If you’ve ever been in a motor vehicle crash as a pedestrian or a cyclist, you know very well the complications that can arise in the process of determining liability and damages through our provincial insurer ICBC, that settling claims for vulnerable road users can take years.
That’s why the stance of the provincial government, as reported by CBC is so alarming.
The Province of British Columbia, “will be putting a cap of $5,500 for pain and suffering on minor injury claims, as part of a series of reforms by the provincial government to fix the financial crisis at the public auto insurance company.” These changes, which were announced in February, are expected to take effect by April 2019.
However, Price Tags has received corroborated information that the provincial government has now defined “minor injuries” to go beyond abrasions, contusions, lacerations, sprains and strains; injuries that can be more broadly classified as chronic will now fall under this cap.
This would result in the classification of chronic conditions, such as chronic pain syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder, as minor.
As previously reported in Price Tags, “vulnerable road users — those using active transportation — made up 45.7 per cent of serious injuries in 2011.” Despite the fact that ‘vulnerable road users’ are not encased in a steel shell and are not in control of a motorized vehicle, they are being penalized in the same way for pain and suffering as if they were in a motorized vehicle.
The cap of $5,500, “will not include wage loss, medical care, or lawyer fees — and does not apply to major injuries, or if the effect of pain and suffering extends from minor injuries for over a year.” (The average payout for pain and suffering was $16,500 in 2016.)
The real question to be asked — why would the new legislation treat pedestrian and cyclist injuries received from vehicular crashes the same as if they were in a vehicle, without any accommodation or remedy for their vulnerability on our roads?
It’s one of many similar questions being asked by some of the 2,000+ followers of a Facebook page called “Say NO to ICBC injury compensation caps”.
And on Saturday, May 5th, the Trial Lawyers Association of BC is hosting a protest at MLA Jinny Sims’ constituency office (Surrey-Panorama) to push the provincial government further on these proposed changes:
Jinny Sims MLA
14360 64th Ave, Surrey, BC
1:00 to 2:30pm
Image: Vancity Buzz