ICBC Law

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Canadian Bar Association Comes Out Swinging Against Proposed Law Stripping Judicial Access For British Columbians

The current BC Government talks tough about impaired and distracted driving.  Instead of taking action against poor drivers, however, the Government has inexplicably introduced a Bill targeting the rights of those injured by negligent drivers.  Not only does the Bill take away the judicial rights of British Columbians, it also takes away their common law compensatory rights.

In a move that is medically baffling the proposed law calls a host serious medical conditions including major depression, PTSD, Anxiety Disorders and Chronic Pain Symptoms “minor injuries“.

The BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association is the latest to speak against this proposed law.  In a press release issued today the CBABC raises the following concerns.  Hopefully the Government is listening.

CBABC President Bill Veenstra calls on Attorney General David Eby and Premier John Horgan to withdraw provisions in proposed new legislation introduced yesterday that restrict the rights of citizens to receive full and fair compensation and create new, exclusive resolution processes for disputes outside of the Courts.

“The approach that the government is taking punishes victims of negligence and does not reflect the many ways that our members and others have identified as data-driven, innovative solutions to address the Corporation’s multiple years of over-extending its liabilities while providing profits to government,” said President Veenstra.

“ICBC for many years was extremely profitable, resulting in government taking funds out of ICBC that never should have been taken out. The shift from very profitable to very unprofitable has many reasons beyond an increased number of collisions. ICBC will not be moved to a profitable or self-sustaining model without addressing these systemic reasons.”

“Of significant concern are the proposed changes to the ability of an insured person to resolve disputes about what is fair and adequate for their injuries through the courts. The Civil Resolution Tribunal is a relatively new organization with very little experience in personal injury matters. Its adjudicators have short tenures and thus limited independence from government, and the Tribunal is responsible to the same Minister as ICBC,” said Veenstra. “The proposed threshold of $50,000 is substantially greater than the CRT’s current threshold of $5,000 for small claims. Our courts do a good job of resolving disputes fairly, and trial dates are available within a few months for those plaintiffs who have straightforward claims and whose injuries have resolved. The government’s emphasis on speedy resolution through the CRT fails to account for the importance of ensuring that injuries have resolved before any decision is made on compensation.”

“There is no question that change needs to happen at ICBC, to make it accountable and ensure that its business management decisions are made in a transparent way. Providing the Corporation with an open avenue to limit how much someone can receive to cope with the impact of their injuries only punishes BC citizens without any consequences for the Corporation not improving its own management practices. The people of BC deserve better from their insurer, and from their Government,” said Veenstra.

 

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