ICBC "Minor Injury" Tribunal Designed To Be Unfair
This week the BC Government is debating amendments to laws creating the Civil Resolution Tribunal to expand their powers to have mandatory jurisdiction over “minor” injury litigation.
As previously discussed, the word “minor” is being used to mislead the public. The Government has defined the word to include many serious and disabling injuries including
- Chronic Depression
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Conversion Disorders
- Chronic Pain Syndromes
- Chronic physical injuries
- Disabling physical injuries
- All psychological “conditions”
- All psychiatric “conditions”
In any event, the Civil Resolution Tribunal Amendment Act which may pass into law as early as next week takes away the right of British Columbians injured by careless drivers on our roadways to go to court. Instead this law requires you to go to a Tribunal that will decide whether you have a “minor” injury and your level of compensation which will also be capped.
In debate this week the Government admits that their purpose in funnelling claims here is to create an unfair landscape. They expressly state they hope to discourage the injured party from hiring a lawyer and to have you face an ICBC “specialist” in the dispute.
Here is our Attorney General expressly stating the intent of the legislation is to discourage people from hiring a lawyer when they are forced to litigate an injury claim:
The intent is to have this tribunal operate in most cases without counsel. You’ll see, in this section that we’re talking about, that we’re making an exception, saying:
“Look, if you really want to bring a lawyer here, given the amount of money that you’re going to pay in legal fees and the amount that’s under dispute, which by definition under this act, is less than $50,000…. If you really want to bring a lawyer, you can bring a lawyer. But the amount of money that you’re going to spend on your lawyer is going to eat up a lot of your award, so it’s probably not to your interest.”
So, the Government has created a system where they don’t want you to have a lawyer. And who do they want you to face in the Tribunal? An ICBC “specialist.“.
Again, from our Attorney General
The intention is currently that an ICBC adjuster would attend. ICBC would be the respondent to the claim. So when someone who has been in an accident doesn’t agree with what the adjuster has said their claim is worth…. they can go to the civil resolution tribunal to have that dispute heard. There has to be someone on the other side saying here’s what we think the claim is worth. Currently, ICBC’s thinking is…. that that person would be an adjuster….They are specialists in determining the value of claims.
So those people would be attending the hearing, making representations to the tribunal about what their position is — what the claim is worth. The person who was in the accident makes representation, with their medical records and their costs and so on, to the tribunal about what they think the claim is worth. Then the tribunal would make a decision
So there you have it. The purpose of the government’s new law is to reduce your right to compensation when injured by a distracted or impaired driver and if you don’t like it to have your dispute heard, without a lawyer, facing an insurance company paid for “specialist”.