'Someone needs to be accountable': B.C. woman speaks out against ICBC's no-fault insurance
After surviving a horrific crash last summer, Lisa Brustolin says she continues to live a nightmare.
“Part of me died that night,” the 38-year-old told CTV News Vancouver.
On the night of July 16, 2022, she was in Maple Ridge, driving to her Port Coquitlam home when a sedan crossed into her lane, hitting her head-on on Lougheed Highway near 280 Street.
The other driver, a 20-year-old man, and his 18-year-old passenger died at the scene.
The impact of the crash split his vehicle in half.
Brustolin’s SUV was found crumpled in a ditch.
She had to be airlifted to hospital, where she spent two weeks in the trauma unit with a broken collarbone, rib, arm and heel, as well as a leg wound that required stiches and a sprained ankle.
“Every limb was affected at some point,” she said. “The quality of life has diminished significantly.”
Ridge Meadows RCMP continue to investigate the cause of the crash, but under ICBC’s no-fault system, Brustolin has little to no options to pursue fair compensation from an at-fault driver.
“I just keep thinking how unjust and unfair the whole no-fault system is. I feel like it's essentially penalizing the victims of these accidents,” Brustolin said.
“This is what the consequences are of wanting cheaper insurance.”
ICBC introduced the no-fault system, Enhanced Care, in May 2021. Drivers can receive benefits for medical care and rehabilitation expenses, income replacement covering 90 per cent of net wages up to $105,500 and personal care assistance benefits.
So far in Brustolin’s case, ICBC said it has paid for 77 treatments, travel and rehabilitation totalling $11,261 under the permanent impairment benefit.
“We’re doing everything we can to support her in her recovery and ensure she receives all of the benefits available under Enhanced Care,” Lindsay Wilkins, an ICBC spokesperson, wrote in an email. “Under the former litigation-based model, there is no certainty Ms. Brustolin would be receiving the care and recovery she needs now and over her lifetime.”
Brustolin continues to suffer pain, as her strength and mobility have been severely impacted from the collision.
She says there is no guarantee she will continue to receive these benefits, and she does not know how long they will last.
“I was told as long as it's medically beneficial, they will cover it. The minute they deem an appointment to be maintenance, they will not cover it,” she said.
Most of all, she wants the opportunity to go to court. She says she’s called 26 lawyers and they all told her that, under the no-fault system, she would not get that opportunity.
“Someone needs to be accountable for that because you can't just walk up to someone, punch them, and then just walk away and say, ‘Well, I cut my hand, so I'm gonna get the same care as you,’ and just wipe your hands clean and walk away like it never happened,” she said.
She would like to see the no-fault system get an overhaul, arguing it should not apply to every crash in the province.
In a typical fender bender with no serious injuries, she says she sees the value of the new model to prevent large settlements, but in collisions such as her own where people suffer life-altering injuries, there should be exceptions made.
“So many other people who are in these accidents don't have the opportunity to sue for pain and suffering, and the future financial trauma that we’ll no doubt have to endure,” she said.
As an insurance agent herself, she says she wants to share her story to bring greater awareness to the no-fault system.
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