Law firms are fielding calls from BC drivers and passengers who have been injured in the many car accidents that have happened this past winter. They are asking for assistance to commence a claim with ICBC or sue the bad driver and get them compensation for their very serious injuries and losses.
The Law firms have to tell them that as of May 1, 2022, there is no compensation from ICBC for injuries, no matter the severity or who was at fault. Also, the injured person is now prohibited from suing the bad driver (or their ICBC 3rd party insurance) for causing their accident injuries, except in criminal situations and only if the bad driver is convicted of a criminal offense in Court. This is good news if you are a bad driver, but not for anyone else.
Instead, what BC car accident injury victims have is what ICBC terms the “Enhanced Care Model” based on your own ICBC 1st party coverage (also called Part 7). This means ICBC, as your insurer, will cover your medical treatments while you recover from your injuries and some wage loss and housekeeping while you are completely disabled from working or caring for your home. Once your injuries plateau or you recover, your coverage is ended.
A person with car accident injuries still claims in the usual way and will be assigned an injury adjuster. That adjuster decides what coverage you have and in most cases will directly pay the treatment provider, if they have signed up for direct billing with ICBC. If you disagree about treatments, the online Civil Resolutions Tribunal (CRT) is tasked with dealing with those disagreements. Law firms can no longer assist you in this process in any meaningful way and people with accident injuries now have to deal with ICBC adjusters on their own.
After the initial 6 weeks following an accident, the adjuster will require proof that the treatments you require to recover are still ‘accident related’. As such, every 6 months you will need a detailed note from your doctor. The note must say the injuries are caused by your accident and what treatment you need to support your ongoing recovery. In addition, any treatments or expenses you pay out of pocket have to be submitted within 60 days to your adjuster for reimbursement or they will not be reimbursed. Plan, as these timelines are very important, and any delay will result in the adjuster suspending coverage of your treatments until you get the appropriate note. This can potentially delay your recovery if you cannot afford to pay out of pocket for the treatments in the meantime.
These changes have resulted in confusion, delay in treatment, and many people falling through the cracks of the “Enhanced Care” system. We encourage the use of the online CRT program if you have any difficulties with getting coverage from ICBC – the CRT program is designed to be very truser-friendly and case managers are assigned to assist you in the process.