On May 17, 2018 amendments to British Columbia’s Insurance (Vehicle) Act and Civil Resolution Tribunal Act received Royal Assent and became law.
Bill 20 concerns amendments to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.
Bill 22 concerns amendments to the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act.
Along with taking jurisdiction away from the courts, the most significant amendment to the legislation is the addition of Part 7 (of the Insurance (Vehicle) Amendment Act, 2018 – not “part 7 benefits”) to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, which is titled ‘Minor Injuries’.
The new laws limit/caps non-pecuniary compensation for all “minor injuries” at $5,500.
Starting April 1, 2019, this cap applies to collisions and resulting injuries occurring on or after that date.
Bill 22 added a new area of jurisdiction to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) to deal with certain matters under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (being benefits and “minor injury” determinations) and gives the CRT exclusive jurisdiction to decide overall compensation and liability claims arising from motor vehicle collisions up to $50,000.
The new laws say it is presumed the global claim value is under $50,000, unless the CRT is convinced otherwise.
Bill 22 removes the jurisdiction to decide these cases from our independent courts.
So, what is being called a “minor injury” by the government and ICBC?
Concussions, being brain injuries, are now included in the minor injury scheme. So too are TMJ injuries as are partial tears under the sprain/strain umbrella of “minor injury”.
Psychological/psychiatric conditions were no more defined by the further regulations added in November save for saying they must result in “incapacity” to not be minor.
At this time the latest list of “minor injuries” now captures the following injuries:
an abrasion, a contusion, a laceration, a sprain or a strain,
a psychological or psychiatric condition that does not result in an incapacity;
a concussion (brain injury) that does not result in an incapacity;
a TMJ disorder; or
a WAD injury.
that do not result in a “serious impairment” or a “permanent serious disfigurement” or result in your “incapacity”.
Serious impairment and incapacity effectively mean the same thing. To meet this hurdle, your injury must result in you being effectively unable to carry out the essential duties of your job or education. If you do not work or attend school, then your injury is minor unless you are unable perform your “activities of daily living”, those activities being restrictively listed as being unable to: prepare your own meals, manage your finances, go shopping, use transportation, keep your home sanitary, manage your medications, or maintain your personal hygiene.
That is an incredible and almost impossible threshold the government and ICBC say you must meet or else your injury will be called “minor”. There is simply no range of outcomes in between.
The new laws place an injury victim’s situation into either one of two extremes:
“minor” OR <————————————————> incapacitating / seriously impairing
Unless your brain injury, psychological injury or pain syndrome incapacitates you, as set out above, ICBC will call it minor, cap your pain and suffering damages at $5,500 and you are directed into a new non-court hearing by a tribunal the government itself set up.
Nick Peterson of Collins Peterson LLP has recently written an article addressing in more detail these new “minor injury” laws the government has released along with a review of the government-created Civil Resolution Tribunal which has now been given the jurisdiction to hear these injury claims. Through the government, the CRT has ousted the jurisdiction to decide these matters away from the courts.
The full article can be found here: “Minor Injury” Laws and the CRT – Changes to Injury Claims
If you have questions about the changing laws for injury claims with ICBC, please feel free to contact Collins Peterson LLP.