Most people are aware that they are entitled to compensation if they have been injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by the fault of someone else. However, many people don’t know that, even if they are at fault for an accident, they are entitled to some benefits under their motor vehicle insurance plan. Furthermore, many people are unaware that they are entitled to benefits even if they do not have a policy of motor vehicle insurance. For example, if you are riding a bicycle and get hit by a car, you may still be entitled to no fault benefits. The key is that your injury was caused by an accident that arose out of the use or operation of a vehicle.
The question becomes: What are no fault benefits?
No-fault benefits, also known as “Part 7 benefits”, provide for some basic coverage with respect to treatment, medication, wage loss, and, in the event of death, payment of funeral expenses and loss of support benefits. Part 7 simply refers to Part 7 of the Regulations to the Insurance Vehicle Act which sets out what benefits ICBC must pay (some benefits are mandatory and some are discretionary). The name no fault means that they are payable regardless of whether or not you are at fault for the accident.
A brief summary of the available no fault benefits under Part 7 are as follows:
- Medical and Rehabilitation Benefits: these benefits cover expenses such as: physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, massage therapy, travel to and from medical appointments, the costs of medications and other items to assist with daily living such as wheelchairs and aids for communication, dressing, eating, grooming and hygiene. Rehabilitation expenses include vocational training.
- Disability/Wage Loss Benefits: if you become disabled from employment as a result of a motor vehicle accident, you may be entitled to 75% of your average weekly pre-accident earnings up to a maximum of $300 per week in disability/wage loss benefits. If you are a homemaker, you may be entitled to a maximum of $145 per week.
- Funeral Expenses: funeral expenses up to a maximum of $2,500 for death as a result of a motor vehicle accident.
- Death Benefits: if a person dies as a result of a motor vehicle accident, the surviving spouse and or dependants may be entitled to prescribed death benefits. The amount will vary depending on both the age and status of the deceased and the survivor(s).
In order to receive your no fault benefits, you must apply to ICBC. Those benefits are not automatically paid to you. There is a specified form and a number of required steps that you must take within a specified time period. If you fail to follow the proper procedure, you run the risk of forfeiting your entitlement to your no fault coverage. Frequently, these benefits only cover part of your actual expenses. Any amount that is not covered under Part 7 must be claimed against the other at fault party or parties.
What should be a simple process can be quite complicated. If you have been in a motor vehicle accident and have questions about your claim, contact Murray Ross at CBM Lawyers LLP to arrange a free no obligation consultation.