I was injured in a car accident during work. Now what?
Many people are required to drive as part of their day to day employment. Motor vehicle incidents are a leading cause of worker injury and fatality in British Columbia.
If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident while you are working, the process for claiming compensation may be different than if you were not at work when the accident occurred. This is the case even if you are a passenger or pedestrian in the accident. WorkSafeBC is the organization you deal with for any injury suffered during work. You can deal with WorkSafe after a motor vehicle accident (“MVA”) to get compensation for your injuries, but it is not your only option. You may still be able to proceed with claiming compensation for your injury through an ICBC, or tort, claim. Whether or not the other people involved in the MVA were also working will impact your options for claiming compensation. If that is the case, then the only compensation available to you will be through WorkSafe and you cannot go through ICBC.
If you were the only one involved in the MVA who was working, then you can choose to pursue compensation through WorkSafe or ICBC, but you cannot choose both routes. In choosing which route to follow, there are several factors to consider. Through WorkSafe, you will likely begin receiving compensation within a few weeks from your accident. With ICBC, it could be a significant amount of time before a settlement is reached and you receive any compensation. WorkSafe will pay medical expenses as a result of the accident e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractic treatments. ICBC may pay for these expenses as well, but you should be prepared to cover these expenses out of pocket until your claim is settled. WorkSafe will compensate you for lost employment income resulting from your injury. WorkSafe does not compensate for non-pecuniary damages, also known as damages for pain and suffering. Through a ICBC claim, you can pursue non-pecuniary damages. If you are able to work, but still experience pain and symptoms from your accident, WorkSafe will not compensate for those injuries.
After your accident, WorkSafe should provide you with a form in which you indicate if you are electing to proceed with compensation through WorkSafe or through a ICBC claim. If you have received WCB compensation, or elected to proceed with WorkSafe, you may still be able to re-elect to pursue a tort claim. Once you have received compensation from WorkSafe, it is in WorkSafe’s discretion to permit you to re-elect.
Depending on the type of work you do, it is not always straightforward if WorkSafe will consider you to be a worker or not at the time of your MVA. If you have been involved in an accident during work, we invite you to schedule your initial consult with our team to help you navigate the claims process.