For accidents that occurred before April 1, 2019, the Insurance Company of British Columbia (ICBC) only compensated injured motorists for up to $300 in weekly wages they lost after an accident. Now, ICBC will pay up to $740 per week for lost wages if you have suffered injuries in a car accident that keep you from doing your job.
This might seem straightforward, but filing an ICBC claim in Vancouver and other areas of British Columbia is often challenging. If you are in pain and unable to make money for your family, these challenges become more and more daunting.
Klein Lawyers has extensive experience with ICBC car accident claims. When you contact our team, an experienced lawyer will review the details of your case and provide you with guidance on how to attain the benefits you deserve. Please call (604) 874-7171 today for a free consultation.
Medical Benefits vs. Wage Loss Benefits
One of the primary functions of ICBC accident benefits is to cover medical expenses. As of now, anyone injured in a crash – drivers or passengers, regardless of fault – can receive up to $300,000 in benefits to cover the costs of medical treatment. (Medical benefits are capped at $150,000 if the accident happened before January 1, 2018.)
In addition to Medical Benefits, ICBC also provides wage loss assistance. In order to qualify for wage loss assistance, certain criteria must be met.
What Is ‘Total Disability’?
Under the current ICBC system, you are eligible for replacement of lost wages if you are unable to work, not if you miss work as a result of your injuries. As such, wage loss assistance is only available if you sustained total disability in the accident.
Whether or not you suffer total disability depends on several factors:
- The nature of the injuries you have sustained
- Your occupation prior to the accident
- How your injuries affect your ability to do the job you had prior to the accident
The impact of an injury on your work is not something you can determine and assert to ICBC on your own. Your medical records must indicate your inability to return to the work you did before the accident.
How Much Do Wage Loss Benefits Cover After a Car Accident?
As mentioned above, ICBC will assist with wage loss up to $740 per week if the accident happened on or after April 1, 2019 (and, if it happened before that date, available benefits are up to $300 weekly). It is important to understand, however, that you may receive less than the maximum in benefits.
Your wage loss assistance is calculated as a percentage of what you made in a week before the accident. ICBC compensates you for 75% of your weekly pay up to $740 or $300 (again, depending on when the accident transpired).
So, if 75% of your weekly income is $800 and you were in a car accident on Jan. 1, 2020, your wage loss assistance is $740 per week. If, on the other hand, you were in an accident on that same day and 75% of your earnings for the week is $600, ICBC will pay $600 per week.
Do I Qualify for Wage Loss Assistance?
Total disability is not the only prerequisite for wage loss assistance. In order to qualify for wage loss benefits, you must have been actively employed at the time of the accident or worked for a minimum of 6 months within the last year.
In addition, if you have access to other insurance policies that cover lost wages, you must exhaust those benefits before you are eligible for wage loss assistance under ICBC. This includes E.I. Sickness benefits. ICBC benefits will become available when you reach the limits of your primary insurance coverage. There is also a one-week waiting period before the benefits commence.
What If Wage Loss Benefits Aren’t Enough?
Everybody becomes accustomed to a certain style and quality of living based on their income. Being paid only a portion of your pre-mva income while adjusting to life with serious injuries can create significant financial and emotional strain.
If another driver’s negligence caused the car accident, you may be able to recover compensation through a personal injury tort claim.
The demand in your tort claim should account for the entirety of your lost wages to date, as well as the loss of your earning potential, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses.
A settlement or award in a tort case may be significantly higher than the benefits you will receive through ICBC. In a personal injury tort, the goal is to make you “whole” after the damages you incurred as a result of the car accident. Although nothing can make up for the potentially lifelong impact of serious injuries, a favourable outcome can help with your recovery.
How Our Lawyers Can Help with Your Car Accident Claim
Whether you are navigating the ICBC process or considering legal action against a negligent driver, Klein Lawyers has the experience to provide sound advice in your car accident case. We will undertake a complete investigation to understand the circumstances of the accident and how it has affected your life, then discuss your possible courses of action.
Please call (604) 874-7171 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Klein Lawyers serves clients in Vancouver and throughout British Columbia.