In cases of serious injury, the plaintiff will often require ongoing medical or personal care. The cost of this care is often a major part of the ICBC claim and is often referred to as the cost of future care. It includes any expense that is “reasonably necessary on the medical evidence to promote the mental and physical health of the plaintiff”.
While each and every expense does not require a report from a doctor or specialist, it is usually wise to have a report from a medical professional that summarizes all the expected expenses and where possible, links those expenses to a specific doctor’s recommendation.
Reasonably Necessary Expense
The court will ask if the expense is “reasonably necessary” to allow the plaintiff to function at or near his or her pre-accident level. Not every lifestyle enhancement will be covered, and where there are many ways to achieve the same benefit, the court will generally allow only the least expensive. However, if an expense is reasonably necessary, ICBC cannot refuse it simply because it also provides a secondary benefit to the plaintiff.
Future Cost of Care Types
Types of future care expenses include medication, rehabilitation therapy, housekeeping services, home modifications, and mobility enhancements.
The court will deduct from the award any government benefits that can cover the same expense. They will also deduct any Part 7 benefits that are payable in the future. Finally, the court will often apply a contingency deduction, for example, to cover the possibility that the plaintiff may unexpectedly improve or to account for the possibility that the plaintiff may have incurred the expenses without the accident.
Lump Sum Payments
Since the expenses must be paid all at once, it is necessary to calculate the amount of money that needs to be invested today to cover those expenses when they arise in the future. An economist is often retained to provide those calculations, distilling the claiming into a single number. If the lump sum amount is large enough, there will often be an additional award to pay for investment services, as well as an amount to cover taxes incurred on the investment income.
Date last reviewed: July 5, 2019
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