(File)

Trial lawyers’ group challenges ICBC over injury payouts, disputes resolution

Trial Lawyers Association of BC plans to launch a constitutional challenge

A legal battle is shaping up in B.C. with the trial lawyers association promising to fight a move by the government-run auto insurer to overhaul claims payments and how it resolves disputes.

Effective immediately, ICBC has set a $5,500 cap on pain and suffering payments for minor injuries, which the Crown corporation describes as payments “recognizing the inconvenience and emotional distress of being in a crash.”

READ MORE: Would-be drivers caught cheating on ICBC licence test

The corporation is also sending all disagreements about how minor injuries are determined, or disputes about any injury claim below $50,000 to a civil resolution tribunal.

On its website, the corporation says the tribunal can be used without the need for legal representation, but the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia has warned the government that it intends to launch a constitutional challenge.

The association says the revisions have the potential to unfairly cut compensation for crash victims.

Association president Ron Nairne says in a statement that the new process could also restrict access to the courts, denying claimants of a basic human right guaranteed by the Charter of Rights.

“The approach this government has taken to legislative and regulatory changes to address ICBC’s mismanagement problems violates the rights of British Columbians. This should be about protecting the public interest – not about protecting ICBC,” Nairne says.

Attorney General David Eby said Friday that word of the constitutional challenge was not unexpected.

“They believe that you can only resolve disputes appropriately through B.C. Supreme Court. We don’t, obviously, agree with their interpretation of the law,” he said.

Changes to insurance corporation payments and procedures were announced last year, shortly after Eby referred to the insurer as a “financial dumpster fire.”

The latest fiscal year ended March 31 and the corporation announced in February that its projected deficit was $1.18 billion, on top of the $1.3 billion loss posted over the 2017/18 fiscal year.

With the April 1 cap on pain and suffering payouts for minor injury claims, B.C. becomes the final province in Canada to limit the payments.

The corporation has said the change is expected to save it more than $1 billion annually.

(News1130, The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Home care transition could exasperate worker shortage: Seniors advocate

Advocate fears impact of eight-hour shift model on an industry under stress

Rickter Scale: More smoke and secondhand hindsight

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

How worried should we be about the bees?

One bee species hasn’t been seen since 1990

New festival celebrating Croatian culture to be held in Victoria

CROfest will be held May 4 and 5 at Croatian Catholic Church of St. Leopold Mandíc

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. man turned to dating site for pimp operation, court hears

In court the details of how Simon Rypiak lured 4 women into prostitution revealed

Tofino beckons Trudeau for quiet Easter vacation

Environmental group hopes latest Pacific Rim vacation inspires change in prime minister

Should B.C. parents receive money if they make sure their kids are vaccinated?

New survey looks at public opinion around government’s role in forcing immunizations

‘Cutthroat’ sport of wine tasting happening in B.C.

BC Tasting Games are underway with competitions in three Okanagan communities.

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Most Read