In recent months both ICBC and the Provincial Government have been vocal in criticizing the use of medico-legal reports in injury litigation resulting in rule changes restricting the rights of litigants in relying on such evidence. In reality ICBC has no reservations seeking out numerous expert reports when it suits their interests in litigation. This inconsistency resulted in critical comments today from the BC Supreme Court.
Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for chronic psychological injuries sustained in a collision.
Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Court of Appeal confirming it was not an error in law for a trial judge to rely on male labour market contingencies when assessing damages for an injured female plaintiff.
Update – Below is a copy of the filed Notice of Civil Claim. It is a compelling and concise pleading and I recommend that lawyers and non-lawyers alike review the arguments in full. In short it argues that the scheme of capping ‘minor‘ injuries and forcing some claims away from the BC Supreme Court violates s. 15 of the Charter (which I previously discussed here) and also is an improper derogation from the Superior Court’s jurisdiction as contemplated by s. 96 of the Constitution Act.
In the latest ‘reform’ of the law for collision victims in BC the government has passed a new regulation shortening the time to submit receipts to ICBC from 2 years to a mere 60 days.
Today Order in Council 136 was approved. Among the changes is the creation of section 88.01 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation creating a far shorter deadline for the submission of receipts to ICBC. The new section reads as follows:
Requirement for receipts
88.01 (1) If an accident occurs for which benefits are provided under section 88, the insured must provide to the corporation a receipt for the expenses incurred that will be compensated as benefits under that section no later than 60 days from the date that those expenses are incurred.
(2) The corporation is not liable to an insured who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this section.
This requirement appears not to be retroactive with section 104.21 noting “Section 88.01 applies in respect of an accident that occurs on or after April 1, 2019.“.
If you don’t submit your receipts in this timeframe and cannot get them covered by your own insurance you may also be out of luck recovering the expenses in your claim against the at-fault motorist as the Government’s ‘reforms’ have severely stripped peoples rights to claim special damages if they are injured in a BC collision.
This post will be short and to the point. I received a few calls this week from people telling me that, after discussions with adjusters, they had the impression that upcoming ‘minor injury’ caps may apply to them. If you had a BC crash before April 1, 2019 the caps don’t apply to your claim. Period. The law is not retroactive. If you wait until after April 1 to settle your pre-April 1 crash the caps will not apply to you. If someone is suggesting otherwise it simply is not true.
If you were involved in a BC crash and wish to discuss this further don’t hesitate to call me, toll free, at 1800-663-6299 or reach me confidentially here.
Earlier this year BC’s Attorney General announced changes to the BC Supreme Court Rules limiting how many expert witnesses litigants can use when prosecuting a personal injury lawsuit arising from a motor vehicle collision. The rule change was brought in without notice and without support from the Rules committee.
The retroactive and without notice restriction was subject to much criticism and judicial challenges were swiftly brought. The Government has backed down and before a judicial challenge was ruled on they amended the rule to delay its application only to trials set from 2020 onward.
The new Order in Council, approved and ordered today, reads as follows:
1 Rule 11-8 (11) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules, B.C. Reg. 168/2009, is repealed and the following substituted:
Transition – exceptions for existing vehicle actions
(11) The following exceptions apply in relation to a vehicle action for which a notice of claim was filed before February 11, 2019:
(a) the limits set out in subrule (3) do not apply (i) to any report of an expert that was served in accordance with these Supreme Court Civil Rules before February 11, 2019, or (ii) to the vehicle action if the trial date set out in the notice of trial filed in relation to the vehicle action is on or before December 31, 2019;
(b) the limits set out in subrule (8) do not apply (i) to amounts that were necessarily or properly incurred for expert opinion evidence before February 11, 2019, or (ii) to the vehicle action in the circumstances referred to in paragraph (a) (ii).
Although the recent ICBC and BC Government narrative attempts to paint injury claimants in an unreasonable light in reality ICBC often refuses reasonable settlement offers only to be ordered to pay far more at trial. Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vernon Registry, demonstrating such a result.
In the recent case (Moreira v. Crichton) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2013 collision. The Defendant admitted fault. The crash resulted in chronic pain with a poor prognosis. This in turn resulted in real disability and significant past and future medical costs and wage loss. The Plaintiff made a formal settlement offer of $480,000. ICBC refused to pay and the matter proceeded to trial where the Plaintiff’s claim was valued over $800,000. ICBC was ordered to pay double costs for refusing the Plaintiff’s reasonable settlement efforts.
Today the Court assessed these costs at $33,264 and ordered that ICBC pay this over and above the value of the claim. Unreasonable positions by litigants have consequences. Here ICBC was ordered to pay a substantial penalty for refusing to treat the plaintiff fairly. In reaching this assessment of costs Master McDiarmid provided the following reasons:
 This is an assessment of costs following a trial before Mr. Justice Betton. The trial was heard in late January and early February 2018; Betton J.’s Reasons for Judgment were rendered on July 31, 2018 cited at Moreira v. Crichton, 2018 BCSC 1281. The total judgment was $804,914.48.
 The plaintiff had offered to settle for $480,000.00 by way of a formal offer to settle on May 23, 2017. In a subsequent hearing in front of Betton J. on December 18, 2018, he ordered that the plaintiff was entitled to costs, including double costs after May 23, 2017…
 That totals 270 units at $110.00 per unit for a subtotal of $29,700.00, plus 7% PST of $2,079.00 and 5% GST of $1,485.00 for a total of tariff item costs, inclusive of taxes, of $33,264.00. The disbursements on a Bill of Costs should reflect my decision, together with the effect of my decision on applicable taxes on disbursements.
 The disbursements on that Bill of Costs should reflect my decision, together with the effect of my decision on applicable taxes.
 If required, plaintiff’s counsel may submit to me a revised Bill of Costs and certificate, in accordance with these reasons.