July brings summer weather and a larger presence of pedestrians and cyclists on BC roadways, sidewalks, and parks. Even with the most careful of pedestrians or cyclists, collisions with motor vehicles can happen. This is particularly the case in places where these intersect, such as driveway entrances to parking lots in parks and public spaces, crosswalks, and intersections as well as on shared roadways. No one intends to cause an accident, but statistics tell us that these occur and injure pedestrians and cyclists most often in the summer months. As we all know, pedestrians and cyclists are more vulnerable to injury than those in motor vehicles when a collision occurs.
The initial process for an injured person is the same – they call or go online and make a ‘claim’ with ICBC and get a claim number. That claim number is then used to access treatments necessary for recovery, as it always had. These are referred to by ICBC as “Part 7 coverage”. Treatments include massage, physiotherapy, kinesiology, acupuncture, and physiotherapy and often must be approved by the ICBC adjuster assigned to the claim. There is also coverage for the primary homemaker if they are disabled from their homemaking or childcare tasks as well as replacement wages while an income earner is disabled from working.
As of May 1, 2021, what has changed when the BC Government introduced ‘no fault’ is that the injured person is no longer entitled to make a claim or recover payment for all other losses they face from a motor vehicle accident. There is no payment for pain and suffering, future care costs not covered by Part 7 or approved by the ICBC adjuster, and any wage replacement beyond the period that the injured person is completely disabled from working. Those payments used to close the gap that many people faced when they were recovering but still only well enough to work part-time; a contract worker between contracts and too injured to look for their next position; or a student who had just started to look for work.
With the advent of e-bikes and more people commuting on bicycles to work, the chances become greater of getting into an accident. Although you do not need a license or insurance to operate an e-bike, if the operator of the e-bike causes an accident, they are subject to the same rules and duties as the operator of a motor vehicle. They are also fully responsible for any damage they cause.
While there may be some car insurance savings from the no-fault changes, the reduction is only because the coverage is reduced. It is now recommended that cyclists purchase separate insurance (less than $50 per year) to protect themselves in the event they cause an accident. Also, to fill in the gaps for all British Columbians left by no-fault, it is recommended to purchase separate disability insurance. A little pre-planning can go a long way in an emergency!