Two types of claims: Tort and Part 7

Persons involved in motor vehicle accidents in British Columbia can typically make two types of claims:
  • Tort claim; and
  • Part 7 claim.
The following sets out the differences between tort and Part 7 claims.
Tort claim
The word “tort” is derived from the Latin word for “injury”, and there are many different types of torts under Canadian law. “Negligence” is the most common tort, and is the one that generally applies to motor vehicle accident claims. Other types of torts include nuisance, trespass, defamation, conversion, but those are not applicable to motor vehicle accident claims.
Although it may arguably be more correct / specific to refer to a motor vehicle accident claimants having “negligence” claims rather than “tort” claims, it is common for motor vehicle accident claims in which the claimant sues another driver for negligence to be called “tort” claims and the phrase “tort claim” is used on this website to refer to claims in negligence which are made against another road user.
Tort claims can be made by any person injured in a motor vehicle accident who can prove that another person was, at least partially, at fault (i.e. negligent) for causing the accident. If an injured person cannot prove that another person was even partially fault they will not have a tort claim and will be limited to bringing a Part 7 Claim, see below.
In addition to proving another motorist was at fault for causing the accident, to recover compensation in a tort claim the claimant must also establish that he or she suffered damages (i.e. harm), and that those damages were caused by the accident.
A court action for a tort claim must be filed before expiration of the 2 year limitation period and the following types of damages (i.e. compensation) can be claimed:
  • Pain and suffering (also called loss of enjoyment of life). Awarded in proportion to the duration and severity of injury. In Canada there is a cap of approximately $350,000 (as of 2012) on these “non-pecuniary” damages i.e. even a young avid sportsperson who is rendered quadriplegic and brain damaged is only awarded approximately $350,000 for pain and suffering.
  • Cost of future care.
  • Out of pocket expenses (keep all receipts!).
  • Past wage loss.
  • Loss of future earning capacity
Part 7 Claim
The name, “Part 7 Claim” is a reference to Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, B.C. Reg. 447-83, which specifies the “no-fault” benefits payable to accident victims. A Part 7 claim is called a no-fault claim because the claimant is not required to prove that anyone else was at fault for the accident i.e. even if you were totally at fault for causing the accident you are still entitled to Part 7 benefits.
Part 7 “no-fault” benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for the accident and can generally be claimed by any person who:
  • has an insurance policy with ICBC (e.g. because they own their own vehicle);
  • lives in a household with someone who has an insurance policy with ICBC;
  • is an occupant of vehicle a licensed in BC; or
  • is a cyclist or pedestrian who collides with a vehicle insured in BC.
There are notice periods (counted from the day of the accident) that apply to Part 7 claims, and a 2 year limitation period applies for commencing a court action for Part 7 benefits. See more detailed discussion in the Part 7 section of this website.
Although a claimant for Part 7 benefits need not prove that someone else was at fault for the accident, in order to receive medical, wage loss, and homemaker benefits the claimant must prove that he or she requires the benefits as a result of the accident.
The following is a rough summary of the benefits that are generally available:
  • Medical and rehabilitation expenses, up to a maximum of $150,000.
  • Wage loss benefits, up to a maximum of $300 / week and only to claimants who were totally disabled from employment within 20 days of the accident. Wage loss benefits are payable for a maximum of 104 weeks.
  • Homemaker benefits (for helper needed due to homemaker being injured). Limits apply.
  • Death benefits; limited amounts paid to surviving spouse and children.
More detailed information about Part 7 claims is provided in the Part 7 section of this website, including this page that explains that Part 7 benefits are designed to provide only basic coverage and not do provide full compensation for harm caused by an accident. 



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