As of April 1, 2019, if you are injured in a motor vehicle accident, depending on the nature of your injuries you may be subject to the new ICBC injury claim cap on minor injuries. The following are some frequently asked questions about the new minor injury cap.
If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident after April 1, 2019, there is no down side to getting some advice from an experience personal injury lawyer about whether the minor injury cap applies to you and what that means.
Learn more about our Personal Injury & ICBC Claims lawyers.
When does the new “cap” legislation take effect?
The “cap” takes effect as of April 1, 2019. From that point on, certain claims will be classified as “minor,” which are then subject to a cap of $5,500 on damages for pain and suffering. Other aspects of the claim may still be compensated in full. The changes are many, and therefore, it is strongly recommended legal advice is obtained following a motor vehicle accident.
What is the ICBC “minor injury” cap?
For all motor vehicle accidents that occur on April 1, 2019 or later, the Provincial Government has severely limited the rights of most people who are injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia. For accidents that occur after that date, the non-pecuniary damages portion (pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life) for “minor injury” claims is capped at a maximum of $5,500.
The definition of a “minor injury” in the new law is extremely complex, but may include many types of muscle and joint injuries, concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries, jaw injuries, headaches, chronic pain disorders, as well as serious psychological conditions such as PTSD and depression. It is by far the most restrictive and complicated definition of “minor injury” in Canada.
For the average person with an injury, it will be very difficult to accurately determine whether your injury is “minor” according to the legal definition. In many cases, it may take two years or more before that can be properly determined. However, there are important deadlines which can limit or even completely eliminate your claim if certain steps are not taken earlier. Now more than ever, it is crucial to get timely legal advice about your rights and how to protect them before it’s too late.
Who decides whether my injury is “minor”? Does ICBC get to decide?
The new Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) has the power to determine whether an injury is “minor” or not. Even if ICBC tells you that your injury is “minor”, you have the right to challenge that at the CRT. If you can successfully prove that your injury does not fall within the definition of a “minor” injury, you can then bring your claim to Supreme Court to seek full compensation for your injuries and their impacts on your life. To prove that your injury is not “minor”, you will likely need to provide evidence from medical experts. The CRT is a new process with a complex set of rules and procedures, including short time limits and rules about the expert evidence that you can use. Our experienced personal injury lawyers can help you navigate that process and maximize your success at the CRT.
If my injury is not “minor” can I get full compensation for my injuries?
Yes, in most cases. If your injury is determined to be non-minor, you will likely be entitled to full compensation for your injuries without a cap on your non-pecuniary damages. The amount will be determined by considering the unique facts of your injuries and your life. However, if you don’t follow certain treatment protocols set by the government, even non-minor injuries can be deemed “minor” and subjected to the $5,500 cap.
If my accident happened before April 1, 2019, does the “minor injury” cap apply to me?
No, the “minor injury” cap only applies to cases where the accident happened on or after April 1, 2019. If you were injured in an accident before that date, you are entitled to seek full compensation for your injuries. Experienced legal advice is important to ensure that you are properly compensated for all aspects of your claim, including your past and future losses. Call our personal injury team for a free, no-obligation consultation to find out your rights and how to protect them.