Mockscenario of how to use jaws of life in serious crash (Black Press Media files)

ICBC doubles compensation for crash victims with serious injuries

People injured in a traffic crash on or after Jan. 1, 2018 now eligible for up to $300,000 from ICBC

Those seriously hurt in a vehicle collision in B.C. are now eligible for double the injury compensation from ICBC.

In a news release Friday, the province announced that the new compensation cap for medical care and recovery is $300,000 from ICBC, up from the previous maximum of $150,000 set in 1991.

Anyone injured in a crash on or after Jan. 1 of this year are eligible.

The province estimates the increase will help 35 British Columbians each year while saving the corporation about $1 billion a year.

The increase was welcomed by Jane Dyson, Disability Alliance BC executive director, a group that’s been calling for increase for 12 years.

“The doubling of the overall allowance for medical care and recovery is a significant improvement, and we welcome these long overdue changes, which will mean that people who are catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents have better supports available to help them rebuild their lives,” she said.

READ MORE: Advocates, lawyers say ICBC minor injury caps could hit victims at their weakest

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The province said additional changes are planned for April 1 next year, including wage loss payments for customers injured and unable to work increasing to $740 per week from $300, funeral cost benefits increasing from $2,500 to $7,500 and death benefits – including payments to surviving family members – increasing to $30,000 from $18,000.

In February, ICBC announced it would be placing a $5,500 limit on payouts for pain and suffering. To stem the losses from rising accident rates and an 80 per cent increase in injury claim costs in the past seven years, ICBC also announced that a claim resolution tribunal would be launched to settle disputed claims without going to court.

Meanwhile, the B.C. NDP Government continues to develop the legal definition of a minor injury. Eby said in February it is expected to include strains, sprains, mild whiplash, aches and pains, cuts and bruises, with cases to be determined by medical professionals independent of ICBC.

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