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

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

All-Surrey battle for South Fraser boys basketball title

At Tamanawis, the top four teams will go to provincials

Surrey RCMP boss Brian Edwards on moving forward, and what keeps him awake at night

Edwards spoke with Now-Leader reporter Tom Zytaruk about what he’s learning and hopes to accomplish as Surrey’s top cop

Hopes are for ‘focus on Surrey investments’ when Horgan speaks in March

Luncheon at golf course planned by Surrey Board of Trade

White Rock cadets nab medals at Vernon competition

Thirteen members of 907 Squadron compete at regional meet

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

‘Hilariously bad’: RCMP looking for couple with forged, paper Alberta licence plate

Mounties said the car crashed when it lost a wheel but the duo ran away as police arrived

Most Read