- Did you have an accident while away from home?
- Knowing the difference between travel and liability insurance
- What you need to do now
What you need to know if you have been injured while travelling
It’s not pleasant to think about personal injuries when we are about to embark on a fun getaway, but accidents on vacation happen. Whether it’s a car accident, slip and fall, or even a skiing injury, knowing how to handle a personal injury that occurs abroad will be reassuring during your travels.
1 Did you have an accident while away from home?
When you are “temporarily out of province,” meaning when you are travelling and intend to return to British Columbia, you remain covered under BC’s Medical Services Plan. You are no longer covered if you leave to attend university abroad or have the intention to move your family to a new province or country.
You will receive the same sort of medical coverage and emergency care you would have received in BC if you are injured in another province. However, when it comes to being injured out of country, MSP works quite differently.
When an out-of-country accident happens, due to MSP’s limited coverage, it is highly recommended to have additional private travel insurance in place. To make an MSP claim, you will need to fill out an out-of-country claim form, provide details of the medical services you received in the other country, and forward unpaid bills or receipts for any care you’ve already paid for out of pocket.
It is important to be aware that in any personal injury scenario, whether an injury suffered in another province or another country, MSP will pay for services only at the rates that would be charged in British Columbia.
If you are pursuing compensation for a personal injury you suffered while in another province or country and need legal advice, you can contact DBM’s personal injury lawyers in our Vancouver, Langley, or Coquitlam law offices.
2. Know the details of your travel insurance
If you are taking a trip to another country, the best personal injury step for you take is a proactive one—make sure you secure private travel insurance coverage before your trip begins. Even if you think you are covered through employer health benefits or your credit card, make sure to confirm these details. When not covered by either of these—or even sometimes when they are—many people opt to purchase individual policies for each trip they take or, for regular travelers, a yearly policy that covers multiple journeys and locations.
Because claims for personal injuries suffered abroad can become complicated, it is important to know the details of your travel insurance policy terms. For example, troubles can arise when making a claim if there are any non-disclosed pre-existing conditions, such as a heart condition. This is true even if your medical condition is unrelated to an injury you might suffer while travelling, such as a car accident or a slip and fall.
3. Making ICBC claims when you have been injured while travelling
Both drivers and vehicles are insured under the insurance provided by ICBC. This means that your insurance goes with you and your car when you temporarily leave the province. In a scenario where a British Columbia resident suffers a personal injury in a car accident while on a road trip to California, they would still make their accident claim to ICBC.
Although you are still covered by ICBC, it is important to know that, like MSP, ICBC will pay out only what would normally be claimed in BC. In other places, such as the United States, coverage amounts can vary drastically, as can emergency care costs. In a vehicle accident where the other driver who caused the accident is “underinsured,” then ICBC will pay whatever amount the other driver is unable to pay to compensate you for your injuries, up to a set limit.
Another scenario to be aware of is driving in a rental vehicle or a friend’s car. In this case, some of the insurance coverage may be claimed in the jurisdiction of the country or province where the accident occurred, and the rest may be in ICBC’s purview.
4. What you need to do now
It will come as no shock that a lawsuit that involves one party from British Columbia and another party from another legal jurisdiction is more complicated than when both parties are from the same place. But if you’ve been injured outside of BC due to someone else’s negligence, you are still entitled to pursue damages, despite the complications that may arise.
A personal injury lawyer will be able to best represent you and your case, whether that means going after the insurance company of the other driver or getting you the full damages you are due by proving the other driver’s negligence. Leave the complications that arise when lawsuits go across provinces or across countries in the capable hands of your personal injury lawyer.