ICBC Claim Compensation Factors

The value of an ICBC claim can vary wildly. Such factors as who is at fault, the nature and severity of the injuries, and the effect of the injury on employment and everyday life will be considered when evaluating your claim. Any party or parties responsible for your accident might have to provide for a variety of losses incurred due to the injury.

You would stand a better chance of reviewing the value of your claim when your injuries are completely healed or plateaued. A personal injury lawyer can always help you assess the range of compensations you are entitled to. But a consideration of the factors affecting your claim’s value will help you put it into perspective.

Severity of Injury

ICBC has an internal injury grading system that allows them determine the severity of an injury. On the whole, serious injuries are treated on a claim by claim basis based on available medical evidence. Injuries considered soft tissue injuries have limitations to the amount of compensation offered for non-pecuniary damages. 

A group called Quebec Task Force has provided a grading system for various types of Whiplash Associated Disorders (WAD), now adopted by the ICBC and other insurance providers. The report grades WAD injuries as follows:

  1. Grade 0 WAD: No complaint about the neck and no physical sign of injury
  2. Grade 1 WAD: Neck complaint of pain, stiffness or tenderness only and no physical sign of injury
  3. Grade 2 WAD: Neck complaint and muskuloskeletal sign(s) of injury
  4. Grade 3 WAD: Neck complaint and neurological sign(s) of injury
  5. Grade 4 WAD: Neck complaint and a fracture or dislocation

Mild injuries constitute grade 1 and 2 WAD injuries that recover within 6 months. These injuries attract non-pecuniary damages of between $0 and $6,500. Mild/Moderate injuries constitute grade 2 WAD injuries that recover under 12 months; they attract a maximum of $10,000 in non-pecuniary damages. Moderate injuries constitute grade 2 WAD injuries that recover under 24 months; they attract a maximum of $15,000 in non-pecuniary damages.

Ultimately, though, the value of soft tissue injuries are set by the court, even if ICBC might have its internal guidelines.

Loss of Past Income

An injury caused by another entitles you to a recovery of past loss of income. The net income loss between the date of the injury and the date of the trial or settlement is calculated, even if it is not always totally recoverable. 

Loss of Income Source or Earning Capacity

British Columbia Courts compensate an injured party if there is a “substantial possibility” that they will suffer a loss of income beyond the date of settlement, due to the accident. This includes an assessment of the person’s employability following the acquisition of lasting injuries and/or impairments, the marketability of the individual, and the ability of the individual to help himself in the labor market.

Future Care and Housekeeping

A person injured through the fault of another is entitled to compensation for future care. Future care in this context encompasses everything from the purchase and arrangements of equipment, facilities and medication required for assistance subsequent to the injury, to the costs of home care or housekeeping services such as cleaning, cooking, etc. which the injured person can no longer perform.

Pain and Suffering (Non-Pecuniary Loss)

The loss of enjoyment of life, and the pain and suffering that accompany an accident is compensated for under non-pecuniary damages. Although this loss resulting from the injury to a person due to the fault of another cannot be fully “replaced in any direct way,” it is roughly estimated and compensated for. Today, non-pecuniary damages could attract as much as $300,000 (at the maximum) in compensation.

Special Damages

Inevitable expense accrued due to the accident caused by another are duly compensated. Special damages is a blanket term covering such out of pocket expenses as hospital bills and costs of medical care, the replacement or repair of damaged clothing, costs of vehicle repair or replacement, insurance deductibles, transportation costs (or car rental expenses) for medical treatment and movement until vehicle repairs, lost wages, etc. Note that not all incurred expenses will be reimbursed. The court will determine those which are reasonable based on its prerogative.

There are various damages under which a claim can be filed following an accident. Some of the others not listed here include “In Trust” damages to relatives who take out the time to care for an accident victim at their own expense, and aggravated and punitive damages. While these might not apply to all ICBC claims, your lawyer will be able to offer legal advice on heads of damages that apply to your specific case.