Big car crash: not big injuries!

Here is a classic misconception: big car crash = big injuries. This is one of the biggest misconceptions that exist around my job. And, it drives me insane…

Believe it or not, the severity of a car crash is NOT proportionate to the severity of harm or injuries that someone experiences in a car crash.

Sadly, though, most people don’t think that. Most people think that a “small” crash or a crash involving slow moving vehicles won’t result in anyone suffering (serious) injuries. BUT, that is NOT true!

And, ICBC preys on that misconception….and they even have a policy that reflects it. It is called the ‘Low Velocity Impact Policy’, also known as the LVI Policy.

Really, the LVI Policy hurts car crash victims. It really does…

And, here’s ICBC’s LVI Policy: basically, when someone is involved in a car crash that involves “slow moving vehicles”’ (having low velocity), then the people in the vehicles are not entitled to any (or hardly any) compensation for their injuries. ICBC representatives will actually tell this to car crash victims.

ICBC’s argument is this: if the vehicles weren’t badly damaged (and were moving slowly at impact), then the occupants couldn’t be injured.

But, that isn’t the case! The speed of the cars in a crash has very little to do with the injuries that someone suffers.

The truth is that someone who is involved in a high-speed crash can suffer ZERO injuries, not even a scratch. AND, at the same time, someone who is involved in a slow moving, less serious crash can suffer VERY serious injuries that require lengthy hospitalization and surgery. This is a fact.

Now, I regularly speak to people who have been injured in a car crash. And, one of the typical concerns that I hear is that they don’t think they are entitled to anything because their crash was ‘low velocity’ (as told to them by ICBC).

And, this is what I tell them: “ICBC is DEAD wrong! Of course you are entitled to money to recover you losses.”

The LAW is that if you suffer injuries, then you are compensated for those injuries. And, the amount of money that you receive is proportionate to the severity of the injuries and the impact that those injuries have on your life.

So, in other words, it doesn’t matter how fast the vehicles were travelling; if you suffer injuries/losses, you are entitled to compensation for your injuries/losses, period. The bigger the losses, the more money you will receive (regardless of how fast the cars were going).

And, those losses can include an award for pain and suffering, for income loss (from money that you would have otherwise earned), and for medical treatment (for treatment that you have to get as a result of the crash).

If you are ever in a “low velocity crash”, remember this: ICBC isn’t the final decision-maker on whether or not you will receive money. Our courts have the FINAL WORD. And, the LVI Policy is NOT the law in British Columbia.

And now you know.


**The information contained in this column should not be treated by readers as legal advice and should not be relied on without detailed legal counsel being sought.

More Law Matters articles

About the Author

Jeff Zilkowsky is a lawyer practicing at MacLean Law in the Lower Mainland and in Kelowna, and focuses his practice on family law and litigation.  

In his column, Jeff provides information about current legal events or points of interest or concern relating to the law. 

The information contained in Jeff’s column should not be used or relied upon as legal advice.

Comments are always appreciated and encouraged, so don’t hesitate to email Jeff at [email protected]

Visit Jeff’s website at www.jeffzilkowsky.com or visit the website of MacLean Law.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories