Real Stories

Dear Mr. Eby, 

Medical experts hired by ICBC or the plaintiff are obligated by the rules of court to provide unbiased evidence and not to be an advocate for either side. 

In its self-interest, ICBC endeavors to get around this obligation by hiring medical or surgical specialists whose expertise lies outside the field relevant to the case. In so doing, the Corporation does not obtain sound advice on which claims it should be settling and which claims it should litigate. 

Imagine this: an individual with soft tissue injuries from a motor vehicle accident presents with physical, emotional, cognitive and mental issues. ICBC hires an orthopedic surgeon whose expertise lies in hip replacement surgery to advise on the claim. 

Seriously? Yes seriously! This happens all the time. Can you imagine running a complex business by obtaining advice based on what you want to hear rather than what you need to know? The results are sure to lead to a dumpster fire.

Time and time again, I encounter this situation. Claims are taken to court by the Corporation that involve symptoms and physical findings that go beyond the expertise of the Corporation’s medical advisors to evaluate. 

This very often ends in a judicial judgement far in excess of the pre-trial settlement sought by the plaintiff, resulting in a significant additional cost in settling a claim that should never have reached the court room in the first place. 

In pursuing such fruitless litigation, the Corporation has become the architect of its own demise. ICBC very simply needs to do a better job of medically triaging its claims instead of leaving this task largely in the hands of unqualified adjusters who hire surgical specialists lacking the expertise to medically evaluate claims and to provide sage and comprehensive advice to the Corporation on which claims realistically do and do not have medical merit. 

Rather than limiting the hiring of medical experts, in my respectful opinion you should be pressing ICBC to use experts in a constructive rather than self-serving manner. 

Yours sincerely,

John B. Armstrong, MD, PhD

Complex Chronic Pain

Curt K - 2017

Currently, my dad is experiencing a number of soft tissue injuries as a result of being hit on his pedal bike while pulled over on the side of the road. These types of injuries are often life changing (they have been for him) yet diagnosed in vague ways that downplay the severity of physical experience. It is horrifying to think that he may only receive 2500 dollars in compensation as his quality of life will never be the same. On top of that, I've suffered a number of concussions through impact that have completely altered my ability in day to day life. If a similar injury had happened in a car accident would it be classified as a "minor injury?" I really hope that we can collectively fight this to make the people up top rethink this change.

Deborah P - 2012 and 2016

After my first collision I suffered from significant pain and limitation, which was aggravated in my second collision. My neck and my shoulder pain restricted my ability to work and to live. The pain was constant. I knew the benefits of active rehab and therapies which I sought, some relieved pain temporarily, but not permanently.

Life as I knew it changed. My ability to do my job and live the life I had, was limited. I have had to make modifications in order to tailor my life to my injuries. Had there been a no-fault system in BC my injuries would have been capped. Had my injuries been capped, I am afraid I would not have had a full and fair compensation.

Alicia C - 2015

Alicia was a passenger in her husband’s vehicle when they were rear-ended. The driver that hit them fled the scene because his licence was suspended.

Alicia was pregnant when the accident happened. The accident scared her greatly because of her fear it might affect her unborn child; she was nervous about going to physio or massage while she was still pregnant despite her chronic pain and headaches. She missed time off work, and as a result, fell short of the threshold to qualify for maternity EI benefits when the baby was born.

In a cap system, Alicia would have struggled to get fair compensation. Luckily for her, under the current system, she was able to be clear of the financial burdens impacting her life due to the accident.

Harindra's Story

In 2010, Harindra was involved in a collision. Watch her story and find out why she’s against caps.

Harindra's Story

In 2010, Harindra was involved in a collision. Watch her story and find out why she’s against caps.

Casandra's Story

Meet Casandra: In 2009, Casandra was injured in a collision. Watch her story and find out why she’s against injury caps in BC.

Casandra's Story

Meet Casandra: In 2009, Casandra was injured in a collision. Watch her story and find out why she’s against injury caps in BC.

Kim's Story

In 2008, Kim was rear-ended in a seemingly minor collision, but not all injuries are visible. Watch her story and find out why she’s against injury caps in BC.

Kim's Story

In 2008, Kim was rear-ended in a seemingly minor collision, but not all injuries are visible. Watch her story and find out why she’s against injury caps in BC.

Navreen G., Surrey – Injured in an accident in 2014

Navreen was rear-ended on Highway 1 while stopped in traffic, in what appeared at first to be a not-too-serious collision. However, she suffered (and continues to suffer from) chronic soft-tissue neck, back, and shoulder pain and headaches. Experts diagnosed her injuries as permanent.

Navreen missed over a month of work in total and required a lot of treatment – physio, massage, acupuncture, kinesiology, yoga, referral to a chronic pain clinic, counselling, medication, you name it. She continues to attend regular treatments. Fortunately, in ICBC’s existing system, she was able to receive fair treatment and compensation to pay for the continuing treatment costs she will have in the coming years to manage her pain.

Casandra O., Mission – Injured in an accident in 2009

My hands were very badly damaged and they still are from the accident, but I also received a head injury. It became obvious as things went on, I was not going to be able to work. ICBC had refused pretty much to do anything for me.

I’m quite sure my husband and myself and my two children would have been completely destitute had there been a cap placed on my settlement.

Kim L., Kelowna – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2008

As time went by, I just wasn’t getting better. I was getting worse. The only thing I wanted to do was get back to where I was before my accident. When I tried to settle with ICBC, basically I was laughed at. If I had gotten what ICBC had offered me, I would not have been in a good situation at all, I’m really not sure what I would have done.

When I received my compensation, I was just so relieved. It really helped me get back on my feet. I don’t have to worry about doing work that I’m physically not able to do just to keep a roof over my head. And I think that when someone is injured, that the system should be fair.

Li-Chu C., Victoria – Injured while travelling in Ontario in 2012

I am a senior who was injured in a bus accident in Ontario that was caused by a bad driver. Ontario has caps on pain and suffering claims. My five-year head injury was classified as “minor” bruising by the insurance adjuster. The adjuster told me that I deserved nothing. Nothing for pain and suffering. Nothing for an injury that continues to this day, all because of injury caps and it was too hard to challenge. The adjuster closed my file even though today I am still hurting five years later.

I am against injury caps in BC as they will hurt people in BC the same way I was hurt while travelling to Ontario - especially those who are seniors and who are poor or disadvantaged.

Krista L., Port Moody – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2012

At the time of the accident I was 20 years old. I spent a lot of my time snowboarding, wake boarding, hiking and socializing with my friends and working long hours in the hospitality industry. The years following my collision were tough; I battled with ongoing pain in my neck, back, and concussion symptoms. My pain affected my mood, and my mood affected my ambitions and ability to work.

Because of my pain I had to return to work on light duties and lesser hours; ultimately roles that offered less opportunity to make money and less opportunity for progress.

Joel L . – Injured as a cyclist in a motor vehicle accident

Joel L. was struck by a car while riding his bike. His doctors told him he had whiplash disorder and soft tissue injuries to his hip. As a result of his physical injuries, Joel went on to develop depression and anxiety, and for almost one year was unable to work because of his pain. Four years after his accident, Joel’s doctors feel that his physical symptoms are likely to persist into the future. If not for the current system Joel would not have had the right to receive a fair compensation.

Paul D. – Injured in a motor vehicle accident

Paul D. was struck by another vehicle who ran a light at an intersection. Following the accident, his doctors were of the opinion that he was suffering from soft tissue injuries to his neck, upper back and lower back. Paul’s physical injuries also contributed to emotional difficulties and problems with sleep.

Paul was very engaged in his treatment to try and get better – in total he spent more than $10,000 of his own money over more than four years. Despite these efforts, his doctors are of the view that Paul’s symptoms will continue and will not improve in the coming years. If Paul’s compensation was to be capped and did not take into account the ongoing difficulties his symptoms pose for him at work and in his personal life, he would not have been treated fairly for injuries caused by someone else’s dangerous driving.

Diane M., Vancouver – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2012

After the accident, I started having pain in my neck, shoulder, back, hip and at the base of my skull. I started getting headaches and had trouble sleeping, neither of which were problems for me before. I attended all kinds of treatment appointments- after the accident, my time outside work consisted almost exclusively of therapist and doctor appointments — but the pain persisted.

Before the accident, I enjoyed teaching children, caring for animals, and painting. All of these were compromised by the accident: I made enormous accommodations just to survive teaching. Said simply, the years spent in healing are years I will never get back professionally.

Had there been a cap system in place, my injuries would have likely been capped: I would have not received full and fair compensation. I shudder to think where I might be were I not to have gotten compensation!

Amanda L., Vancouver – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2015

Before the collisions I lived a relatively happy, healthy, and active lifestyle. I would work long hours, evenings and weekends. Following the collisions, I suffered injuries to my neck, shoulder, and back.

These injuries have had a profound impact on my social, vocational, and recreational lifestyle. I have worked as a restoration cleaner for most of my life attending residential properties that had been damaged from floods or fires – this is a highly physical job. I tried to return to work, first on light duties. I was soon transferred into an administrative role, however the prolonged sitting caused me significant pain. I am no longer able to work the long hours I once did, or pick up shifts as I did before the collisions – I have suffered financially as a result.

As a result of the current system I was able to receive fair and full compensation that took into consideration the entirety of my situation.

Melody Y., Surrey – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2013

Melody was hit by a vehicle that ran a red light at an intersection in Surrey. She sustained soft tissue injuries, headaches, and symptoms of anxiety and depression which prevented her from working for several weeks. She was able to return to work however has still been living with pain from her soft tissue injuries more than 4 years after the accident. This pain affects her personal life, and continues to affect her ability to perform her job duties effectively.

If Melody’s compensation was to be limited or capped, she would not have been treated fairly. Melody, like many other injured people in BC, would end up paying the cost for someone else’s dangerous driving.

Maria R., Vancouver – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2014

Maria was injured in a car accident in Coquitlam when a distracted driver plowed into her vehicle from behind. This accident changed her life. The doctors diagnosed her with “soft tissue injuries” but her pain never went away.  After a few months, she had to sell her restaurant that she built from the ground up. Maria’s restaurant was the source of her passion and also her livelihood which was taken away from her due to the actions of a distracted driver.

ICBC told Maria she was in a “minor” accident. If there was a damage cap on Maria’s case, her losses would not have been close to being covered. The impact of the accident was unique and cannot be measured by the “yard stick” proposed by ICBC.

Sean S., Pitt Meadows – Injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2014

In 2014 Sean was in a vehicle that was struck head on by oncoming traffic in Pitt Meadows. He suffered life-changing injuries, some of which would be characterized as soft-tissue. Sean had to quit his physical job and is struggling to make ends meet with odd jobs on the side. The lives of Sean and his two young children have been irreparably altered because of his injuries. Fortunately, the compensation he received helped bring him back on his feet and ease the struggles struggles brought on by the accident.

If there had been a cap on Sean’s damages, he would have been left virtually destitute by the accident.

Marisa T., Burnaby – Injured as a passenger in 2014

Marisa was a 29-year old student on her way to get lunch with her brother in Burnaby. She was riding as a passenger as her brother entered an intersection with the benefit of a green light. Another vehicle turned left in front of their vehicle and a collision ensued. Following her accident, she missed about one month of work, and had difficulties concentrating on her studies.

Marisa suffered soft tissue injuries, primarily to her neck and back that have continue to plague her for years after the accident. While ICBC would classify her injury as soft tissue or “minor”, it certainly is not to her as they have affected every aspect of her life. A cap would unfairly punish the victim and let the bad driver off the hook

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