If You're Injured in a Motor Vehicle Accident

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This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Krista Prockiw, ICBC in February 2024.

Getting hurt in a motor vehicle accident is an awful experience. Learn your legal rights and answers to common questions in the event you’re injured.

Common questions

Can I access ICBC benefits if I’m the one who caused the accident?

Yes. ICBC’s enhanced accident benefits are available to you even if you’re found to be responsible (“at fault”) for an accident. For that reason, they’re often referred to as “no fault” benefits.

These benefits are included in your basic Autoplan insurance coverage, which is mandatory for all vehicle owners in British Columbia. For more specifics, see the People’s Law School coverage of insurance benefits for accident victims.

Can I sue the other driver if they were 100% responsible for the accident?

In most cases, no. BC law prevents someone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident from suing the other driver for compensation for their injuries (called “damages”). This applies regardless of who was responsible for the crash. Anyone who is injured in the accident can make a claim to ICBC for accident benefits.

However, there are some exceptions when it comes to suing. For example, you may be able to sue the other driver if they were convicted of a criminal offence. For details, see the People's Law School's in-depth guidance on if you're injured in a motor vehicle accident.

ICBC denied my claim for benefits. Can I appeal?

Yes. If you don’t agree with ICBC’s decision to deny you benefits, you can dispute it. For more on your options and the steps involved, see ICBC’s website.

How long do ICBC’s medical benefits last?

ICBC’s accident benefits are pre-authorized to cover you for medical treatments for 12 weeks after your accident. You may be able to access benefits beyond 12 weeks if you need further treatment. Generally, you would need to show that further treatment is required for your full recovery, or to prevent a decline in your recovery.

What if the other driver doesn’t report the accident to ICBC?

Under the law, any BC motorist involved in an accident has to report it to ICBC within a reasonable amount of time.

If the other driver doesn’t report the accident, your claims representative will try to contact them. If two weeks go by and they still haven’t reported it, ICBC will send a letter asking the driver to report it within 10 days. If they still don’t report it, ICBC will make an assessment on your claim using the information available.

As a pedestrian, I was hurt when a car hit me. Can I qualify for accident benefits?

Yes. In BC, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle registered in the province is entitled to accident benefits from ICBC, whether they’re a BC resident or not. Visit ICBC’s website for details.

I was injured in a car accident at work. Should I apply for workers’ compensation?

If you were working at the time of the crash, you should report the incident to WorkSafeBC. This is the agency that oversees the province’s workers’ compensation scheme. Once you’ve reported the incident, WorkSafeBC will assess your claim and decide if you’re eligible for workers’ compensation. See our guidance on making a claim for workers’ compensation.

If you’re entitled to workers’ compensation, you usually won’t be able to claim accident benefits through ICBC. In some cases, you may be able to choose between the two.

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