How do I Know When to File a Car Accident Claim through WorkSafeBC vs ICBC?

July 19, 2016

If you were injured while on the job, you may want to consider applying for benefits under WorkSafeBC. However, sometimes it can be difficult to determine if an injury as a result of a car accident would fall under the requirements for WorkSafeBC or ICBC, particularly if it is unclear whether the task you were engaged in was of a working nature. Depending on the circumstances, ICBC may be more suitable for your case. By entrusting the assistance of a personal injury lawyer in Surrey at Spraggs & Co., we can assist you with this determination and the processes you will need to follow to file a claim.

WorkSafeBC vs. ICBC – What are the Differences?

The worker’s compensation system in British Columbia provides benefits to workers who are injured while “in the course of employment.” Simply put, if you are injured while working and you experience a loss of income or incur a treatment expense, you are entitled to benefits from WorkSafeBC.

Fault is not a determining factor in this situation. Regardless of whether it might have been your fault, your employer’s fault, or a co-worker’s fault, if you qualify, you are entitled to benefits from WorkSafeBC. These benefits are sometimes referred to as “no-fault” benefits.

If your injury happened to be due to the negligence of a co-worker or employer, it doesn’t matter how egregious the negligence might have been – you are unable hold them accountable with a lawsuit. Worker/worker and worker/employer injury lawsuits are barred in the Province of British Columbia. For example, if the collision was due to the negligence of another person who is on the job, such as a taxi driver, your recourse is solely with WorkSafeBC because of the bar against worker/worker injury lawsuits.

On the other hand, if the offending driver was not in the course of employment, you will have a choice. You can pursue your WorkSafeBC benefits or you can pursue a claim against the offending driver (against ICBC) the same as if you had not been working at the time of the crash. The best course of action will be dependent upon your individual circumstances. If you are in Surrey, Burnaby, Coquitlam or any of the surrounding areas, and are looking to learn more about your options in such a case, Spraggs & Co. can help.

WorkSafeBC Accident Benefits

According to the Workers Compensation Act of British Columbia WorkSafeBC compensation benefit payments are provided to you if:

  1. You are an injured worker or the dependant of a fatally injured worker; and
  2. The injury or death in question has arisen out of and in the course of employment.

A work-related injury constitutes an injury that arises during the course of employment. In order to be eligible for WorkSafe BC accident benefits, your injuries must have occurred during the hours of employment and must have resulted from duties relating to the job. For example, if you are employed as a truck driver and while completing a delivery and you were injured in an accident, you will be covered by WorkSafeBC.

Most workers in British Columbia are covered – whether they’re working full time, part time, on contract, as a casual laborer or as required the principals or owners of a company. If you are uncertain about your coverage, check with your employer or contact WorkSafeBC directly.

WorkSafe BC Claim Procedure

When reporting an injury and filing a claim, there are two ways this can be done. One is to complete an ‘Application for Compensation’ (Form 6) and the other is to file the claim over the telephone by speaking to an Entitlement Officer at the WorkSafe BC’s “Teleclaim Contact Centre.”

Upon reporting your claim, your injuries are assessed by WorkSafeBC to determine if your injuries were indeed work-related. During this assessment, WorkSafeBC decide based on reports from you – the injured worker, your employer and the attending physician. Once your claim is accepted, you will start receiving WorkSafeBC benefits in accordance with the Workers Compensation Act. The type of benefits awarded will depend on the nature of the injury and the work.

The types of benefits that may be available from WorkSafeBC are as follows:

  • Health care benefits, such as medical services and supplies required to help you recover from your compensable injury and assist in your return to work. Some treatment services that may be compensated include naturopathic and chiropractic services, physiotherapy, or specialist services.
  • Wage loss benefits – based on 90 percent of your average net earnings; and
  • Permanent disability and death benefits.

When Would I File an ICBC Claim Instead?

If you were injured in a car accident where you were not in the course of work, you may be eligible to make a personal injury claim under ICBC. In such case applies to you, you may be entitled to:

  • ICBC Accident Benefits (sometimes called Part 7 Accident Benefits, “no-fault” benefits or recovery benefits); and
  • Damages or compensation for losses caused by the negligence of another (a tort claim).

If you are an injured driver or passenger of a vehicle licensed and insured in BC, you can claim “no-fault” benefits even if you are partly or fully responsible for the accident provided that you meet the conditions of insurance.

If the accident was not your fault (or only partly your fault) you can claim damages that cover a number of things, including: pain and suffering, lost wages (past and future), out of pocket losses, medical care and rehabilitation. If you were found partly responsible for the accident, the money value of the damages is reduced by the percentage you were at-fault. For example, if you were 25 percent to at fault for the accident, your damages (money compensation) would be reduced by 25 percent.

At Spraggs & Co., our car accident lawyers have been serving residents of Surrey and surrounding areas for over 35 years. Our team will work with you to fully understand your situation and provide recommendations for ICBC or WorkSafeBC. As well, we will take the time to keep you on track with the necessary forms and deadlines required for the case.

ICBC Claim Procedure

To secure your right to make a claim for Part 7 Accident Benefits and/or damages there are a number of steps you must complete and time limits that you must meet. The British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act and regulations require you to report the accident to the police and ICBC as soon as possible and within 30 days to preserve your right to apply for accident benefits.

ICBC pays out tort compensation according to established BC case law, which sets out damages that you might expect to receive based on situations with some similarity. These damages are broken down into “heads of damages” or categories, such as pain and suffering, medical expenses and rehabilitation, past income loss and future income loss.

Contact us at Spraggs & Co. Injury Lawyers in Surrey

If you need a car accident lawyer in Surrey, we can help you with your case. Our lawyers can explain which laws apply to your unique situation and whether your claim should be filed with WorkSafeBC or ICBC or if you have a choice. Contact us today for a trusted, professional opinion at 1-866-939-3339.

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