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Last updated Wednesday, Oct 31, 2018 04:39 PM

Focusing on care, not legal costs

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, instead of cash settlements as compensation. 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 at fault.

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

Highlights of the changes include:

  • ICBC will pay more money per treatment so you shouldn't be out of pocket.
  • More types of treatments will be covered, including acupuncture, chiropractic care, counselling, kinesiology, massage therapy, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and visits to your doctor.
  • Wage loss payments while injured and unable to work will 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, will increase from $145 per week to $280 per week – a 93 per cent increase.
  • Funeral benefits will increase from $2,500 to $7,500 – a 200 per cent increase.
  • Death benefits, which include payments to surviving family members, will increase from approximately $18,000 to $30,000 – a 67 per cent increase.

 

How your benefits are increasing


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, 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 determine whether it is minor or not.

B.C’s minor injury definition will include sprains, strains, general aches and pains, cuts, bruises, road rash, minor whiplash, 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, 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:

  • The determination that an injury is a minor injury.

  • The entitlement to receive accident benefits claimed.

  • Decisions around who is at-fault in the crash and 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 can 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 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.

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.