As a personal injury lawyer in BC since 1995 I’m often asked how to settle whiplash back injury and soft tissue injury claims with ICBC and how much a case is really worth. Rear end car accidents tend to be the number one culprit and ICBC has standard procedures for insurance adjusters to follow before payments such as settlement amounts can be offered and paid out. It is ultimately however a Judge that may decide the value of your case so understanding what you need to prove can help in settlement negotiations.
If you have suffered loss due to a personal injury you will understand that some losses are out of pocket, like cost of treatment, and can be calculated, and other losses are difficulty or impossible to calculate, such as loss of enjoyment. This article addresses the Supreme Court of BC legal criterion for a personal injury awards for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Here is a non-exhaustive list to consider when trying to settle an injury claim or responding to an offer, including whiplash and soft tissue injury, with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and other insurance companies:
(a) age of the injury claimant;(b) Type of the injury;(c) Severity and duration of pain;(d) Disability;(e) Emotional suffering; (f) Loss or impairment of life;(g) Impairment of family, marital and social relationships;(h) Impairment of physical and mental abilities; (i) Loss of lifestyle; and (j) The claimant’s stoicism.
In British Columbia if your injury is so trivial as to be de minimus you will be awarded nothing for your injury. Yes, zero dollars. In this type of case ICBC will often refuse to make any offer of settlement and may even refuse to pay for injury related out of pocket expenses such as massage and physiotherapy.
If an injury claimant has suffered a catastrophic injury the maximum cap in Canada for pain and suffering set by the Supreme Court of Canada is currently under $400,000.00
It is important to understand that injury claims are usually composed of more than a claim for pain and suffering. Get a legal consult to determine whether legal guidelines may entitle you to compensation for more than just pain and suffering. Settling your case without a lawyer is something many live to regret. Watch my short video about whether to settle your injury claim with ICBC.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.