Focusing on care

Improving the care for anyone who is injured in a crash is our top priority.

That's why we're making changes that help customers get the care and support they need to get better. By taking steps to reduce legal costs we'll be able to increase accident benefits, giving you more choice and better access to care.

 

 
 



Increased care for injured customers

ICBC Accident Benefits are included in your Basic insurance and are there to support your recovery if you get injured in a crash. Accident Benefits cover things like rehabilitation treatments, prescriptions, ambulance rides, medical equipment, and loss of wages while unable to work. We’re putting funds back into accident benefits to help customers get the care they need after an injury.

The benefits are available for all British Columbians injured in a crash, whether or not they were responsible.

The increase to your overall medical care and recovery allowance took effect in January 2018, while the rest of the changes are in effect as of April 1, 2019.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • More money per treatment so you shouldn't be out of pocket.
  • More types of treatments are covered, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, clinical counselling, kinesiology, registered massage therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and visits to your doctor.
  • Wage loss payments while injured and unable to work more than double, up from a maximum of $300 per week to a maximum of $740 per week.
  • $1,000 in new coverage for necessary medical supplies and services, which were not previously covered, such as naturopathic treatments, foam rollers, and compression stockings.
  • Homemaking benefits to assist with household tasks such as cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping increase from $145 per week to $280 per week – a 93 per cent increase.
  • Funeral benefits increase from $2,500 to $7,500 – a 200 per cent increase.
  • Death benefits, which include payments to surviving family members, increase from approximately $18,000 to $30,000 – a 67 per cent increase.

 

How your benefits increase


Reducing legal costs

A limit (of up to $5,500) on pain and suffering payouts for minor injuries is in effect as of April 1, 2019, on any new claims.

  • The limit does not apply to major and catastrophic injuries.

  • The limit is separate from any treatment or benefits required for recovery.                                   

What's a minor injury?

A medical professional – not ICBC – will diagnose your injury and this will be used to assess whether it is minor or not, based on the minor injury definition found in the regulations.

B.C’s minor injury definition includes sprains, strains, general aches and pains, cuts, bruises, road rash, minor whiplash, persistent pain, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) (pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement), mild concussions and short term mental health conditions.

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, you're unable to care for yourself — it will no longer be subject to the limit on pain and suffering. In the case of concussions or mental health conditions, there will be no limit on pain and suffering if there is a significant impact beyond four months.

Minor injury and your compensation

The definition of a minor injury only applies to your compensation for pain and suffering – the payment recognizing the inconvenience and emotional distress of being in a crash. It’s just one part of your claim and is totally separate from your medical treatments and benefits to help you get better.

 

More consistent care plans

Treatment guidelines for examination, assessment, diagnosis and treatment of minor injuries have also been developed in consultation with health care professionals. These guidelines help to ensure more consistent care and support for people who are injured in a crash.

The guidelines also introduce a new role to help support your treating doctor. Registered care advisors will be available to provide independent advice to your doctor if you are not recovering as expected.


New dispute resolution process

If you have concerns about your injury claim, you have a new, independent dispute resolution option for crashes occurring on or after April 1, 2019. The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) will make decisions on the following matters where there is disagreement between the customer and ICBC:

  • The determination that an injury is a minor injury or not

  • The entitlement to receive accident benefits claimed

  • Decisions around who is responsible for the crash

  • Settlement amounts for all injury claims below $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 reduce the reliance on the courts.

The right to hire a lawyer

Customers can still hire a lawyer for motor vehicle claims if they wish. Decisions made by the CRT can be referred to the Supreme Court of B.C. for judicial review.  

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.

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 to help all customers recover from injuries.