B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks to reporters at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 20, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

The B.C. government will attempt another legislative change in an effort to reduce the number of expert witnesses in vehicle injury cases involving ICBC, Attorney General David Eby says.

Eby said Wednesday he has decided not to appeal an October ruling that struck down caps on “adversarial” experts testifying in injury cases. He had estimated that the change could save as much as $400 million as the provincial auto insurer grapples with high court costs and two consecutive years of losing more than $1 billion.

Amendments to the Evidence Act are being prepared for next spring’s session of the B.C. legislature, in another effort to reduce court costs from vehicle accidents, as Australia and the United Kingdom have done, Eby said. He expects that change to be challenged as well, likely by the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. that has challenged a series of reforms to ICBC to limit court costs.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the B.C. Supreme Court ruled Oct. 23 that restrictions on expert witnesses “infringes on the court’s jurisdiction to control its process.”

RELATED: ICBC loses court ruling limiting medical experts

RELATED: ICBC needs brokers, online renewals ‘not a priority’

ICBC posted a $50 million surplus in the first quarter of the fiscal year that began April 1, but Eby said Wednesday that has been eroded as more major injury cases emerge from the injury claims that were accumulated before changes to injury rules took effect in April. Those cases represent “a $12 billion book of liabilities,” Eby said.

ICBC court cases show some individuals have had “tens of thousands” of their settlements spent on expert reports, with the Crown corporation forced to make similar expenditures, he said.

“Our goal is to ensure that more of the settlement amount that people are entitled to goes into their pockets,” Eby said. “Our goal is to reduce the adversarial nature of the use of experts that drives much of this problem. Our goal is to reduce the expenditure for all people who have to go to court for personal injuries, a goal that will have benefits for ICBC as well, and by extension for ratepayers, who hopefully will not have to pay for as many experts on both sides in order to resolve disputes.”

The rejected changes would have limited expert witnesses and reports to court to one for “fast-tracked” cases involving claims under $100,000, and up to three for other cases.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fireballs fall Friday as brightest meteor shower of the year fills the skies

Geminid meteor shower features colourful, brighter, longer shooting stars

Lead Island Health doctor backs Saanich push to lower provincial speed limits

Chief Medical Health Officer backs the bid to drop residential speed limits to 40 km/h

Greater Victoria sees unemployment rise in November

Unemployment rate jumps to 3.5 per cent from 3.2 per cent

Province launches lawsuit over Esquimalt sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after being dropped from marine lift in 2018

Colwood tops Grumpy Taxpayer$ 2019 Candy Cane Awards

Yearly awards for improved governance go to Colwood, Oak Bay, Victoria

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Feds not enforcing standards on Hungarian duck imports, B.C. farmer says

‘You have no way of knowing what’s in the bag’

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Vancouver Island blues musician’s mother’s home burglarized and ransacked

David Gogo’s 71-year-old mother has jewelry and artwork stolen in break-in

Dance cancelled after Alberta teacher’s climate lesson prompts online threats

School district near Red Deer cancelled annual family dance due to Facebook comments

Most Read