By: David Sinnott
After being injured in a motor vehicle accident while working (as a driver/passenger, cyclist or pedestrian), you may be eligible to file two types of claims: a personal injury lawsuit through ICBC or a worker’s compensation claim. The difficult aspect is often determining which route is best for your particular situation. Making that decision can often involve complex legal analysis and guidance. For example, electing to file a worker’s compensation claim may forever foreclose you from advancing a claim against ICBC.
The general rule of thumb in assessing your right to claim compensation for injuries as a result of a motor vehicle accident is that if the accident was a result of negligence or fault of another person, you have a right to claim for compensation against the at-fault party through an ICBC claim. This would include compensation for the impact the injuries have on your overall quality of life, losses of income and expenses for medical treatments.
There are, however, exceptions to this general rule found within the Workers Compensation Act. That Act prohibits any claim being advanced by a person injured while in the course of their employment if the at fault party, is also in the course of their employment when the accident occurs. In this situation, there is a statutory bar on advancing a claim for compensation against the at-fault party personally, and all claims must proceed through WorkSafeBC.
In the usual circumstance, it is preferable to file your claim against ICBC as opposed to proceeding with a worker’s compensation claim. The reason is that a worker’s compensation claim typically does not provide for as complete compensation for the pain and suffering you endure, nor does it fully reimburse all out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of the necessary medical treatments. While you may receive fair compensation for the losses of income already incurred, a worker’s compensation claim is also not as comprehensive when it comes to potential future income losses and the impact your injuries have on your overall employability and earning capacity.
The difference in the amount of compensation available through a legal action against the at-fault party and a worker’s compensation claim is not lost on ICBC. As such, they will often claim that both you and the other driver were workers, and direct you to WorkSafeBC. It is important to remember that this initial decision made by the adjuster has no legal effect as only WorkSafeBC can make such a determination.
When faced with a situation where you have been injured in an accident while in the course of your employment, it is important to consult with an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the legal process and fully explain the options available to you. There are specific timelines in place for commencing worker’s compensation claims, so it is important that you seek this advice as soon as possible. At Pacific Law Group, we have a team of experienced lawyers available to provide the advice you need to ensure your legal right to compensation is protected.