can collect:
- Up to $300,000 for medical care and recovery (hospital, doctor visits, counselling, massage, chiropractic)
- Up to $740 per week for lost wages
- Up to $5,500 for pain and suffering
How Can I Maximize My ICBC Settlement?
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we can review your case and advise you about all the legal options available. We can help you get to the best doctor for your particular injuries. If necessary, we can help you step outside ICBC to file a claim against a liable driver’s Basic Autoplan third-party liability coverage, which can provide another $200,000 to $1 million toward your long-term medical expenses and lost wages.
We can instruct you on working within your own Basic Autoplan policy to receive up to $150,000 for all reasonable and necessary expenses incurred for medical treatment and lost wages (if you are off for more than a week). You can draw off your own policy if the other driver was uninsured, underinsured, or unidentified.
Even if you think your injuries are minor, an ICBC lawyer can help you maximize your claim amount. If you are suffering from chronic pain and disability but ICBC disputes it, we’ll bring in experts to testify on your behalf and ensure your injuries are correctly classified. As your advocate, our experienced firm will help you estimate future expenses and negotiate a fair settlement from the ICBC.