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You’ve had a car accident at work – so do you have to make a claim through WCB (Worksafe)? Or do you have the option to make a claim through ICBC? What are the pros and cons of each type of claim?
There are some circumstances when a person should make a claim through WCB if they are in a car accident while working. These circumstances include:
• Being involved in a single vehicle collision (for example, your car has run off the road and struck a tree) when nobody else is at fault, or;
• Being injured by another motorist who was also operating their vehicle as part of their work at the time of the accident, or;
• Being at fault for the accident themselves.
When a worker is injured in a car accident while working, and the person who caused the accident was not working at the time, then that worker can choose whether to claim through either WCB, or ICBC. That is, they have the option, or what we call an election.
If you must make a claim through WCB, then WCB should be expected to pay for:
• All of the reasonable (in Worksafe’s opinion) rehabilitation expenses, and;
• 90% of the wage loss experienced after the accident.
However, many people become frustrated with the WCB process and find that they do not receive the medical treatment they need because WCB terminates benefits. WCB may argue that the condition was preexisting the accident, or that the injuries have become permanent and therefore do not qualify as an ongoing claim. Many people are shocked to discover that any injuries persisting for more than 6 months are considered permanent by WCB. Seemingly endless reviews and appeals are not uncommon in WCB claims, and injured workers often simply give up on the process out of frustration.
On the other hand, if the accident was not the fault of the injured worker, there may be advantages to making an ICBC claim instead of a WCB claim. By making an ICBC claim a person not at fault for their injuries could expect to recover:
• All of their medical expenses;
• 100% of their wage loss (both past wage losses as well as expected future wage losses); and
• Compensation for pain and suffering (often a significant award that is not available from WCB).
Additional monies for pain and suffering can be thousands of dollars per month for each month the injury persists.
However, this compensation must wait until your ICBC claim is fully resolved through either settlement or a court judgment. In other, words, if you elect to go through ICBC when you could have made a WCB claim, ICBC does not have to pay you any wage loss or medical expenses until your claim is fully settled or heard by the court. On that note, it is important to appreciate two things:
1. Almost all (98%) of cases settle without going to court, and;
2. Some law firms, such as ours, pay for the medical expenses that ICBC does not pay for until your claim is resolved.
When a person is not at fault for an accident, total compensation received from making an ICBC claim will typically be far greater than making a WCB claim, but a person will have to wait longer for that compensation. That said, when recovering from any injury, being patient is always the best strategy.
If you have a question about this issue, or another legal topic, please contact us for a free consultation. We may be reached at 250-888-0002 or via email at email@example.com – we are Victoria, BC based and serve clients across BC.