You may be involved in a car accident where the damage to your vehicle is minimal, but you are definitely feeling pain from it. Often times ICBC will tell the injured party that due to the lack of damage to their vehicle, the accident is considered a Low Velocity Impact (LVI) and, therefore, no real or compensable injuries have occurred.
However, the concept of LVI arises from ICBC policies that aren`t necessarily based on any legitimate or explainable grounds. The courts have recognized this and have ruled numerous times that the concept of LVI is often unsupported. Damage to a vehicle, or lack thereof, is only one of many factors in determining damages suffered by individuals involved in a motor vehicle accident. This was best recognized by Mr. Justice Macaulay in his decision of Lubick v. Mei and another, 2008 BCSC 555: The Courts have long debunked as myth the suggestion that low impact can be directly correlated with lack of compensable injury. In Gordon v. Palmer,  B.C.J. No. 474 (S.C.), Thackray J., as he then was, made the following comments that are still apposite today:
I do not subscribe to the view that if there is no motor vehicle damage then there is no injury. This is a philosophy that the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia may follow, but it has no application in court. It is not a legal principle of which I am aware and I have never heard it endorsed as a medical principle.
He goes on to point out that the presence and extent of injuries are determined on the evidence, not with “extraneous philosophies that some would impose on the judicial process”.
In Sourisseau v. Peters, 2012 BCSC 1163, damage to the plaintiff`s vehicle was under $870, and the defendant`s vehicle incurred less than $75 in damage. ICBC assessed this as an LVI with no compensable injuries suffered. The LVI argument was rejected and the plaintiff was ultimately awarded $22,500 for non-pecuniary damages. Mr. Justice Greyell made the following comment on the LVI policy:
 While the significance of the damage sustained in a collision may be a factor with which the Insurance Corporation is concerned it is not a matter which necessarily has a direct relationship to the plaintiff’s injuries. The issue for determination is whether the plaintiff’s injuries were caused or contributed to by the accident, Gordon v. Palmer (1993), 78 B.C.L.R. (2d) 236 (BCSC); Boag v. Berna, 2003 BCSC 779.
To summarize, the LVI policy is just that, a policy. It is a concept and policy that has not been upheld by the court. Therefore, if you are an injured victim of a motor vehicle accident you will have a valid claim, regardless of how much damage was inflicted on your vehicle.
If you would like more information or require legal advice regarding personal injury matters, please contact one of the lawyers in our personal injury law group.