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Minor Injuries Under The New ICBC Rules

May 21 2019

Earlier we wrote that ICBC will be introducing new legislation that can cap personal injury payouts. As of April 1, 2019, BC residents entered a new era when it comes to claims for injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents.

Through legislation, the provincial government and ICBC are limiting the rights of victims of accidents by establishing a payment cap on the amount a person is entitled to receive for “pain and suffering” arising from any motor vehicle accident where the injuries are deemed to be “minor”.

Defining Minor Injuries

At first glance, this appears to be straightforward and reasonable. However, what constitutes a “minor injury” has been defined by ICBC and the government is including many types of injuries that are anything but minor and can have a lifelong impact on the lives of accident victims.

  • For example, a concussion is deemed to be a minor injury if it does not result in a period of disability for a certain or predetermined length of time.
  • Similarly, ligament and muscle tears are considered minor unless the tear is “total”. Using this formula, a 99 percent labral tear in the hip – which most doctors would agree is a serious injury – would be considered “minor” under the new definition.

Civil Resolution Tribunal

One of the major thrusts of this new legislation is that all claims where ICBC considers injuries to be minor now must be brought under the authority of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) – a quasi-judicial body that was initially created to resolve strata disputes.

The CRT is not well-equipped to handle bodily injury claims but it has nevertheless been directed to do so. There are other concerns as well, including the fact that it is grossly understaffed to handle these potential claims. More importantly, the government has mandated that the use of expert evidence before the CRT is limited both in number and cost.

The website of the CRT suggests that the process for submitting a claim is simple and user-friendly. The fact is it is only simple and user-friendly if an accident victim intends to accept that his or her injuries are minor. If there is disagreement around this, the system is far from user-friendly because CRT resolution mechanisms are complicated, cumbersome and biased against most motor vehicle accident victims.

New Deadlines Imposed

There are a number of important deadlines which claimants must now adhere to in order to keep any possible claim alive and out of the “minor injury” designation.

  • For example, an injured person must seek medical attention early and often in order to avoid the risk of being deemed a minor injury.
  • Similarly, if a person fails to follow all the medical advice given, his or her claim – no matter how serious – may be defaulted into the minor injury category.

If you were injured in an accident after April 1, 2019, consider consulting with an RDM personal injury lawyer who can tell you whether you can navigate the CRT process on your own or whether you should be engaging a legal services to assist you in fighting against the minor injury designation.

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