If your injury meets the definition of a minor injury, this will only impact the general damages portion of your claim settlement. General damages is the term for payments received to compensate you for such things as pain and suffering and the inability to perform certain activities.
Pain and suffering is the legal term for the payment you receive to compensate you for the inconvenience and emotional distress of being in a crash. This compensation does not affect the amount of care and treatment available to you. ICBC's recently improved Accident Benefits are available to anyone injured in a crash, regardless of who is responsible.
What is a minor injury?
B.C's minor injury definition includes:
- general aches and pains
- road rash
- persistent pain
- minor whiplash
- temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ (pain in your jaw joint and in the jaw muscles)
- mild concussions
- short-term mental health conditions.
A medical professional – not ICBC – will diagnose your injury, and this diagnosis will determine whether it is minor or not.
Minor injury and your compensation
The determination of an injury as minor only affects your compensation for pain and suffering. This is just one part of your claim and is separate from your medical treatments and benefits to help you recover.
The limit to pain and suffering payouts for minor injuries from a crash that happened between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, is $5,500. For a crash that happened between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, a limit of $5,627 will apply. For crashes on or after April 1, 2021, a limit of $5,672 will apply.
Your injury may have been determined to be minor after the crash, but if the injury causes serious impairment to your life for more than 12 months - for example, you're still not able to go to work or school, causes a substantial inability to work your regular hours or duties, or you're unable to care for yourself - it may no longer be considered minor and may not be subject to the payment limit.
In the case of concussions or mental health conditions, the limit on pain and suffering may not apply if there is incapacity beyond 16 weeks.
Talk to your ICBC claim representative about how your minor injury is affecting your day-to-day life.