BC’s minor injury legislation will capture many car accident claims and has the potential to significantly impact entitlement to personal injury compensation. Here are the top five things to know about the ICBC minor injury definition.
- The ICBC minor injury definition is broad. The definition of a minor injury in BC’s Insurance (Vehicle) Act includes abrasions, contusions, lacerations, sprains and strains. But the regulations also include types of injuries that are—or have the potential to be—much more serious, such as chronic pain syndrome, TMJ disorder, certain whiplash associated disorders, concussions, and psychological or psychiatric conditions.
- If the ICBC minor injury definition applies, your general damages are “capped.” If your injury is minor, compensation for the pain and suffering portion of your claim is limited to a certain amount. If the motor vehicle accident that caused your injuries happened between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020, the cap is $5,500. From April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021, the limit for pain and suffering is $5,627. The minor injury cap does not apply to other types of damages you may be entitled to, such as past and future income loss and future care costs.
- You can challenge a determination that the ICBC minor injury definition applies to your claim.. You may want to obtain legal advice first. It may be possible to argue that the cap on general damages should not apply because your injuries resulted in “permanent serious disfigurement” or “serious impairment” (meaning an impairment that has not resolved within 12 months of the accident and which causes substantial inability to perform essential tasks at work, school, or home).
- You must prove that your injury is not minor. The ICBC minor injury definition deems certain injuries as minor. Additionally, even if your injury is not of a type that fits into the defined categories, it can still be deemed minor if ICBC alleges that you failed to follow a “diagnostic and treatment protocol.” Once the injury is deemed minor, the burden of proving otherwise falls to the person who says it is not—in other words, you.
- The ICBC minor injury definition may cease to apply if your injuries persist or worsen. An ICBC claim should not be settled before the full extent of injuries is known and maximum recovery has been reached. This is especially true when it comes to minor injury claims, as an injury that does not resolve within a certain period may no longer be considered minor—and thus not subject to the cap on general damages. If your injury causes physical or mental impairment that causes substantial inability at work, school or in your activities of daily living that last for more than 12 months (or in the case of a concussion or mental health conditions, an incapacity that lasts beyond 16 weeks), it is no longer a minor injury.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, it’s advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer who can help navigate the complex legislation around ICBC minor injury claims.