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

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Keep a lookout for monsters around Kitimat during the week leading up to Halloween. (Black Press file photo)
Lions and tigers and…monsters? Oh my!

Find monsters hiding around town during the week leading up to Halloween to be entered for a prize

Liz Thorne is president of the Snow Valley Ski Club, and has been involved with the club and cross country skiing for over 30 years. (Clare Rayment)
In Our Valley: Liz Thorne

Thorne has been involved with the Snow Valley Ski Club for over 30 years

The car was trapped, with its driver inside, in a ditch off Hirsch Creek Main near Onion Lake overnight Monday (Oct. 19). Oct. 20, 2020. Kitimat RCMP photo.
Man found after spending overnight stuck in car in a ditch near Onion Lake

Kitimat RCMP said the man was stuck there overnight for about 10 hours

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Mail-in ballot from Elections BC (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
At least 26% of eligible voters have already cast their ballot, Elections BC says

Voters can cast a ballot until 8 p.m PST on Election Day

Most Read