In this twelve-part blog series, personal injury lawyers Bree Hankins and Adrienne Staley discuss important steps to follow after a motor vehicle accident and what you need to know about making a personal injury claim. Part 3 focuses on disability benefits you may be entitled to after an accident.
Part Three: I can’t work after my accident, what benefits am I entitled to?
Regardless of who is at fault for a motor vehicle accident, if you are unable to work after an accident, you may be entitled to payments from ICBC called temporary total disability benefits (“TTD benefits”).
TTD benefits are provided for under Part 7 of the Regulations to the Insurance (Motor Vehicle Act) and that is why they are often referred to by ICBC and lawyers as “Part 7 Benefits.” If someone mentions Part 7 Benefits, this is what they are referring to.
Generally, anyone who is injured in a motor vehicle accident, even someone who caused the motor vehicle accident, is entitled to Part 7 Benefits. You may also be entitled to Part 7 Benefits if your accident occurred outside of B.C.
To be eligible for Part 7 Benefits, you need to tell ICBC and make a claim for the benefits. Usually, although not always, the injured person fills out an Accident Benefits Application Form. This is a form that has been developed by ICBC. ICBC may also ask you to provide a signed statement regarding the accident when you make a claim for Part 7 Benefits. It is important to know that you do not have to provide a signed statement in order to be eligible for Part 7 Benefits.
For the first two years after the accident, in order to be eligible for TTD benefits, you don’t have to be “totally disabled” as the name implies. However, you do have to be unable to perform any substantial requirement of your job.
After 2 years, you are only entitled to ongoing TTD benefits if you cannot do any job you are suited for based on your age, education, and experience. If you need TTD benefits beyond 2 years, ICBC can require that you apply for Canada Pension Plan Disability Benefits, and if you receive them, your TTD benefits will be reduced by the amount you receive.
To qualify for the TTD benefits, you need to have been employed at the time of the accident, or have worked at least 50% of the year before the accident. In the majority of cases, the maximum amount you may receive for TTD benefits will be $300 per week, and it is calculated by taking 75% of your gross average earnings for 52 weeks prior to the accident, with consideration of how many weeks you worked to earn that gross amount. If your employment is seasonal or temporary, this could impact the amount you are paid. If you have other wage disability coverage, you may still be able to obtain TTD benefits, provided that the total received is not more than 75% of your average weekly earnings in the 52 weeks before the accident.
There is a waiting period of 7 days for disability benefits, and if you are eligible for Employment Insurance (“EI”) sick benefits, you might have to wait even longer. You should always apply for EI sick benefits as soon as possible, even if you think you might not qualify, because there are also waiting periods associated with EI sick benefits. When you are not working, these waiting periods can cause strain on your financial resources, so it important to apply as soon as possible to minimize the time you have without any income.
If you have questions about your eligibility for TTD benefits, or ICBC has cut off your disability benefits, you should speak to a lawyer. Contact us to schedule a free 30-minute consultation. To learn more, come back to read the rest of our blog posts or visit our website.The information provided above is for educational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer or address specific situations. Your personal situation should be discussed with a lawyer. If you have any questions or concerns, contact a legal professional.