Before resolution, personal injury claims in British Columbia are usually filed in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Cases that are worth less than $25,000.00 should be filed in the Provincial Court. If a case is worth less than $100,000 the Fast Track Litigation rules will apply and legal costs will be limited by the Court Rules. There are exceptions which can be agreed to between the parties to the lawsuit or ordered by the Court.
Money for pain and suffering was capped at $100,000.00 by the Supreme Court of Canada. Since this decision in 1971 the consumer price index has caused the maximum amount to increase to over $350,000.00. This amount is reserved for the most catastrophically injured and usually requires more than whiplash injury. Settlement amount must also include compensation for loss of earning capacity, cost of care, and many other claims which may bring the severe cases into the millions of dollars. There is no cap on the amount a person can be awarded by the Supreme Court.
There are however policy limits for ICBC insured, which start at a minimum of $200,000.00. If the at fault driver only has the minimum coverage the claimant may have Underinsured Motorist Protection (UMP). This is required insurance for all BC driver’s and provides for $1 million compensation coverage, subject to deductions. If the injury claimant purchased excess UMP this will give the claimant to up $2 million in coverage, subject to deductions.
The best tips and guidelines for a personal injury settlements with ICBC come from personal injury lawyers practising within British Columbia. It is hard for me to imagine, as a personal injury lawyer, a claimant going through a negotiation with ICBC without a lawyer and ending up with a fair settlement. I get calls from claimants that have settled there cases without a lawyer and want to get out of the deal. Unfortunately it is usually too late and too costly.
Important to note that ICBC whiplash compensation amounts are NOT set by the Insurance Corporation of BC. Judges in British Columbia are given the responsibility of assessing personal injury cases and determining the proper compensation. Average payouts that may be sited elsewhere are simply wrong. ICBC may offer $10,000 or $15,000.00 to settle case worth much more than that. Conversely, injury claimants without lawyers may demand amounts far out of reality.
There are no average payouts and no meat charts like the one used for WCB. When trying to resolve a personal injury claim, money for pain and suffering will often depend on the age of the claimant, nature of the injury, severity and duration of pain, disability, emotional suffering and loss or impairment of life. Whether a judge awards $25,000.00, $50,000.00 or $75, 000.00 will often depend of these factors along with other factors such as impaired relationships, impairment of physical and mental abilities, loss of lifestyle, and the claimant’s stoic attitude. Read my article about whiplash injury compensation from ICBC.
Lastly, watch my video about ICBC settlement compensation and remember that when you settle with ICBC your are often settling your claim for accident benefits as well as your claim of negligence against the other driver. Getting a free legal consultation before settling a case is therefore without a doubt the right thing to do. Contact me at helpwithICBC@gmail.com for legal advice for your injury claim.
Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A., LL.B.