Focusing on care, not legal costs
We are changing how injuries are treated and compensated by moving to a care-based model. Improving the care for anyone who is unfortunate enough to be injured in a crash is our priority.
That's why we're significantly increasing accident benefits to help those who are injured, while taking steps to reduce legal costs.
Together, these changes focus on providing timely treatment and support that customers need to get better, instead of cash settlements which attempt to estimate future needs.
Increased care for injured customers
Enhanced ICBC accident benefits will put funds back into treatment and recovery and provide better care after an injury.
The increased overall allowance for medical care and recovery costs is effective now, while the rest of the enhanced benefits will come into effect on April 1, 2019. The benefits are available for all British Columbians injured in a crash, whether or not they were at fault.
Highlights of the changes include:
Overall allowance for medical care and recovery costs will be doubled to $300,000. Effective now, these benefits are retroactive to January 1, 2018.
User fees for services such as physio or chiropractic treatment will be eliminated or significantly reduced.
More types of services will be covered, so customers won't have to pay out-of-pocket.
Wage loss payments while injured and unable to work will be more than doubled, up from $300 per week to $740 per week.
Other benefits such as home support, alternative therapy, funeral costs and death benefits are also increasing significantly.
Read full details of the benefits in the Enhanced accident benefits backgrounder on the B.C. government news release.
Reducing legal costs
A limit (of up to $5,500) on pain and suffering payouts for minor injuries will be introduced as of April 1, 2019.
Broken bones and brain injuries, including concussion, are
not considered minor injuries. And, if the injury impacts your life for more than 12 months - for example, you're still not able to go to work or school, have to modify your work hours or duties, or you're unable to care for yourself - it will no longer be considered minor.
In addition, disputes regarding certain injury claims will be directed to an independent dispute resolution system in B.C. The
Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), independent from ICBC, provides dispute resolution services in a manner that is accessible, speedy and economical. The CRT system can be easily used without the need for legal representation, and can reduce the reliance on the courts.
Learn more about how payouts on minor injuries are driving up costs and
why the limit is needed.
B.C. the last province to change
B.C. is the last province in Canada, without a no-fault system, that has not made a move to introduce limits on minor injury payouts. All other provinces have made these changes to their system to help lower claims costs and insurance rates, while improving care for those who are injured in crashes.
Our limit of $5,500 will be comparable with the rest of Canada. Alberta's limit is set just above $5,000. Both PEI and New Brunswick's are around $7,500, while Nova Scotia is close to $8,500.
A limit on pain and suffering payouts is a necessary control to help keep the cost of minor injury claims from escalating. The savings can be spent on better accident benefits, which will help all customers recover from injuries, and on making rates more affordable for all British Columbians.
We aim to implement these changes by April 2019.