Reasons for judgement were released today addressing the deductions of ICBC Part 7 benefits from a tort award.
If you are injured in a BC car crash and are insured with ICBC you have the right to apply for your ICBC No-Fault Benefits. These include certain rehabilitation and wage loss benefits. Whether or not you are at fault for the collision you should apply for these part 7 benefits.
In your tort claim (your claim for compensation against the at fault motorist) the defendant can argue that any amount he/she needs to pay you in damages should be reduced by the amount of Part 7 benefits you are entitled to. Whether or not you actually received these benefits is irrelevant!
In today’s case the trial judge awarded various damages including $10,000 for the cost of future medical care. The defendant argued that the $10,000 award should be deducted because the Plaintiff could receive payment from ICBC directly for those future medical expenses.
The court dismissed this defence argument finding as follows:
 In this case, I am persuaded that there is an issue about whether the plaintiff’s medication is covered by Part 7 at all, given that it not only provides benefits incurred by the insured as a result of the injury but also from conditions exacerbated by the accident.
 I find that the amount awarded for the cost of future care, particularly medication, is not to be deducted from the judgment.
This case summarizecd the law of Part 7 benefit decutions very well, particularly the court held that:
1. When considering a s. 25 deduction, the central question is whether the plaintiff is a person who is or would have been entitled to Part 7 benefits. If the answer to that question is affirmative, the court must estimate the value of further payments that the Corporation is authorized or required to make under the Regulation, and deduct that amount from the judgment: Sovani v. Jin, 2005 BCSC 1285, 47 B.C.L.R. (4th) 97.
2. Issues between the plaintiff and ICBC over delivery of Part 7 benefits are not relevant considerations in determining a s. 25 deduction: Sovani.
3. The court has no discretion to reduce an estimate of future s. 88(1) benefits for the purposes of a s. 25 deduction: Ayles (Guardian of) v. Talastasin, 2000 BCCA 87, 73 B.C.L.R. (3d) 60.
4. Medication is an expense that falls under the mandatory or non-discretionary provision of s.88(1) of the Regulation: Ayles.
5. Section 88(1) requires the Corporation to pay benefits for all reasonable expenses incurred by the insured as a result of the injury.
6. The plaintiff may have had a pre-accident underlying “disease” entitling the Corporation to invoke an exemption from liability contained in s. 96(f) of the Regulation: Mawji v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2001 BCSC 1610.
7. Trial judges must be cautious in estimating s. 25 deductions and any uncertainty as to entitlement must be resolved in favour of the plaintiff: Schmitt v. Thomson, 18 B.C.L.R. (3d) 153, 132 D.L.R. (4th) 310 (C.A.); Lynne v. Pearson, 55 B.C.L.R. (3d) 401, 111 B.C.A.C. 139.
If you are insured with ICBC and are injured by another in a BC car crash make sure you apply for your Part 7 Benefits. If you don’t it can take money right out of your pocket in your tort claim and cases such as this one are a stark reminder that ICBC often makes such an argument in tort claims.