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If you’ve ever been in a motor vehicle crash as a pedestrian or a cyclist, you know very well the complications that can arise in the process of determining liability and damages through our provincial insurer ICBC, that settling claims for vulnerable road users can take years.
That’s why the stance of the provincial government, as reported by CBC is so alarming.
The Province of British Columbia, “will be putting a cap of $5,500 for pain and suffering on minor injury claims, as part of a series of reforms by the provincial government to fix the financial crisis at the public auto insurance company.” These changes, which were announced in February, are expected to take effect by April 2019.
However, Price Tags has received corroborated information that the provincial government has now defined “minor injuries” to go beyond abrasions, contusions, lacerations, sprains and strains; injuries that can be more broadly classified as chronic will now fall under this cap.
This would result in the classification of chronic conditions, such as chronic pain syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder, as minor.
As previously reported in Price Tags, “vulnerable road users — those using active transportation — made up 45.7 per cent of serious injuries in 2011.” Despite the fact that ‘vulnerable road users’ are not encased in a steel shell and are not in control of a motorized vehicle, they are being penalized in the same way for pain and suffering as if they were in a motorized vehicle.
The cap of $5,500, “will not include wage loss, medical care, or lawyer fees — and does not apply to major injuries, or if the effect of pain and suffering extends from minor injuries for over a year.” (The average payout for pain and suffering was $16,500 in 2016.)
The real question to be asked — why would the new legislation treat pedestrian and cyclist injuries received from vehicular crashes the same as if they were in a vehicle, without any accommodation or remedy for their vulnerability on our roads?
It’s one of many similar questions being asked by some of the 2,000+ followers of a Facebook page called “Say NO to ICBC injury compensation caps”.
And on Saturday, May 5th, the Trial Lawyers Association of BC is hosting a protest at MLA Jinny Sims’ constituency office (Surrey-Panorama) to push the provincial government further on these proposed changes:
Jinny Sims MLA
14360 64th Ave, Surrey, BC
1:00 to 2:30pm

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Image: Vancity Buzz

Comments

  1. I guess I am not alarmed, even as a frequent vulnerable road user, and as one who has been in a serious crash on a bike.
    I regularly see ads on tv for a local group of lawyers who advertise that one should never talk to our local insurance company without talking to them first. I am more alarmed by that.
    The cap that has been proposed is for pain and suffering. It is not for medical treatment, where the existing allowance has been doubled. It is not for lost wages, where the reimbursement rates have been increased. That isn’t referenced in the headline above.
    The new cap doesn’t apply to serious injuries, ie broken bones. So if a vulnerable road user crash victim is more likely to have serious injuries, to be off work, etc, it seems they may be better off under this proposal. Limited resources would be put more towards victims and less towards law firms with large advertising budgets.
    I do have concerns about what defines a serious or minor injury. But I also wonder why BC is the only province not to have dealt with this issue until now. Why are we so different?

    1. It’s a rare case when Jeff Leigh and I agree but this is one. It’s the lawyers leading the charge against this, that should be a huge red flag.

  2. Another note, soft tissue injury caps already exist in other provinces.
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/culture/commuting/the-truth-about-insurance-caps/article1376575/
    Also at the same time ICBC announced the injury award caps they also announced there would be more money for recovery and rehab. In short, rather than get a blank cheque, your health providers would be able to provide better treatment for legitimate injuries, from their website
    “Highlights of the changes include:
    Your overall allowance for medical care and recovery costs will be doubled to $300,000. The government has announced that this benefit will be retroactive to January 1, 2018, once legislation and regulation are in place.
    ICBC will pay more money per treatment so you aren’t out of pocket.
    More types of treatments will be covered. New treatments added include kinesiology, acupuncture, counselling and massage therapy.
    Wage loss payments while injured and unable to work will be more than doubled, up from $300 per week to $740 per week.
    Other benefits such as home support, alternative therapy, funeral costs and death benefits are also increasing significantly.”
    deleted as per editorial policy

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