ICBC Low Velocity Impacts
If you suffer from a ICBC low velocity impacts accident you need to know that ICBC often refuses to negotiate with people who are injured in minor accidents as part of their, “no car damage no injury policy”. Our MacLean Personal Injury lawyers know ICBC calls this program their ICBC Low Velocity Impacts strategy also know as “LVIs” for short.
Damage under $2000 to your vehicle in an ICBC Low Velocity Impacts case can lead to a stonewalling for the victim who often suffers injury in these ICBC low velocity impacts cases.
BC judges have been very clear however, that there is NO legal principle that says because damage to the vehicle is minor you could not have been injured. In short the ICBC low velocity impacts policy is suspect and a skilled lawyer will ensure you are not treated in a cavalier fashion. call us toll free at 1-877-602-9900.
No Damage, No Injury? No Way!
Have you ever tried negotiating a payout from ICBC to compensate for serious and lasting back or neck pain from a vehicle accident, when your car showed almost no damage to speak of? Almost as certain as a law of nature is the likelihood that ICBC will say that since your heavy steel and plastic vehicle, and its super well-designed bumpers seemed to do their job and take all the punishment of impact, your own body “obviously” was protected from the energy and would hardly have felt a thing. In other words, no visible property damage means that no one was hurt. As soon as you hear this from the adjuster, it’s probably time to pick up the phone and call a Vancouver or Surrey Personal Injury Lawyer, because it means ICBC is going to try to give you nothing, or close to it.
Do You Check Egg Carton Or The Eggs When You drop The Carton?
In some “no damage” cases, the destruction or deformation of certain vehicle components may be internal, and hidden. But even if the car has not been damaged, the driver and passengers still may have suffered significant injury. When you drop a carton of eggs on the kitchen floor, do you immediately check the carton? Or do you check the eggs? Are people any less important?
It may help to imagine much crash safety engineering goes into high-performance racing cars. One basic structural principle is that the more crushing and dissipation of energy that occurs during a crash, the lower the driver-injury rate despite the high speeds. We have all seen amazing footage of race cars flipped and mangled almost beyond recognition, while the driver nonetheless is able to walk away. This is because the crushed components of the vehicle have absorbed energy, and have reduced the deceleration forces on the driver’s body. This is like the pole vaulter who survives his 5-meter fall because of the crush of the padding or mat on which he lands.
Now, imagine what takes place when the vehicle goes unscathed: much more energy may be transferred into the driver compartment, and even more sudden deceleration, all of which end up being absorbed by the neck and spine, and by the discs, fluids and cartilage that make them up – which translates into heightened and more serious soft tissue injuries.
What’s The Truth On ICBC Low Velocity Impacts Cases?
The British Columbia Supreme Court has recognized this reality, most recently in Blackman v. Dha, 2015 BCSC 698, where the plaintiff had been stopped at a red light when her vehicle was struck from behind. The court opined:
 It has been well recognized by the courts that the limited amount of motor vehicle damage is not “the yardstick by which to measure the extent of the injuries suffered by the plaintiff”. As Mr. Justice Macaulay stated in Lubick v. Mei and another, 2008 BCSC 555 at para. 5:
The Courts have long debunked as myth the suggestion that low impact can be directly correlated with lack of compensable injury. In Gordon v. Palmer,  B.C.J. No. 474(S.C.), Thackray J., as he then was, made the following comments that are still apposite today:
- I do not subscribe to the view that if there is no motor vehicle damage then there is no injury. This is a philosophy that the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia may follow, but it has no application in court. It is not a legal principle of which I am aware and I have never heard it endorsed as a medical principle.
He goes on to point out that the presence and extent of injuries are determined on the evidence, not with “extraneous philosophies that some would impose on the judicial process”. In particular, he noted that there was no evidence to substantiate the defence theory in the case before him. Similarly, there is no evidence to substantiate the defence contention that Lubick could not have sustained any injury here because the vehicle impact was slight.
See also: Hoy v. Harvey, 2012 BCSC 1076 at paras. 47-49.
Don’t Tolerate ICBC’s Unfair ICBC Low Velocity Impacts Strategy
If a lawsuit must be filed in order to obtain full and fair compensation in your no-car-damage case, an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer on your side will highlight the reality that the regular cars we drive just aren’t designed to deform in lower-speed impacts, like racecars are. Rather, below certain speeds the bumpers on our cars really are made to minimize or eliminate the bending or buckling of metal panels so as to prevent cosmetic damage to the vehicle (rather than your body) – which in reality may be the root cause of so many connective tissue injuries.