Today the BC Government held a press conference where widespread changes targeting the rights of British Columbians to save ICBC money were announced.
In short the Government is creating an artificial cap on what they call ‘minor’ injuries. As previously discussed even ICBC admits that the term minor injury catches injuries that are ‘complex and costly’. The pain and suffering cap will be set at $5,500 and is set to kick in in April 2019.
The Government did not provide a full definition of what they call ‘minor’ but ICBC is already noting that in addition to soft tissue injuries that can disable you for up to a year the cap will also target psychological injuries with the insurer publishing a press release saying mental health issues such as ‘anxiety‘ will be caught by the cap.
The Government stated that “a medical professional” will decide if your injury is “minor“. It is unclear exactly who this medical professional will be. If you wish to dispute this designation the government is limiting your rights here as well. The press release notes that certain ICBC claims will be forced to be adjudicated, not by the courts, but by the BC Civil Resolution Tribunal. Disputes over “the classification of an injury” will be funneled this way.
As of now this Tribunal does not allow people to be represented by lawyers with s. 20 of the law creating the tribunal stating that the default position for hearings is that “the parties are to represent themselves“.
Lastly, if you wish to not have your rights stripped by caps the Government is asking that the victim of bad drivers, not the bad drivers themselves, pay more stating that “Drivers will have an option to purchase additional coverage for a higher limit in pain and suffering compensation. The limit will be set at $75,000 and will cost approximately $1,300 a year, on top of the cost of their basic and other optional insurance. Charging for this optional coverage means the customers who stand to benefit from increased coverage will pay for it, rather than every B.C. driver.”
You read that right – if you don’t want your rights stripped you need to pay $1,300 more per year, not the distracted and impaired drivers on our roads!
As Yogi Berra said, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over! If the above strikes you as unfair please contact your MLA and tell the government plainly and clearly ‘no to caps’.