For years, pain and suffering damages were a common part of small claims lawsuits in British Columbia. Even seemingly minor injuries often resulted in substantial awards. A steady increase in the amount of benefits paid out each year led to the provincial government to drastically reduce them. Now, the government places a firm cap on these damages in a minor injury claim.
You still have the potential to recover pain and suffering compensation from ICBC. However, the cap on it is substantial. What’s more, the process for avoiding that cap and having your day in court is far more complicated.
While the courts and insurance companies might consider your injuries minor, that does not mean their impact on your life should be ignored. At Preszler Law, we understand the effect that even minor injuries can have on your personal and professional life. Call today to discuss your case—we are a personal injury law firm.
What is a minor injury?
Before you can understand the process of recovering pain and suffering damages for a minor injury– it is helpful to know the definition. While it is somewhat subjective, there are guidelines, and they include:
It is possible for mental health injuries and concussions to fall outside of the cap on damages. If the symptoms from either of these last more than four months, the cap does not apply.
Ultimately, the determination on whether your injuries are minor or not falls to your doctor as opposed to the ICBC. They will diagnose as well as identify the appropriate treatment plan. Their decision determines whether the damages cap is in place or not.
Understanding caps on minor injury pain and suffering
The cap on these damages is low. In total, pain and suffering compensation for minor injuries is limited to $5,500 per claim. When it is filed, an injury victim or their car accident lawyer will negotiate with the ICBC over the value. However, obtaining more than $5,500 in pain and suffering damages is impossible.
If the two parties cannot agree on the amount, a lengthy administrative process could begin. First, the two parties must go before a Civil Resolution Tribunal. This independent review is designed to help the parties come to an agreement. They have tremendous flexibility in resolving these claims, often using e-mail and other technology to simplify it. In some cases, the tribunal will make use of a mediator to move negotiations along.
If mediation does not work, the final step for a tribunal is to enlist the help of a lawyer who serves as an arbitrator and will hear both sides make their case. At the end of the arbitration hearing, the lawyer will make a binding decision on how much pain and suffering damages are required– if any.
The arbitration does not mark the end of the process if you are not happy with the result. At that point, you are entitled to bring a lawsuit before the British Columbia Supreme Court to have them review the tribunal’s decision. In that case, the Supreme Court will have the final say.
How Preszler Law can help
We have experience taking on the ICBC and winning. We believe our clients are entitled to pain and suffering compensation and will work tirelessly to help them obtain it. If we believe the doctor wrongly labelled an injury as minor– we will take steps to remove the damage cap from the process.
We understand if you have questions about what comes next. That is why every consultation with us is free. If you are ready to pursue pain and suffering compensation for your injuries, call right away and schedule your free consultation.