BY MEL CHAUDHARY
Simpson, Thomas & Associates
LIKE adults, children who have been hurt in a car accident are entitled to compensation for their injuries. Unlike claims by adults, children’s ICBC claims are governed by special rules that are tied to the age of the child. What does age of majority mean when it comes to ICBC claims, and why is it important?
Limitation periods for adult ICBC claims
In BC, an adult who is injured in a car accident is entitled to claim no-fault ICBC benefits and may also be entitled to bring a claim for additional compensation from the person who was at-fault for the car accident (known as a tort claim). A two-year limitation period applies to each type of claim. If an injured adult fails to file within two years of the date of the accident, they lose the legal rights to make the claim.
Limitation periods for ICBC claims by minors
The same two-year limitation period applies to children’s ICBC claims, but the clock does not begin to run on the tort lawsuit until the child has reached the age of majority. It is important that parents and guardians understand how the age of majority factors into the two different types of children’s ICBC claims:
- Tort claim/personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver. Under BC law, a child under the age of majority does not have the right to sue. A minor must rely on a parent or guardian to bring a lawsuit on their behalf. Because BC law treats children as being under a “legal disability,” the two-year limitation period for a personal injury lawsuit does not begin to run until the child reaches the age of majority. In BC age of majority is 19, so a child must file a personal injury lawsuit on or before their 21st birthday or the right to sue will be lost.
- Part 7/No-fault benefits claim against ICBC. The running of time is not postponed for no-fault rehabilitation benefits, even if the claim is for a person under the age of majority. In other words, if ICBC is not properly funding treatment for a child after a car accident, a lawsuit for Part 7 benefits must be brought within two years of the car accident (or two years from the last Part 7 payment, whichever is later). A parent or guardian would have to protect the minor’s right by bringing the lawsuit on their behalf.
Should parents wait until the child reaches the age of majority to contact a lawyer?
Our lawyers highly recommend that parents not wait. A lawsuit can be started by a litigation guardian for a child for a tort/personal injury claim before the child reaches the age of majority, and in some cases, it is prudent to do so. A lawsuit for a Part 7 claim may have to be started within 2 years of an accident, or prior to a child reaching the age of majority. Reaching out to a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident can be invaluable for other reasons. For example, brain injuries in children can be difficult to detect and the full extent of the injury may not become apparent for months or years. If you suspect your child may have suffered a brain injury, personal injury lawyers can ensure that crucial evidence is gathered and preserved so that your child is receives full compensation for all injuries.
Contact us today if your child has been hurt in a car accident
If your child has been injured in a car accident and you would like to discuss how to bring an ICBC claim for your child, contact us. We can handle the ICBC claim on behalf of your child to secure personal injury compensation and funding for appropriate rehabilitation to maximize your child’s recovery. To learn more, request a free consultation or call (604) 689- 8888.