ICBC changes will impact cross-border personal injury claims

On April 1, specific changes took effect in the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia car insurance regulations. These changes could severely impact the outcome of any claims that follow car accidents. It could be even more daunting to obtain benefits in a case of cross-border personal injury that happens while Vancouver residents are visiting Seattle or other destinations south of the border.

Although ICBC car insurance is said to be a no-fault system that pays benefits regardless of who was at fault, there are limits. Also, ICBC announced that the safety records of drivers would determine the rates they pay. Drivers with records of risky behaviour such as speeding and distracted driving will pay higher premiums than those who are regarded as safe drivers.

Further changes include a $5,500 cap on claims for pain and suffering for minor injuries, and disputes in claims up to $50,000 will be referred to an online Civil Resolution Tribunal. Improvements include increased benefits for accident victims who cannot return to work, including easier access to home support. There will also be expanded options for treatment of accident injuries, which will apply for counselling, acupuncture, physiotherapy and massage therapy.

These are but some of the changes that will affect crash victims. Anyone who suffers cross-border personal injury will benefit from retaining the services of a British Columbia personal injury lawyer who is also registered in Washington state. Legal counsel who is familiar with the laws and insurance systems on both sides of the border will increase an accident victim's chances to recover economic and noneconomic damages.

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