Is There a Cap on Personal Injury Compensation From ICBC?
For years, there has been no cap on personal injury compensation for ICBC claims. Without limits, the victims of accident injuries had the opportunity to recover the compensation they deserved. In recent years the ICBC has pressured the government to adopt damage caps. The ICBC claimed the lack of limits allowed for exorbitant claims that were bankrupting the provincial government. This led to the current cap on personal injury compensation from the ICBC.
Thankfully, there are some ways around these caps. This is especially true if your injuries are significant. The ICBC will fight any effort to recover compensation above these caps. To protect your legal rights, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
Current ICBC personal injury limits
Since April 1, 2019, provincial law has set a maximum cap of $5,500 involving claims for pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, or loss of dignity resulting from a minor injury. There are two important things to understand about these limits.
First, these limits apply to non-pecuniary losses only. This is important, as limits on pecuniary losses could leave you with significant out of pocket costs. A common example of pecuniary losses includes vehicle repair costs. These differ from non-pecuniary losses. Non-pecuniary losses are the subjective losses that cannot be measured objectively. The $5,500 cap applies to these damages only.
Second, this cap only applies to damages resulting from minor injuries. If you or your ICBC law firm can establish that your injuries are not minor, you could avoid the damages cap entirely. But what constitutes minor injuries?
Minor injuries defined
The term “minor injuries” covers a wide array of conditions that could result from a car accident. Everyone deals with pain differently, so it is important to realize that what seems like a major injury to you could qualify as minor for the purposes of ICBC claims. Some injuries that could be considered minor include:
- Dull aches and pain
- Cuts and bruises
- Minor road rash
- Sprains and strains
- Jaw pain, including temporomandibular joint disorder
- Minor neck injuries
- Mild concussions
- Short-term mental health damage
Remember, your feeling about the severity of your injuries will not be taken into account. A medical professional will review your injuries and make the determination if your condition is minor or not. Should the doctor determine your injuries are minor, the cap will apply to your recovery.
Understanding serious injuries
The injuries that will not apply under the cap include anything long-term or permanent consequences. Any injury that leads to permanent serious disfigurement would apply. This could include major scarring or the loss of use of an organ or body part.
An injury that causes serious impairment could qualify if it does not resolve itself in the short term. Any physical or mental condition that causes serious impairment could avoid the non-pecuniary damage cap if it lasts more than 12 months. These conditions commonly involve the inability to return to work or meet your day-to-day needs.
The Civil Resolution Tribunal
Under the current law, claims for injuries that are deemed minor are taken up by the Civil Resolution Tribunal. This tribunal was intended to resolve small claims disputes through an online process. This process offers you limited options for disputing your claim decision. You do not have the opportunity for a hearing in-person, as the process occurs via email.
Let a lawyer protect your rights
While these caps can be frustrating, the right law firm could help protect your rights during the claims process. Preszler Injury Lawyers has a proud history of advocating for the injured, and we look forward to discussing your claim with you in person. To schedule a free consultation, contact Preszler Injury Lawyers as soon as possible.