British Columbia’s Law Covering The Capping of Awards

British Columbia caps the size of the award, if the victim has only a minor injury. The capping law was put in force after April 1, 2019.

Details on the cap:

The cap applies to the award for pain and suffering. That award cannot exceed $5,500. The cap does not apply to medical expenses, the loss of income, or any other losses. The plaintiff must count on the skills of a hired lawyer, in order to increase the size of his or her monetary compensation.

What are the characteristics of a minor injury?

It does not result in impairment of some body part, or in a serious and permanent disfigurement of some region of the body. An injury that managed to cause a permanent impairment or disfigurement would qualify as a major medical problem. Victims with a major injury do not have to worry about having a cap imposed on the award granted by the court.

How does any claimant’s injury get classed as either minor or major?

Initially, ICBC decides on how to class a claimant’s injury. It decides whether that condition qualifies as a minor or a major injury. Still, a claimant has the right to dispute ICBC’s decision.

If a claimant has disputed ICBC’s decision, regarding the severity of a claimant’s injury, then the 2 sides must await a ruling from the Civil Resolution Tribunal. In other words, that Tribunal has the final say, regarding how a given injury gets classed.

Does the Civil Resolution Tribunal determine how large an award a given plaintiff can receive?

No, the capping of the award for pain and suffering does not apply to the other awards. A plaintiff can still win compensation for loss of income, for medical expenses and for any other losses. Of course, plaintiffs cannot win such an award on their own. Each of them needs to hire a lawyer that can present an argument that should encourage the court to award a sizeable compensation for medical expenses or loss of income. Admittedly, that is no easy task.

An income loss can easily be calculated. Still, the court might be asked to arrange for payment of the plaintiff’s loss of an earnings potential. The plaintiff’s Personal Injury Lawyer in Kelowna would need to make that request. If the request were honored, then the plaintiff would get granted a larger compensation.

Of course, if ICBC were to show that one of the plaintiff’s acts could be classified as contributory negligence, then ICBC would have grounds for asking that the plaintiff’s award get reduced. That reduction should then be in proportion to the degree to which the plaintiff’s actions managed to deviate from the safety standards that both drivers and passengers should obey.