Section 83 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act is an important but often overlooked portion of B.C.’s motor vehicle insurance legislative scheme that has the potential to cause significant problems for injured persons who are not aware of its existence. The section holds that a person who is entitled to receive medical benefits under a motor vehicle insurance policy, including benefits payable under Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, abandons any damages claim they may have against the other driver to the extent of those benefits. Essentially this means that any insurance benefits a person injured in an accident is entitled to receive for medical expenses, including those under Part 7 of the Regulation, will be deducted from any damages claim.
The purpose of this section is to prevent “double recovery” of benefits. An injured person may be entitled to recover their medical costs from the other driver in their claim, however they may also be entitled to recover these costs from ICBC under Part 7 of the Regulation. Section 83 prevents this type of “double recovery” by ensuring funds for medical expenses received under Part 7 of the Regulation or other similar insurance plans are not also recovered as damages in the tort claim.
It is notable that the section is not limited to part 7 benefits, but to any benefits that may be “similar” to those recoverable in Part 7. Thus, benefits that may be recoverable under private motor vehicle insurance or other policies that are “similar” to Part 7 benefits may also be deducted from the final award in the same manner.
It is very important to keep in mind that that this deduction is mandatory, and must be made as long as someone recovers “or is entitled to” compensation for the medical expenses at issue. Thus, if a an injured person is entitled to medical benefits under Part 7 of the Regulation, these benefits will be deducted from their damages award in their claim against the other driver regardless whether or not they actually received them.
This can lead to some unfortunate situations, and the loss of significant amounts in compensation. For instance, if a person is involved in a motor vehicle accident but fails to apply for Part 7 benefits, they will not receive these benefits, but the amount they would have been entitled to receive had they applied will nonetheless be deducted the damage award they receive in their claim against the other driver. Where the injuries a person has suffered are severe, this can sometimes lead to thousands of dollars in lost compensation. This is why it is important to always apply for Part 7 benefits if you are injuried and comply with ICBC’s procedures for obtaining such benefits.
If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident the personal injury and ICBC lawyers at Bisbicis Law Corporation will be able to assist you in pursuing your claim, including ensuring you take all necessary steps to apply for Part 7 benefits and protect yourself from unnecessary deductions from your award. Please call us for a free consultation at 1-855-924-7529.