British Columbia's "Minor" Injury Law Says One Year Actually Means Forever
Yes, you read that right. 12 months is 1 year but according to new Laws and Regulations passed by British Columbia 12 months actually means forever.
What am I talking about? Earlier this year the BC Government passed a law capping non-pecuniary damages for what they call ‘minor’ injuries. The law states that if the injuries cause “serious impairment“, however, that they are no longer minor and not subject to the cap. Seems fair enough right? Read on.
To meet the definition of ‘serious impairment‘ in section 101(1) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act the injury must not “be resolved within 12 months” and meet whatever further criteria the government dog-piles on via Regulation.
Last week the Government published their Regulations which added the requirement in addition to the 12 month duration required in the Act the injury must basically be disabling to lead to ‘serious impairment‘. Then, they went further and said the 12 month injury also has to be permanent with a requirement that “the impairment is not expected to improve substantially”.
So when the Government tells you that injuries that last more than 12 months are not subject to the cap they are lying. They in fact require the injuries to be disabling and permanent to shed the restrictions of the cap.
This inconsistency between the Act and Regulations appears illogical, incoherent and contrary to the stated intention of capping minor injuries. A situation that opens the harsh Regulation to judicial challenge. Probably one of many to come by British Columbians impacted by these new laws in 2019.