How Does ICBC Decide How Much to Award an Injured Person?
For most drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, the first step after being in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia is to file an ICBC claim. It is important to know that you have several different options for filing a claim, which in turn can affect how much you may be awarded in benefits and other compensation.
The following provides a review of the different types of ICBC claims, how an ICBC claims adjuster makes a settlement decision, the types of damages available that may be included in a total settlement offer, and what to do if you disagree with an ICBC settlement offer.
What Are the Different Types of ICBC Claims?
If you have been injured in a car accident or other type of motor vehicle crash, you have two primary options for filing an ICBC accident claim:
1. No-Fault Accident Claims
The first option is a no-fault or Part 7 claim. No-fault benefits are paid through the mandatory Basic Autoplan insurance coverage that all drivers in British Columbia are required to carry. Passengers of vehicles who are insured in British Columbia are also eligible for Part 7 benefits, as are pedestrians and cyclists who are injured in accidents with B.C.-insured vehicles.
No-fault accident benefits help you pay for the medical and rehabilitation costs associated with your injuries. There is also an allowance for wage loss replacement if you are totally disabled, as well as homemaker benefits.
You can receive these benefits even if you were at fault for the accident.
2. Tort Claims
The second type of ICBC claim is a tort or personal injury claim. In a tort claim, you are pursuing compensation for the injuries you sustained due to the negligence of the driver.
Personal injury claims are filed through the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, which may mean taking action against ICBC or another insurance company. Drivers in British Columbia are required to carry a minimum of $200,000 in coverage for accident liability. You may be able to recover more in your claim if the at-fault driver purchased additional or extended liability coverage.
3. Other Claims
Depending on the circumstances of the accident and your own insurance coverage, you may need to file a different type of ICBC claim to be compensated for your injuries. These situations include:
- Hit-and-run accidents – The ICBC Basic Autoplan includes up to $200,000 in coverage if you were injured and the driver left the scene
- Accidents with underinsured drivers – If your injuries and other costs exceed the policy limit of the at-fault driver, your own Basic Autoplan coverage includes Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP) that pays up to $1 million (or more, if you purchased extended UMP coverage)
- Accidents with uninsured drivers – Up to $200,000 in coverage is available through ICBC if the at-fault driver has no insurance
If you are unsure what type of claim you may have and how much you may be able to recover, contact a motor vehicle accident lawyer to discuss your options.
What Damages Can You Recover in an ICBC Claim?
Maximum Amounts for No-Fault Accident Benefits
The no-fault benefits available to you are determined in part by the date that the accident occurred. The amounts for medical and rehabilitation benefits are:
- A maximum of $150,000 in medical benefits for accidents that happened before January 1, 2018
- A maximum of $300,000 in medical benefits for accidents that happened on or after January 1, 2018
The amounts for wage loss benefits in no-fault claims are:
- A maximum of $300 per week for accidents that happened before April 1, 2019
- A maximum of $740 per week for accidents that happened on or after April 1, 2019
If the injured person is principally responsible for maintaining the household, the amounts for homemaker benefits in a no-fault accident claim are:
- A maximum of $145 per week for accidents that happened before April 1, 2019
- A maximum of $280 per week for accidents that happened on or after April 1, 2019
Your wage loss and homemaker benefits may be less than the maximum depending on your weekly income and the expenses you incur for home assistance services, as well as coverage and benefits through other insurance plans.
Compensation in a Tort Claim
Unlike with no-fault accident benefits, your recovery in a personal injury claim is not confined to covered amounts for medical and rehabilitation expenses or a portion of your lost wages. When you pursue a tort claim, you may be entitled to recover:
- All out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
- All lost wages – past and future
- Compensation for future medical treatment
- Non-pecuniary damages such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life
Your ICBC accident settlement should account for all of the damages you have sustained.
How Does an ICBC Claims Adjuster Decide ICBC Payout Amounts?
ICBC no-fault accident benefits are available to anybody injured in the accident regardless of who is at fault. In tort claims and other circumstances, several factors may affect the compensation you are eligible to receive:
- Fault: If you pursue a personal injury claim against a negligent driver but it is determined that you are partially at fault for the accident, the amount you can recover may be reduced.
- Coverage and policy limits: The amount you may be able to recover will depend on the policy limit for the at-fault driver’s insurance as well as your own coverage. If the at-fault driver only carries the minimum $200,000 liability coverage but the cost of your injuries exceeds that amount, your UMP policy may make up the difference.
- Actual damages: The amount of an ICBC settlement will depend on the monetary value of your actual losses. The damages you seek in your tort claim must be an accurate reflection of the costs and non-pecuniary damages you have suffered.
The goal of the insurance adjusters who work for ICBC and private insurance companies is to save their employers money and pay as little as possible on claims. It is in your best interest to hire an experienced accident lawyer who can negotiate on your behalf and pursue the full compensation and benefits you deserve.
What If My ICBC Benefits or Settlement Isn’t Enough?
If you were injured by a negligent driver or you are dissatisfied with a settlement offer from ICBC, contact Klein Lawyers for assistance. Our Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Support Team includes dedicated, compassionate lawyers and legal staff who can review your claim and advise you of your rights and options.
Our MVA Support Team can help you with filing for ICBC no-fault accident benefits and negotiating an accident settlement. We will also take your claim to court if that is what it takes to earn fair compensation on your behalf.
Please call Klein Lawyers at (604) 874-7171 today for a FREE consultation. Our lawyers serve clients injured in motor vehicle accidents throughout the greater Vancouver area and all of British Columbia.