If you are not aware yet, ICBC implemented a new no-fault auto insurance model on May 01, 2021, also known as “Enhanced Care.” This new no-fault scheme promises drivers annual savings on auto insurance fees – an average of $400 per year- and expanded access to recovery for those who need it.
Sounds good, but only on the surface.
Taking a closer look, we can quickly identify how Enhanced Care does not actually benefit British Columbians in the unfortunate case of being injured in a motor vehicle accident, as it restricts their right to compensation and their rights to access BC courts should a dispute with ICBC arise.
ICBC No-Fault Insurance Explained
Putting it simply, if you are the victim of a car crash after April 30th, 2021, you will not be able to sue the at-fault driver for compensation, except in very particular and limited cases. Under Enhanced Care, both parties can receive benefits for their injuries and wage loss after the crash, no matter who is at fault. There are also no significant consequences for the at-fault driver, other than an increase in their premiums.
It still sounds ok, doesn’t it?. Well, read on.
What Compensation Can You Receive Under Enhanced Care?
You are only eligible to receive a lump sum payment for compensation for your injuries if you sustain a permanent impairment, such as loss of mobility, amputation, or other everlasting damage to a part of your body or bodily function. Permanent impairments are categorized as either catastrophic or not catastrophic injuries. ICBC assigns injuries a percentage based on their level of impairment and category or type, and the lump sum amount you would receive is then calculated with the percentage assigned to your injury.
As is to be expected, the most severe and disabling impairments are assigned the highest compensation amounts. These impairments include catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia, paraplegia, and severe brain injury or loss of vision. The lump-sum amount assigned to these impairments is $264,430. For a non-catastrophic injury, the amount assigned ranges between $836 and $167,465.
ICBC will establish the level of impairment of your injury and give it a percentage assigned to it, based on the type of injury it falls under. Should you need assistance disputing with ICBC whether your injury constitutes a permanent impairment and you are eligible for a lump sum payment, we suggest consulting with one of our lawyers.
When Will You Receive Your Permanent Impairment Compensation?
According to ICBC, compensation for a permanent impairment will be made after you have completed your treatment and allowed your injury to heal as much as possible, as only after this can your impairment be adequately assessed. The calculation of benefits for injuries can take a long time, up to a year or more, as the victim has to go through multiple medical examinations.
When Can You Sue?
As we mentioned before, under the new no-fault model, incidents where victims can sue the at-fault driver are limited. One of the circumstances in which a victim can sue is when the at-fault driver is criminally convicted of committing a specific criminal offence during the car crash. However, it is important to note that the at-fault driver must not just be charged, or plead to a lesser offence, but they must be criminally convicted of the specific offence that allows the ability to sue for damages in tort. It is likely this will significantly limit the number of cases that victims can sue for.
It is no surprise that British Columbians have expressed feeling “betrayed” and not looked after with the new ICBC no-fault insurance, as it leaves victims with minimal options for a fair recovery.
STA Lawyers Can Provide You with the Guidance You Need
STA lawyers continuously receive inquiries about Enhanced Care and understand that this is a confusing transition. We empathize with the frustration you feel when your right to fight for fair compensation becomes limited. STA’s legal team is here to listen and to help, don’t hesitate to contact us or request a free consultation through our online form to receive guidance about your claim.
Stay in the Know
Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on social media to receive our latest blog posts and news about ICBC regulations and personal injury.