This week the BC Government published more details surrounding their new legal regime for collision victims ICBC alleges to have ‘minor’ injuries. In short it limits expert witness rights and limits fee recovery for the expenses of hiring experts.
The Accident Claims Regulation provides as follows:
– allows “on the request of a party or on the tribunal’s own initiative” for the tribunal to “appoint an expert to conduct an independent medical examination with respect to a person’s injuries related to an accident claim”
– the scope of the examination and report that follows can comment on “the nature and extent of the person’s injuries; the person’s diagnosis; the person’s condition at the time of the independent medical examination; the person’s prognosis.”
– the claimant is restricted, as a default position to “introduce expert evidence from one expert” separate from any expert the Tribunal chooses for an independent medical examination.
– the claimant can ask the tribunal for permission to have up to two additional experts “if the tribunal considers that the introduction of additional evidence is reasonably necessary and proportionate to the accident claim”.
– the following restrictions on costs recovery, both for expert witnesses and overall, are set out
(i) $2 000 is the limit prescribed for expenses and charges payable in
relation to each expert, including any expenses and charges payable
in relation to reports or other evidence prepared by each expert
providing expert evidence, and
(ii) $5 000 is the total limit prescribed for all recoverable fees, expenses
and charges, including any expenses and charges payable under
Just to break down how this work. If you are injured in a crash and ICBC alleges you have a ‘minor’ injury (whether your injury is minor or not) you will have to go to the Tribunal. The Tribunal will have to decide if your injury is minor. If not you are free to go to Court. If it is deemed ‘minor’ you will remain stuck in the Tribunal for quantum to be decided unless you persuade the Tribunal that there is “a substantial likelihood that damages will exceed the tribunal limit“. These barriers must be overcome with a limited budget and experts because as a default you will be limited to one expert and can only recovery $2,000 for that expert’s services even if more is charged.