As of April 1, 2019, substantial changes come into effect for ICBC No-Fault benefits. Also known as “Part 7” benefits, these benefits are generally available to all British Columbia motorists involved in a collision regardless of whether they are at fault or not. These benefits primarily cover treatment expenses and disability benefits.
One of the biggest changes is that ICBC will now pay more for therapy sessions. These include physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, kinesiology and counselling. These new rates are available to everyone regardless of whether their accident occurred before or after April 1, 2019. A person will be initially limited to 12 sessions of massage therapy, acupuncture, kinesiology and counselling, and 25 sessions of physiotherapy and chiropractic care. After these limits are reached, ICBC will only pay for more sessions if a person’s doctor or ICBC’s medical adviser certify that more treatments are necessary.
While the amount ICBC will cover for each treatment has increased, there is a big caveat for people injured in not-at-fault accidents that occur after April 1, 2019. That is, if the actual amount of a person’s treatments is more than the amount ICBC has to pay under Part 7, they cannot recover the difference in their personal injury claim.
That is a significant change that will inevitably result in some innocent people not being fully compensated for their treatment expenses. This is yet another way in which ICBC and the provincial government are making people injured through no fault of their own subsidize bad drivers.
Where a person’s injuries totally disable them from working within 20 days of an accident and they do not have access to or have exhausted other wage-loss benefits, ICBC will pay them temporary total disability benefits. These are known as TTDs. A person will be entitled to TTDs if they are “employed” according to ICBC, which means employed on the date of the accident or they worked at least 6 of the 12 months preceding the accident.
Before April 1, 2019, the amount a person would receive in TTDs would be 75% of their average gross weekly earnings in the 12 months before the accident up to a maximum of $300. That was an incredibly small amount of money. Many people on TTDs struggle financially and end up going back to work well before they sufficiently recover because they simply can’t afford to live on $300 a week or less. A low weekly benefit was one of the ways ICBC forced people back to work before they were ready.
Now, the amount of TTDs payable will be 75% of a person’s average gross weekly earnings up to a maximum of $740.
While this is a welcome change, it only applies to people who are injured in accidents occurring after April 1, 2019. Because of that, even if you are unable to work beyond April 1, 2019 because of your injuries, if your accident happened before that date, ICBC only has to pay you a maximum of $300 a week.