Province quietly releases major changes to ICBC injury payouts
The B.C. government chose a Friday afternoon before a long weekend to release the details of major changes to the way ICBC pays out injury claims.
The NDP says the new restrictions for drivers hurt in a crash are needed, as accident and injury claims have soared. The announcement came two days after it was revealed that ICBC executives still received hefty bonuses despite a situation Attorney General David Eby referred to as a "financial dumpster fire."
Highlights of the new policies include a cap of $5,500 on payouts for pain and suffering for minor injuries starting in April. A concussion that does not incapacitate someone is included in the updated definition of "minor injury."
However, the limit that can be claimed for medical care and expenses increases from $150,000 to $300,000.
ICBC says the average payouts for pain and suffering for minor injuries is $16,500.
The province says it's adding new and increased accident benefits such as wage loss, which will also come into effect on April 1.
It claims the changes will cost an estimated $200 million each year, but will be offset by a savings of $1.2 billion annually through reduced legal costs, the payout limits and a new dispute resolution model.
More information on the changes is available on the province's website.
Critics are slamming the NDP over the updates.
"The cap this government has introduced – it's the most oppressive, draconian cap of all those in Canada," lawyer J. Scott Stanley said Friday.
"Prior to the election, the NDP is on the record and in writing saying that we're not going to go to a system where we take away people's rights. They were telling them that's exactly what the Liberals were going to do. But here it is, that's what the NDP is doing."
With files from CTV Vancouver's Scott Hurst