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.

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

Just Posted

Tofino and Ucluelet’s Top 10 sports and arts stories of 2019

Revisiting the Coast’s best sports and arts newsmakers of the past year.

Rent-It Centre takes over curbside collection contract in Tofino and Ucluelet

Rent It Centre’s bid was $25,865 lower than the only other bidder, SonBird Refuse and Recycling.

Tofino’s first cannabis dispensary opens

“I don’t know where it’s going, but happy how it’s gone so far.”

Tofino welcomes much needed veterinarian to town

West Coast has not had a full-time vet since Dr. Jane Hunt surrendered her licence in 2004.

Looking back on the West Coast’s top 10 news stories

Tofino and Ucluelet’s top headlines of 2019.

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

Blue Monday is a myth but seasonal affective disorder and the winter blues are real

Canadian Mental Health Association says weather can affect mood

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Most Read