Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)

B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

As he hinted last week when his key effort to get lawyers out of most ICBC injury cases was rejected by a judge, Attorney General David Eby says the province is appealing the decision.

“We will be appealing the decision of the B.C. Supreme Court in relation to the constitutionality of the Civil Resolution Tribunal determining claims related to ICBC,” Eby said Monday. “It is not automatic to apply for a stay, and we have not yet made a decision about applying for a stay.”

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. challenged legislation brought in by Eby to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal, which was set up to resolve strata property disputes. The lawyers lauded the latest ruling by Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the B.C. Supreme Court, which also questioned Eby’s core argument that court costs are a major driver of huge losses at the Insurance Corp. of B.C.

“The court has declared that it is unconstitutional for the government to simply re-assign the determination of accident claims to its own online tribunal, and out of the courts,” the Trial Lawyers Association said in a statement March 2. “In so doing, the court has provided a check on the government’s ability to create its own tribunal to decide claims against ICBC, while at the same time affirming the historic right of accident victims to pursue remedies for their injuries before the courts.”

When Hinkson’s decision was released March 2, Eby said he would continue his work to curtail costs of a “multi-million dollar personal injury industry that we’re clipping the wings of.” He followed up on that commitment March 8,because the ministry estimates ICBC stands to save $390 million by diverting injury disputes under $50,000 to the tribunal. The new system is supposed to begin in May.

B.C. is the only Canadian province that still has an entirely court-based system for resolving vehicle injury claims.

RELATED: B.C. moves to remove lawyers from most ICBC cases

RELATED: ICBC’s ‘lowball’ injury offers aren’t increasing lawsuits


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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