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July 16, 2021 by Darren Kautz
With the last year being the year that it was, many are not aware of the changes made in relation to personal injury claims resulting from a vehicle accident. ICBC’s Enhanced Care came into effect on May 1, 2021 which basically removes the ability to make a claim through the courts against someone for general damages, also known as pain and suffering.
The Enhanced Care program is a significant change to how things have operated in the past. Darren Kautz, Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at FH&P Lawyers, has been following this development. He shares what these changes mean to the general public and provides guidance to those that have been in an accident in the past few years.
As of May 1st, 2021...
If you have been in an accident as of May 1, 2021 or later, you are no longer able to make a claim through the courts for general damages. All claims and cases are run internally through ICBC, and their adjusters will determine what compensation you are entitled to. This could include lost wages and medical care but no longer considers ongoing suffering that you may experience.
“You get injured, you contact ICBC, and explain what your medical providers have advised you and any ongoing disability. You are now forced to deal with ICBC internally with no recourse, should you dispute the wage loss or medical care coverage. It is a very unfortunate situation for every British Columbian.” Kautz explains.
There is no longer an opportunity to hire legal representation to claim damages for suffering, regardless of fault. In some rare cases, there may be an opportunity to sue an individual if they fail to have coverage; however generally your right to pursue damages in Court has been removed.
Kautz has already seen the anguish that this is causing some victims. “Being in pain – injured and unable to do your vocational pursuits, your leisurely pursuits – how much is two years of being unable to function without pain worth to you? British Columbians may miss out on important moments of holding grandchildren, cooking holiday meals, going bicycling, and doing other leisurely activities which now have no monetary value for that loss under this program.”
The hope is that the system is fair. But the public is also encouraged to talk to your elected representatives and explain to them what you're dealing with under the new legislation and the program.
Prior to May 1st, 2021…
There are still options if you were in an accident prior to May 1, 2021. When an accident occurs, you have two years to make a claim. This claim will still be processed under the old legislation and not the Enhanced Care program. So what does that mean?
It means you still have the opportunity to hire personal injury legal counsel to pursue additional damages related to the accident. However, since claims must be made within two years, that window is slowly closing. Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer can help you navigate ICBC, the legal system and ensure you get a fair result.
FH&P Lawyers is a full-service firm with a reputation for friendly service and community support. With offices in Kelowna and Penticton plus an extended team throughout B.C.’s Interior, we provide legal services for business and individual clients.
Darren Kautz was born and raised in Hanna, AB and is licensed in both BC and Alberta. He continues to service clients across Central Alberta.
We’re FH&P. We’re rooted in community and ready to help.
Story courtesy of Teresa Doulos - Twin Creek Media