If you are injured in a car accident in British Columbia then you are entitled to certain benefits regardless of whether you were at fault for the accident or not. These benefits, called “No-Fault Benefits” or “Part 7 Benefits”, generally cover your medical and rehabilitation costs as well as lost wages. They are limited, however, and ICBC will not always pay what they are required to without a fight. You should talk to a personal injury lawyer to make sure you know what is how to apply for No-Fault Benefits and what those benefits cover.
What do your benefits cover?
Your medical benefits include all the expenses that you had to pay because of your accident. This includes any surgical, dental, ambulance, nursing, physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments or any other medical expense that is related to your injury. “Rehabilitation” expenses include things like required renovations to your home, or at home nursing care. Wage benefits compensate you when you do not have EI or other insurance. ICBC will pay up to $300/week if you have basic care insurance to compensate you for your lost wages.
These benefits are not automatic. ICBC can refuse to pay benefits you may deserve. For example, the law says that they are required to pay for any treatment costs related to your injuries that are “reasonable” and “necessary”. That language gives them some wiggle room. Sometimes they will pay your expenses with little questions asked. Other times, they will question whether the treatment really is “necessary”. So if you are only starting physiotherapy a year after the accident, then ICBC may refuse to pay for your treatment saying that it isn’t necessary.
The lawyers at Drysdale Bacon McStravick LLP know how important No-Fault Benefits are to your recovery and will fight for you to get them. We have even taken a case where ICBC refused to pay for a client’s massage therapy, a total cost of only $742.00, all the way to the British Columbia Court of Appeal. In that case, Raguin (Litigation Guardian of) v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC was refusing to pay because the law surrounding “No-Fault Benefits” did not specifically say they had to pay for massage. Instead, it said they had to pay for “physical therapy” and “chiropractic treatment”. Lawyers from DBM successfully argued that massage therapy must be covered under an insureds No-Fault Benefits and for ICBC to not do so went against the reason those benefits existed in the first place.