It’s the last thing on our minds when we head off on our winter getaway, but personal injuries while on vacation can and do happen. Whether you suffer a slip and fall, a car crash, or some other type of accident, knowing how to take care of a personal injury issue suffered abroad will give you peace of mind during your travels.
- How out-of-province MSP coverage works
Coverage under British Columbia’s Medical Services Plan extends to you when you are temporarily out of the province. That means you have left BC with the intention to return, and not for an extended reason such as attending university abroad or relocating your family to a new country.
If injured in another province, you can expect the same sort of coverage you’d receive in BC; that is, basic physicians’ exams and emergency care.
If you are injured out-of-country, MSP coverage is much more limited and additional private insurance is most often required. Along with the MSP out-of-country claim form, you will need to provide details of the medical services received along with the unpaid bills or receipts for any already paid-for care. However, note that MSP will only pay for services at the rates that would be charged British Columbia.
If you need legal advice on pursuing compensation for a personal injury you received out-of-province or out-of-country, you can contact DBM’s personal injury lawyers in our Sechelt, Langley, or Coquitlam law offices.
- How travel medical insurance works
As mentioned above, if you are travelling out of country, the best way to protect yourself against costs for any potential personal injury is to secure private coverage. Many people receive such coverage through employer health benefits or their credit card; many people also for purchase individual policies for each trip they take.
It is important to read the terms of your travel insurance policy, as making a claim for a personal injury suffered abroad can become a complicated task. For example, if you have any non-disclosed pre-existing conditions—for example, high blood pressure—you may have trouble making a claim, even if it is unrelated to the injury suffered while travelling, such as a car accident or a slip and fall.
- How interprovincial and international ICBC claims work
Under ICBC, both drivers and vehicles are insured, meaning that when you temporarily leave the province, your insurance goes with both you and your car. So, for example, if you are a British Columbia resident who has suffered a personal injury following a car accident in South Dakota during a road trip, you will still make your accident claim to ICBC, who remain your insurer.
However, much like MSP, ICBC expects only to pay what normally would be claimed in British Columbia, whereas in the United States, drivers’ coverage can be lower and both settlements and emergency medical care can be much higher. If the other driver is ‘underinsured’ and can’t pay your claim, then ICBC will pay the remainder up to a set limit. Things become even more complicated if you have ICBC coverage but were driving a rental vehicle or the car of a friend who lives in the country or province where your car accident occurred. Some of the coverage may be claimed in that jurisdiction, and the rest may go to ICBC.
- How lawsuits across borders work
Unsurprisingly, launching a lawsuit across legal jurisdictions becomes more complicated than if both parties are in British Columbia. If you’ve suffered a personal injury outside of BC due to someone else’s negligence and need to pursue a lawsuit for damages, you must secure a personal injury lawyer to represent you.
Whether it’s going after the other driver’s insurance company or proving the other person’s negligence in a court of law to receive further damages, a lawyer will be able to navigate the complications that arise when lawsuits go across borders.
DBM’s personal injury lawyers are located at our Vancouver, Langley, and Coquitlam law offices.