icon - motor vehicle accidents

Motor vehicle injury disputes can be about accident benefits, disputes about damages and fault up to $50,000, and determining whether an injury is a “minor injury”.

Get started with our Solution Explorer! It has free legal information and tools to help you resolve your dispute on your own.

If you can’t resolve your dispute on your own, you may be able to apply for dispute resolution with the CRT. You can apply right from the Solution Explorer. It will send you to the correct application form for your type of dispute.

About CRT jurisdiction

To qualify for this area of jurisdiction, the accident needs to have happened on or after April 1, 2019.

If your accident happened before April 1, 2019, you can apply for dispute resolution under our small claims jurisdiction. The most you can claim is $5,000. The Solution Explorer will send you to the correct application form.

 

Have questions? Read on…

Read this FAQ in Chinese simplified (司法管辖权 ), Chinese traditional (司法管轄權), Persian (صلاحیت قضایی سی‌آرتی) and Punjabi (ਸੀ ਆਰ ਟੀ ਦਾ ਅਧਿਕਾਰ ਖੇਤਰ).

About the CRT

  • Is the CRT the same as a court?

    The CRT is an administrative tribunal, not a court. But like a court, the CRT is part of the public justice system, its tribunal members are independent and neutral, and it is required to apply the law and make enforceable decisions.

    The CRT has jurisdiction over most MVI disputes, as well as strata property disputes, small claims under $5,000 and soon, societies and cooperative association disputes.

    In most cases, you have to use the CRT and not the court to resolve disputes in these areas.

  • Who will decide my dispute?

    If you can’t reach an agreement, an independent CRT member will decide your dispute.

    All CRT members are expert decision-makers and are appointed after an extensive merit-based competition process.

    CRT members deciding MVI disputes are lawyers with expertise in personal injury law.

  • Are CRT members employed by ICBC?

    No. CRT members are independent and appointed by the provincial government, based on recommendations by the CRT Chair, after an extensive , merit-based competition.

    The competition includes strict application criteria, intensive screening, an anonymously evaluated decision-writing exercise, a panel interview, reference checks, and other due diligence.

    In addition, all CRT tribunal members must follow the CRT Code of Conduct.

About accessibility and fairness

  • What are you doing to make sure the CRT is accessible and fair?

    Inclusivity is a core value at the CRT. We work closely with community legal advocates to make sure the CRT is accessible for everyone, particularly people with barriers to navigating the justice system.

    We also test our legal information, online tools, and forms with everyday members of the public to make sure they are clear and understandable.

    After participants have resolved their dispute, we ask them about their experience and use their feedback to improve. Read how participants rate the CRT’s fairness, timeliness, and accessibility.

    Here are some of the things we do to make sure the CRT is as inclusive and accessible as possible:

    • Offering free telephone interpretation in 200 languages including several Indigenous languages.
    • Providing multilingual information sheets in Punjabi, Persian, and simplified and traditional Chinese.
    • Designing all our forms, rules, and online tools in partnership with community advocates.
    • Providing the free Solution Explorer with plain language legal information, template letters and other tools to help people understand and resolve their dispute.
    • Writing all our legal and process information at about a Grade 6 – 8 reading level so they are easy to understand.
    • Asking on our application form if a person needs special accommodation due to literacy or language issues, visual or hearing impairments, mental health issues, or other circumstances, and working with parties to accommodate their needs.
    • Offering a simple and fast fee waiver process, developed in partnership with advocates for people with low income.
    • Training our staff in cultural competence and mental health issues.
    • Encouraging parties to use a lawyer or other helper if needed, with referrals to low-cost or free legal services.
    • Providing service through paper, telephone, online, and in-person at 61 Service BC locations.
  • What if the other side in my dispute has a lawyer and I don't?

    We designed the CRT so you can represent yourself in your dispute, without needing to hire a lawyer. The Solution Explorer has free, plain language legal information and tools to help you better understand your dispute and help you resolve it.

    You can also have a lawyer represent you in MVI disputes without the CRT’s permission. For other disputes, you will need the CRT’s permission to have a lawyer, but you can use a helper in any kind of dispute without the CRT’s permission. Read about helpers and representatives.

    Here are some options for low-cost legal advice:

    • The CBABC’s Lawyer Referral Service may be able to put you in touch with a lawyer who will provide a 30-minute consultation for a nominal fee.
    • Access Pro Bono operates clinics around British Columbia that offer free legal services to those who qualify.

Definitions, jurisdiction, and time limits

  • What are accident benefits?

    Accident benefits are included in basic vehicle insurance coverage. This insurance will usually be with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). If you’re from another province, you will have a different insurer.

    There are four main types of accident benefits:

    • Medical benefits
    • Disability for homemakers
    • Income replacement
    • Funeral and survivor benefits, if someone died because of a motor vehicle accident

    You can claim benefits if the accident happened within Canada or the USA. You can receive benefits even if the accident was your fault. Whether you’re entitled to benefits can depend on regulations and whether you meet the definition of “insured”.

    The limitation period for an accident benefits claim is usually 2 years from the date of the accident. But it might be longer. This is set out in the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation.

    If you don’t agree with the insurer’s assessment about accident benefits, you can make a claim with the CRT. The CRT can decide:

    • If you should receive benefits
    • If benefits should continue
    • If benefits should start again after being cut off

    Use the Solution Explorer to learn more, explore your options, and apply for CRT dispute resolution.

  • What is a minor injury and what does it mean if my injury is minor?

    Minor injuries are defined in legislation. A “minor injury” is a physical or mental injury that doesn’t result in a serious impairment or permanent disfigurement. This could include:

    • Bruising or cuts
    • A sprain or strain
    • Concussion
    • Certain whiplash-associated disorders
    • Pain syndrome, including pain that isn’t resolved within 3 months
    • Psychological or psychiatric condition that doesn’t result in incapacity
    • TMJ disorder

    It’s not a minor injury if you’re assessed with a “serious impairment”. A serious impairment is when you’re unable to work, go to school, or care for yourself for more than 12 months after the accident.

    The full definition of a minor injury is in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act and regulations. Learn more about legislation.

    Only the CRT can decide whether an injury is minor. The insurer or a healthcare provider can’t do it. The court can’t make a minor injury determination either.

    If you make a claim with the CRT for both a minor injury determination and compensation (“damages”), the CRT will make the minor injury determination first.

    Use the Solution Explorer to learn more, explore your options, and apply for CRT dispute resolution.

  • What are damages?

    “Damages” can compensate you for things not covered by accident benefits.

    Depending on your injuries and estimated recovery, a damages claim could cover things like:

    • Pain and suffering
    • Past income loss
    • Future income loss
    • Future care costs
    • Out-of-pocket expenses
    • Property damage to your vehicle, or things inside your vehicle at the time of the accident

    If you’re not sure you qualify for other types of damages, you may want to get professional advice.

    The CRT can award up to $50,000 for total damages.

    If the CRT decides that your injury is minor, then compensation for the pain and suffering part of your claim is limited to $5,500.

    Damages are based on who was at fault for the accident. For example, if you were found to be 50% at fault for the accident, you can only be awarded 50% of your claimed amount for damages.

    Use the Solution Explorer to learn more, explore your options, and apply for CRT dispute resolution.

  • Who decides fault for an accident?

    Fault is who is responsible for the accident. Insurers make an initial assessment of fault. They base it on evidence.

    Evidence can include statements by each party, photos of damage and the accident scene, police reports, and witness statements.

    If you make a claim with the CRT for damages and there’s a disagreement between you and the insurer about fault, the CRT will decide this issue.

    The CRT is not bound by the insurer’s assessment of fault.

    Use the Solution Explorer to learn more, explore your options, and apply for CRT dispute resolution.

  • Is there a time limit for applying for CRT dispute resolution?

    Yes. If you have a legal claim that can go to a court or a tribunal, the case almost always has to be started within a set period of time. After this time runs out, a court or tribunal can refuse your claim, no matter how strong your case would have been.

    The time limit is called a “limitation period.” It’s like a countdown. You must start your case with the CRT or a court before the limitation period runs out.

    Learn more about limitation periods.

  • What if I need more time to evaluate my injuries?

    Motor vehicle accidents can be complex. It may take a while for the full extent of someone’s injuries from an accident to be known.

    The CRT’s first priority is fairness. We want to make fair, timely decisions about disputes, and the CRT process will have timelines to ensure this. But sometimes, making a fair decision might mean taking more time to get medical information or evaluation. In those cases, a party can ask the CRT for a time extension, or for the dispute to be put on hold.

  • What if ICBC tries to start a CRT dispute before my injuries are fully known?

    It might be concerning to think about an insurer starting a CRT dispute before you know the extent of your injuries. What if your injuries get worse?

    Most of the time, it will be up to the injured party to start legal proceedings for a motor vehicle accident.

    We don’t expect insurers to start CRT disputes, except in very limited circumstances. For example, an injured party might start a court proceeding but there is the outstanding issue of whether an injury is a “minor injury”. In that case, the insurer would need to apply to the CRT to make a minor injury determination.

    It is important to pay attention to any limitation period that might apply to your dispute.

  • What if I have multiple accidents, and one is within the CRT's jurisdiction but the other isn't?

    The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act allows a court to decide that it is not in the interests of justice and fairness for the CRT to resolve a dispute that is within the specialized expertise of the tribunal. For example, disputes about damages and liability are within the CRT’s specialized expertise.

    If there are complicating factors in your situation, such as multiple accidents where one is being handled through a BC Supreme Court proceeding, you might be able to ask the court to decide that it is not in the interests of justice and fairness for the CRT to adjudicate your other accidents. The factors that the court can consider are set out in section 16.2 of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act.

    This situation involves many considerations. You may want to get legal advice before making any decisions.

  • Can I be reimbursed for dispute fees and expenses?

    In general, the CRT can order that a successful party be reimbursed for their reasonable dispute-related expenses, including CRT fees.

    However, the Accident Claims Regulation under the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act sets limits on expert evidence, independent medical examinations, and allowable expenses for disputes under the CRT’s motor vehicle injury jurisdiction.

    These limits apply to disputes about:

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

     

    Expert Evidence

    A party can submit expert evidence from 1 expert as part of their evidence for a dispute under the CRT’s accident claims jurisdiction.

    A party can also ask the CRT for permission to use up to 2 more experts. In deciding whether to allow the party to use additional experts, the CRT will consider whether the additional expert evidence is reasonably necessary and proportionate to the claim.

     

    Independent Medical Examinations

    For a dispute under the CRT’s accident claims jurisdiction, the CRT may appoint an expert to conduct an independent medical examination (IME).

    A medical expert who conducts an IME is asked to give their independent opinion on the party’s injuries. This might include the nature and extent of the injuries, the diagnosis, and the expected recovery.

     

    Allowable Expenses

    There are limits on the amount the CRT may require a party to pay another party for their dispute-related expenses including expert reports, independent medical examinations, CRT fees, and legal fees.

    Here’s a summary of these limits:

    CategoryAmountDescription
    Fees, expenses and charges$5,000The CRT may require one party to pay another party up to $5,000 for fees, expenses and charges. This includes tribunal fees, expert fees, and legal fees. It does not include fees associated with an independent medical examination.
    Experts$2,000The CRT may require one party to pay to another party up to $2,000 for each expert. This is included in the $5,000 limit per dispute for all fees, expenses and charges.
    Independent Medical Examinations$2,000The CRT may require one party to pay to another party up to $2,000 for expenses and charges associated with an independent medical examination, plus reasonable travel and out-of-pocket expenses. This amount is not included in the $5,000 limit per dispute for all other fees, expenses and charges.

Applying for CRT dispute resolution

  • What kind of motor vehicle injury disputes can the CRT resolve?

    On April 1, 2019 the CRT will start resolving many motor vehicle accident injury (MVI) disputes in British Columbia.

    This includes disputes about your entitlement to accident benefits, disputes about damages and fault up to $50,000, and determining whether an injury is a “minor injury”.

  • Do I have to try to settle with ICBC first?

    You might get a faster resolution if you negotiate a settlement with the insurer. But if you can’t reach a settlement on your own, the CRT is here to help.

  • Can I apply if the accident happened outside BC?

    Yes. If the accident happened outside BC, you can make a claim under our small claims jurisdiction. But the most you can claim is $5,000.

    The Solution Explorer for motor vehicle accidents will guide you through this.

  • Can I apply if the accident happened before April 1, 2019?

    Yes. If the accident happened before April 1, 2019, you can make a claim under our small claims jurisdiction. But the most you can claim is $5,000.

    The Solution Explorer for motor vehicle accidents will guide you through this.

  • Can I have a lawyer represent me?

    Yes. For most motor vehicle injury claims made on or after April 1, 2019, you can have a lawyer represent you. But in some cases, you may need to ask the CRT for permission.

    Our application form will guide you through this process.

  • Can I apply on behalf of my child or teenager?

    Under BC law, a child is someone under the age of 19.

    A child can only participate in the CRT process through a litigation guardian. A litigation guardian is someone 19 years or older.

    A parent or legal guardian will often be the litigation guardian.

    Learn more about litigation guardians.

  • Do you think my dispute will be successful?

    The CRT is an independent, neutral decision maker. Our staff can’t provide legal advice or tell you how likely you are to succeed.

    If you need advice about your chances of success, you may want to get professional advice from a lawyer or legal services provider before applying for CRT dispute resolution.

  • How long does the dispute resolution process take?

    The CRT aims to resolve disputes as fairly, quickly, and affordably as possible. But every dispute is different.

    The time to resolve a dispute depends on whether the parties can reach an agreement earlier in the process, and the amount of issues and evidence in the dispute.

Reaching an agreement

  • What if I don’t want to negotiate?

    The negotiation process is voluntary, and you don’t have to participate in it.

    But if you reach a negotiated agreement, your application fee will be refunded and your agreement will be turned into an enforceable court order.

  • Do I have to participate in facilitation?

    Yes. Parties are required to participate in facilitation, where a case manager will help you try to reach an agreement.

    If you can’t reach an agreement, an independent CRT member will make an enforceable decision about your dispute.

    The exception is claims for a minor injury determination. These don’t usually go through negotiation or facilitation.

Getting a decision

  • Who will decide my dispute?

    If you can’t reach an agreement, an independent CRT member will decide your dispute.

    All CRT members are expert decision-makers and are appointed after an extensive merit-based competition process.

    CRT members deciding MVI disputes are lawyers with expertise in personal injury law.

  • When and where will hearings be held for my dispute?

    CRT hearings are almost always done in writing. This means both parties upload their evidence online, and submit their side of the story in writing.

  • Will the decision and my name be made public?

    In most cases, yes. The Civil Resolution Tribunal Act requires that final decisions and orders must be posted to the CRT’s website, where they are available to the public.

    But if a party or witness is concerned that information in a final decision or order would be harmful to their privacy or security, they may request that this information be redacted or anonymized.

    Generally, if a decision involves a minor or similarly vulnerable person, the CRT will anonymize the decision or take other steps to protect the vulnerable person’s privacy.

After a decision

Have a question we didn’t answer? Contact us!