Judge rejects taking lawyers out of minor ICBC injury cases – Vancouver Island Free Daily
The Chief Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court has ruled that parts of British Columbia’s auto insurance reforms are unconstitutional, specifically shifting injury cases under $ 50,000 from courts to an online tribunal.
The Trial Lawyers Association of BC challenged the laws brought in by Attorney General David Eby to refer minor legal disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal, originally set up to settle disputes over stratified property. The attorneys praised the recent ruling by Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the British Columbia Supreme Court, which also challenged Eby’s core argument that court costs were a major cause of huge losses at Insurance Corp. of British Columbia are
“The court has stated that it is unconstitutional for the government to simply assign the determination of accidental damage to its own online tribunal and out of court,” the Trial Lawyers Association said in a March 2 statement. The court has reviewed the government’s ability to Establish a separate tribunal to rule on claims against ICBC, while reaffirming the historic right of accident victims to appeal to court against their injuries. “
Eby said Wednesday he would announce on March 8 whether the government would appeal the decision, which his department estimates would cost $ 390 million more if disputes were returned to the British Columbia Supreme Court. He said the decision had no impact on the NDP government promised lowering of the ICBC rate and the COVID-19 discounts currently being advertised in a number of television commercials.
Eby continued his combative position on a runaway “multi-million dollar personal injury industry whose wings we are cutting off”.
Hinkson rejected the government’s argument that injury cases clogged the British Columbia courts. He noted that a third of the civil cases brought in court in 2019 had to do with accidents involving motor vehicles, but between 2015 and 2019 less than one percent of the claims resolved were actually brought to court. And he also disrupted the government’s argument that an increase in lower-valued cases increases the cost of ICBC.
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“The attorney general argues that the evidence shows that claims of lesser value in the range of $ 50,000 or less made up the vast majority of claims in the system even before the non-financial damage limit was set for minor injuries,” Hinkson wrote. “For each of the five fiscal years ending 2016 through 2020, the proportion of resolved personal injuries from accidents prior to April 1, 2019 that resulted in payments of $ 50,000 or less was consistently over 80 percent and only averaged about 80 percent 15 percent were litigated. The subgroup of this 15 percent that was actually judged in court proceedings was less than one percent. “
People spend “tens of thousands” of claims adjustments on forensic experts, as does #ICBC, @Dave_Eby #Bcleg says pic.twitter.com/fReUKfl7bw
– Tom Fletcher (@tomfletcherbc) November 20, 2019
Hinkson also ruled against an earlier offer from Eby to cut court costs by limiting experts in infringement cases and put that legislation down in October 2019. The government decided not to appeal this decision and instead took the broader step of limiting “pain and pain” to $ 5,500 in suffering rewards and moving minor injury disputes to the tribunal.
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