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Grieving relatives of fatal crash victim question ICBC no-fault policy, lack of death benefits

As seen on Global News by Darrian Matassa-Fung & Julia Foy, 25th August 2022.

The family of 58-year-old Aleida Nyman said the woman lived her life as an angel.

“She wanted to be a help to everybody,” said Diana Pineda, Aleida’s daughter.

“She had a love for people and specifically for orphans.”

Aleida Nyman and Mario Reyes died in a car crash on the Surrey-Langley border on Aug. 6.

“He had a very boisterous personality, he was very outgoing,” said Harold Chavarria of Reyes, his friend.

On top of dealing with grief, Nyman’s family was surprised to learn that ICBC is not offering any immediate settlement for her death.

According to the family, that’s because she was not married, had no dependent children and was on income assistance.

“(ICBC told us) to send documents, to do (our) part, and (ICBC) will see if (they) can maybe do something to help,” said Diana Pineda.

Lawyers said the new ICBC No-Fault insurance policies do not treat everyone’s death the same.

ICBC offers different enhancement care rates for working adults, over others.

“If the person who is killed is not a breadwinner and does not have financial dependents – there are virtually no damages available,” Donald Renaud, a lawyer with the Wrongful Death Law Reform Society, told Global News.

“If you’ve lost an elderly parent, or a young child, really those claims are worth nothing (in terms of compensation) and we often have to tell people in those terrible situations that that’s just the way the law is,” said Kevin Gourley, a B.C. lawyer.

ICBC declined a request for an interview but did supply a statement.

“Crashes involving a fatality are covered under Enhanced Care, which provides benefits for funeral expenses, grief counselling, and payments to immediate family,” ICBC staff said in an email.

“Enhanced Accident Benefits minimum payment to family is $68,863. For dependent’s (19 or under) of a deceased, payments range from $32,708 to $61,680 depending on the dependent’s age at the time of the deceased’s death.”

It is unclear why the family is not receiving compensation for the death, as the policy states there should be. Global News has reached out to ICBC for further clarity.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover the cost of Aleida’s funeral, which is planned for Sept. 1.