BCCOM’S STANCE ON NO-FAULT INSURANCE
ICBC and the BC Government are proposing to bring no-fault auto insurance to British Columbia and have what is described as an enhanced care model, and in their own words “will see that British Colombians hurt in a crash will have access to significantly enhanced medical care and recovery benefits. Proposing to again increase wage loss payments to $1,200 per week, an increase of approximately 60%, including benefits for students, caregivers, those working in the family business or approaching retirement who suffer income loss following a crash. As well, the most seriously injured will get even more care, including a new permanent impairment benefit which will provide financial compensation of up to $250,000“.
Cheaper insurance sounds good to everyone in BC right? The small print that isn’t being talked about is what we here at BCCOM are having issues with. Two out of three motorcycle accidents are the non-motorcyclists fault. Motorcyclists are extremely vulnerable and receive and sustain much more severe injuries from even the smallest of motor vehicle accidents. The feedback we have received from BCCOM members and motorcyclists about the news of a possible no-fault system in BC, is one of great concern.
Concern that if you are in an accident and don’t feel you’re being offered fair compensation, and don’t feel you’re being provided the right or proper care it is left to the sole discretion of the adjuster alone. If you wish to argue the outcome, you do it on your own with another person who is on the same team as ICBC, working to preserve no-fault funds. Motorcyclists suffer severe injuries and should be given the option to opt-out of no fault insurance. Saying that someone’s life long trauma from an accident is worth zero compensation for pain and suffering, is quite honestly heart breaking.
This new no-fault system rewards bad drivers by lowering the amount of consequences for bad driving, it makes insurance cheaper and easier to get but at a great cost to those more susceptible to serious injuries. More and more young drivers are choosing to go the route of a motorcycle for their main mode of transportation and if they are in a serious accident and are no longer able to work like they had before, they are not entitled to compensation for potential earnings loss in the future. Moreover, young persons, those with inconsistent income history cannot establish fair income loss entitlement in a system governed by regulation rather than system that works for the betterment of individuals. There is a cap for everyone of $62,000/ yr in total compensation. You will no longer be entitled to be put in the same financial position you were in before the accident and will only receive the maximum amount stated above if ICBC accepts your claim. Alberta and Manitoba are being used in this narrative for how we can make the change to no fault system, a “they did it, so can we” explanation. The BIG difference being, this is British Columbia and the cost of living here is higher than the rest of Canada, not everyone would be able to survive off the yearly maximum compensation allotted to you.
BCCOM has always believed in the right to choose, and for that alone we don’t believe in bringing in a new insurance policy that takes away your right to choose legal counsel. We will continue to advocate for a government which supports the right to pursue civil remedy whether it be opting out of no-fault by moving to privatization or by maintaining our current system with changes that ultimately allows the courts to award fair and just compensation to all injured.