CRT Moves Ahead With “Minor Injury” Determination Despite Ongoing Indivisible Injury Litigation in BC Supreme Court
Reasons for judgement were published recently by BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal declining to refuse to determine a minor injury determination dispute despite the party having previous injuries from previous crashes with ongoing litigation in the BC Supreme Court.
In the recent case (Godwin v. Bui) the parties were involved in a May, 2019 collision. The Respondent was injured in the crash and proceedings were field in the CRT who wished to move ahead to decide both liability for the crash and whether the injuries at question were ‘minor’.
The Respondent noted it would be inappropriate to decide the issue as he was injured in two previous collisions that pre-date the CRT’s jurisdiction which were in active litigation in the BC Supreme Court. He argued that “the issues are so intertwined with the other actions that it would be impractical for the CRT to make any minor injury determination in this dispute“. The Applicant did not strongly oppose this with the CRT noting the Applicant “essentially agrees that all the matters should be heard together at the BCSC.“.
Despite this the CRT refused to decline to refuse their determination and noted they would go ahead with their decision. In reaching this conclusion Vice Chair Andrea Ritchie provided the following reasons:
Before the May 2, 2019 accident with Mr. Godwin, Mr. Bui was involved in two prior motor vehicle accidents, one on March 6, 2014 and one on May 7, 2015. These two prior accidents are undisputedly the subject of proceedings at the BCSC. Mr. Bui argues his injuries from all three accidents overlap and are indivisible from one another.
As noted above, the issue before me in this preliminary decision is whether I should refuse to resolve Mr. Godwin’s request for a minor injury determination for Mr. Bui’s injuries related to the May 2, 2019 accident. Mr. Bui argues that the CRT should refuse to resolve this dispute, so it may be heard at the BCSC with the other two actions, along with the liability and damages aspect arising from the May 2, 2019 accident. Mr. Bui says the issues are so intertwined with the other actions that it would be impractical for the CRT to make any minor injury determination in this dispute. Mr. Godwin essentially agrees that all the matters should be heard together at the BCSC.
Under sections 133(1)(b) and 133(2)(a) of the CRTA, the CRT has exclusive jurisdiction over the determination of whether an injury is a “minor injury” for the purpose of the IVA.
Section 115 of the CRTA says that where the CRT has exclusive jurisdiction, it has exclusive jurisdiction to inquire into, hear, and determine all those matters and questions of fact, law, and discretion arising under the CRTA or required to be determined by the CRT under the CRTA.
Under section 16.1(2)(a) of the CRTA, if a party alleges a matter in a proceeding before the court relates to whether an injury is a minor injury, the court must stay the court proceeding until the CRT makes a minor injury determination. Under section 16.1(1)(a), if the only matter before the court is within the exclusive jurisdiction of the CRT, the court must dismiss the entire proceeding. There is no discretion for a court to decide to hear a minor injury determination because, as noted above, minor injury determinations are within the exclusive jurisdiction of the CRT.
Bui raises the factors to consider when assessing whether court proceedings should be tried together. However, that is not the issue before me. The parties have agreed to hear the liability and damages claim related to the May 2, 2019 accident at the BCSC, not the CRT. For all intents and purposes, the three accidents’ damages claims are already being heard together. However, the BCSC does not have jurisdiction to hear the minor injury determination dispute, only the CRT does.
In considering all of the above, because the CRT has exclusive jurisdiction over minor injury determinations, I decline to refuse to resolve this minor injury determination dispute. Therefore, the dispute will continue through the CRT’s process. Nothing in this decision prevents the parties from coming to an agreement about whether Mr. Bui’s injuries resulting from the May 2, 2019 accident are minor or not.