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There is a common mistake made by people when dealing with an ICBC child injury claim. The mistake is about when a minor, that is someone under the age of 19, loses the right to claim for ICBC benefits after an accident. Many people know that after a car accident, ICBC must provide rehabilitation benefits and a partial wage loss replacement. These benefits include payment of some chiropractic and physiotherapy treatment, and wage loss benefits of up to $1,200 per month. These are called “no fault” benefits because a person is entitled to them even if they were at fault for the accident.
Many people also know that if they have been injured as a result of someone else’s fault, that they have two years to start a court action to preserve their right to be compensated for the injuries. This is called a limitation period. In BC, the Limitation Act provides, in simple terms, that a person has two years from the day they discover they have been harmed to start that court action. In most accident cases, like car accidents, this is from the date of the accident because that is the date it is obvious you have been injured
Importantly, the Limitation Act also provides that for a minor, again in BC that is someone under the age of 19, their limitation period of two years does not start to run until their 19th birthday. This is because a minor is under what is is called a “legal disability” and their right to sue cannot be prejudiced while they are a minor.
Many people do not know, however, that a two year limitation period also applies in respect of the right to make ICBC pay for no fault benefits. That is, if ICBC has refused to pay for no fault benefits, perhaps because they believed the injuries were not caused by the car accident but rather from some other event, then there is only two years from the date of the accident or the last day ICBC paid benefits, to preserve the limitation period by filing court documents.
Importantly, when it comes to an ICBC child injury claim, the same rule that the running of a minor’s right to sue for compensation doesn’t start to run until their 19th birthday, does not apply to no fault benefits. In other words, a minor, even someone who is 10 years old for example, must sue ICBC within two years of the accident date or the last day they received no fault benefits, or their right to those benefits will be forever lost.
Parents of children injured in an motor vehicle accident should bear this in mind when making their ICBC child injury claim, because parents are responsible to protect the legal rights of their children.
I hope you have learned something about the law from this blog.
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