Accident Claims & Minor Injuries

On April 1, 2019 the CRT will have expanded jurisdiction over certain motor vehicle accident claims. We wrote about this in an earlier blog post when the Province of BC introduced changes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act. We’re working hard to implement this new area of jurisdiction.

The CRT currently has jurisdiction over small claims and strata disputes. The changes to our legislation will expand the CRT’s scope to include making decisions on the following matters relating to motor vehicle accidents, where there is disagreement between the customer and the insurance company:

  • The entitlement to receive accident benefits;
  • The classification of an injury as a minor injury; and
  • Liability and quantum decisions for motor vehicle injury claims up to $50,000.

For the CRT to have jurisdiction over a dispute relating to a minor injury, or a liability and quantum decision up to $50,000, the accident must have occurred in BC and the person must have suffered a bodily injury. The accident also must have happened on or after April 1, 2019. The dispute can also include a claim for damage to vehicles and property, as long as there is also a bodily injury. If there is no bodily injury, the CRT has jurisdiction over disputes relating to motor vehicle accidents under our small claims limit of $5,000.

For the CRT’s jurisdiction over accident benefit claims, the accident does not have to have happened in British Columbia.

What is a minor injury?

The CRT has jurisdiction over the classification of an injury as a minor injury. This means that if ICBC tells you that your injury was a minor injury, and you disagree, you can come to the CRT for a decision.

Minor injuries are defined in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act and the Minor Injury Regulation. A minor injury is a physical or mental injury that does not result in a serious impairment or permanent disfigurement, including

  • an abrasion, a contusion, a laceration, a sprain or a strain
  • a pain syndrome, including pain that is not resolved within 3 months
  • a psychological or psychiatric condition that does not result in an incapacity,
  • a concussion,
  • TMJ disorder, an injury that involves or surrounds the temporomandibular joint, and
  • certain whiplash associated disorders

If an injury is classified as a minor injury, the amount a person can receive for pain and suffering is limited to $5,500. If the person has more than one minor injury, the combined total pain and suffering award for the minor injuries is $5,500. If the CRT determines that an injury is a minor injury, the total damages for the dispute are presumed to be within the tribunal limit amount for accident claims, which is $50,000.

Even if an injury meets the definition of “minor injury”, it is not a minor injury if it results in a “serious impairment”. A serious impairment means that the person is unable to go to work, school, or care for themselves for more than 12 months after the accident.

We’re reporting monthly with 3 highlights from our implementation work for this new area of jurisdiction. As always, if you have questions or comments, please let us know.