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 benefits are available for all British Columbians injured in a crash, whether or not they were at fault.
Highlights of the changes include:
Your overall allowance for medical care and recovery costs will be doubled to $300,000. The government has announced that this benefit will be retroactive to January 1, 2018, once legislation and regulation are in place.
ICBC will pay more money per treatment so you aren't out of pocket.
More types of treatments will be covered. New treatments added include kinesiology, acupuncture, counselling and massage therapy.
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.
The full suite of enhanced benefits are on track to take effect April 1, 2019.
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.
The limit does
not apply to major and catastrophic injuries.
The limit is separate from any treatment or benefits required for recovery.
Drivers will have an option to purchase additional coverage with a higher limit in pain and suffering compensation.
What's a minor injury?
Broken bones and brain injuries 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.
A medical professional – not ICBC – will diagnose your injury and this will determine whether it is minor or not.
New dispute resolution process
If you have concerns about your minor injury claim, there will be a new, independent dispute resolution process starting April 1, 2019. The
Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will make decisions on the following matters where there is disagreement between the customer and ICBC:
classification of an injury as minor injury
entitlement to receive accident benefits claimed
decisions around who is at-fault in the crash and settlement amounts for all motor vehicle injury claims below a threshold that will not exceed $50,000.
Independent from ICBC, the CRT already 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.
However, legislation in the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act clearly states customers retain the right to hire a lawyer for motor vehicle claims. And decisions made by the CRT can be reviewed by the Supreme Court of B.C.
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.
These changes are on track to take full effect on April 1, 2019.
Auto insurance in B.C.: What's changing? (factsheet)