There are several questions that personal injury lawyers get asked over and over again. This month’s column sets out the top 3 questions I get asked with respect to car accidents.
FAQ #1 — ICBC was paying for my physiotherapy/massage therapy/chiropractic treatments and now they have cut me off, are they allowed to do that?
Answer: It depends on why they are cutting you off. ICBC is required to pay for all reasonable expenses incurred by you as a result of your injury for necessary medical, surgical, dental, hospital, ambulance or professional nursing services, or for necessary physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, occupational therapy or speech therapy or for prosthesis or orthosis (orthopedic appliance or apparatus). ICBC is not required to pay for more than 12 physiotherapy treatments unless, before the additional treatment is given, ICBC’s medical advisor or your medical practitioner certifies to ICBC in writing that the treatment is necessary. ICBC can also terminate your Accident Benefits if they request you attend a medical examination and you refuse. While Massage Therapy is not specifically included in the Regulation, the case law confirms that it is included in physical therapy. Bottom line: if the treatment is reasonable and necessary and there is sufficient evidence to support that conclusion, ICBC is required to continue paying.
FAQ #2 — I have been told the other driver has no insurance, can I still make a personal injury claim?
Answer: Yes. Under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, there is coverage up to $200,000 for BC residents who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident by an uninsured driver or a hit-and-run driver. If ICBC settles the claim with you or they are required to pay a judgment they will pursue the amount paid out from the uninsured driver (assuming they can identify the other driver).
FAQ #3 — My vehicle can be repaired but I believe that it is no longer worth the same amount as it was before the accident, am I entitled to the difference in value?
Answer: It depends on the facts. The case law states that it can not be assumed that every vehicle that is in an accident and repaired is worth less than it was before the accident. As a result, in order to be compensated for the alleged difference in value (also called accelerated depreciation), you must be able to prove that: 1) your vehicle is worth less than it was before the accident; and 2) the reason for the decrease in value is due to the accident (see Squire v. ICBC (1990) 44 BCLR (2d) 65 (CA)).