A child who is hurt in a motor vehicle accident caused by another person’s negligence is entitled to personal injury compensation. In BC, anyone under the age of 19 is referred to as an “infant” or a “minor” when discussing ICBC claims. The legal process for a child’s ICBC claim will involve the Public Guardian and Trustee (“PGT”).
What is the BC Public Guardian and Trustee (PGT)?
The Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia is a corporation established under the Public Guardian and Trustee Act. The PGT carries out a number of services in BC. When it comes to infant ICBC claims, the PGT’s broad mandate is to protect the legal and financial interests of children under the age of 19 years.
What role does the PGT play in an infant’s ICBC claim?
Several factors will influence the exact nature of the PGT’s role in an infant’s ICBC claim, including whether settlement is reached and for how much, who was at fault for the accident, and the severity of injuries (e.g., a sprain or soft tissue injury that heals with no lasting functional impairment vs. a permanent, serious brain injury). Lawyers with experience handling infant ICBC claims can advise you on how the PGT will be involved given your child’s unique circumstances.
Examples of PGT involvement in infant ICBC claims
These are the PGT’s main roles in infant ICBC claims:
- Reviewing infant settlements. When an offer is made to settle an infant’s ICBC claim, the PGT must review the proposed settlement to see that it appropriately compensates the minor. The PGTs role with respect to infant settlements depends on the dollar value at stake:
- For settlements of $50,000 or under, the PGT can approve or reject the settlement on the minor’s behalf.
- If the settlement is over $50,000, the PGT must make a recommendation to the court as to whether the settlement is adequate. The court will then make the final decision on whether the settlement will be approved.
- Acting as Litigation Guardian. There are special time limitations that apply to starting children’s ICBC claims. If a court action must be started before the child turns 19, an adult must bring the lawsuit on the child’s behalf. That adult—in many cases, the child’s parent—is known as the “litigation guardian.” In some situations, there is no adult who is willing or capable to act on the injured child’s behalf (for example, if the child’s parent was also seriously injured in the accident, or the parent was at-fault for the accident). In such cases, the PGT can be appointed to act as the infant’s litigation guardian.
- Managing settlement. If an infant settlement is finalized before the child reaches the age of majority, the PGT will hold and invest the settlement funds on behalf of the infant until the infant turns 19 years old. In certain circumstances, the PG&T will consent to releasing some or all of the funds to or on behalf of the infant before then, but that is at their discretion and is only done in rare situations.
If your child has a personal injury claim, we recommend speaking to an experienced lawyer as soon as possible. The legal team at Simpson, Thomas & Associates is experienced in handling ICBC claims for children, including claims involving traumatic brain injury, ranging from concussions/mild traumatic brain injury to severe traumatic brain injury. Lawyers at our firm can help you navigate the procedure with ease. Please contact us at (604) 689 8888 to schedule a complimentary consultation.