24 Oct Part 7 “No Fault” Benefits
In addition to seeking compensation from the Defendant driver in a motor vehicle accident, inured parties can also claim ‘Part 7 Benefits’. Part 7 benefits are named after the section of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act which provides for up to $150,000 of medical and rehabilitation services for those injured while using a motor vehicle.
These benefits are often referred to as “no fault benefits” because the injured person does not need to prove that another driver was at fault for their injuries in order to receive them. The test for when a person can access Part 7 benefits is if the injury ‘arises out of the use or operation of a vehicle’.
The case of Prosofsky v. ICBC, 2016 BCSC 1586, demonstrates that Part 7 benefits can be available in a variety of circumstances and are not limited to motor vehicle collisions.
In the Prosofsky case, the Plaintiff used a ramp to load his ATV onto the back of his pickup truck. He then drove his truck to a friend’s house and was in the process of riding the ATV down the ramp when a tire caught in the metal grating of the ramp. The ATV fell off the ramp, injuring the Plaintiff.
ICBC denied the Plaintiff Part 7 benefits. They argued that he had been operating the ATV and that insurance claims did not extend to ATV users, only to users of motor vehicles.
The Court found that the Plaintiff was entitled to Part 7 benefits and that his injury had, in fact, arisen out of the use and operation of a motor vehicle. The Court found that unloading materials out of the back of a pickup truck is something that is in keeping with the use of a motor vehicle, namely to transport and unload items. The Plaintiff was using the pickup truck “in the manner it was intended; that is, to transport and to carry an item; in this case an ATV”.
The Court cited a number of cases where Plaintiffs were awarded access to Part 7 benefits in situations other than motor vehicle collisions. One case cited by the Court involved a driver who was shot while driving through Los Angeles. Another case involved a woman who fell critically ill during a commercial bus trip when the driver refused to pull over.
These cases highlight the fact that while Part 7 benefits are routinely utilized by people involved in motor vehicle accidents, the scope of availability for Part 7 benefits is much broader.