B.C. Attorney General David Eby has vowed to clean up the financial ‘dumpster fire’ that is ICBC. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. Attorney General warns trial lawyers about ICBC challenges

Loss of reforms would have ‘catastrophic effect’ on rates, David Eby says

As the B.C. government presses ahead with changes designed to rein in injury costs against the Insurance Corp. of B.C., Attorney General David Eby is hinting that the province has another option that personal injury lawyers would like even less.

“In going after these reforms, they should be careful what they wish for, because there won’t be many options left for government after that,” Eby said Thursday, in reference to legal challenges by the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. that could cost ICBC billions of dollars if they succeed.

One lawsuit challenges Eby’s move to limit expert witnesses in injury cases. The B.C. Supreme Court upheld the challenge last week, and the government has yet to decide whether to appeal or pass new legislation to limit experts to three a side in suits involving more than $100,000 in potential damages.

The trial lawyers have also launched a challenge to Eby’s move to impose a $5,500 cap on “pain and suffering” awards in vehicle accidents, and moving injury claims below $50,000 to a civil resolution tribunal rather than court.

“If those measures fail, the civil resolution tribunal and the cap on pain and suffering awards, those measures that are saving British Columbians about $1 billion a year, it would have a catastrophic impact on rates,” Eby said. “If they fail in court because of the trial lawyers’ challenges of them, it doesn’t leave government a lot of options in terms of how to move forward.”

Asked if that meant switching to no-fault insurance as other provinces have done, Eby only smiled as he entered the daily government caucus meeting.

RELATED: ICBC improving, but not yet out of the red, Eby says

RELATED: Trial lawyers sue BC over minor injury payouts

Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec have no-fault insurance, where a scale of payments applies to specified types of injury. Quebec has what a consultant for the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. calls “pure no-fault,” where people have no access to courts in motor vehicle accident cases.

Leonard Krog, a lawyer, former NDP MLA and now mayor of Nanaimo, has referred to no-fault insurance as a “meat chart,” where major injuries such as loss of a limb are assigned a fixed monetary award that fails to take into account the particulars of each case.

WorkSafeBC has a similar system for adjudicating awards for people injured on the job.

Eby told Black Press on Tuesday that ICBC’s financial statements for 2018-19 showed that personal injury law firms made about $500 million from the corporation in that year alone.

“This is the first year we’ve reported these numbers, so they definitely were eye-opening for me,” Eby said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Top Cranbrook administration official resigns

CAO David Kim, who has been on medical leave since last summer, is leaving the City of Cranbrook

Mt. Baker RV Park in Cranbrook reopens

Just in time for summer, the Mount Baker RV Park in downtown… Continue reading

City seeking budget, services feedback through survey

The city wants to know how satisfied residents are with service levels… Continue reading

Rivers, creeks flooding across the East Kootenay due to rainstorm

Residents evacuated in Fairmont, other properties on alert due to debris flow concerns

Hometown heroes: Search and Rescue president Peter Reid

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimberley Search and Rescue (SAR)… Continue reading

WATCH: Cranbrook Farmer’s Market kicks off 2020 season

The first market of the year took place on Saturday, May 30.

189 homes in Grand Forks area given evacuation orders

Homes are in the Nursery, Grand Forks Airport, Gilpin Rd., Johnson Flats and Granby Rd. areas

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read