Mike Smyth, Province Columnist, on April 28th interviews both Ron Nairne, Partner of Giusti Nairne Personal Injury Lawyers/Vice President of the Trials Lawyers of BC and Heather Divine, founder of People in Pain Network regarding David Eby’s announcement about BC introducing a series of bills in the legislature to drastically overhaul ICBC’s claims process and save the money-losing Crown corporation more than $1 billion a year at the expense of anyone injured in a car crash due to the carelessness of another driver.
It includes a cap of $5,500 on pain-and-suffering awards to people who suffer “minor” injuries in motor-vehicle accidents. The definition of what is minor makes little sense, as it appears to exclude someone with a broken toe, but captures a person who is depressed, has PTSD, fibromyalgia or chronic pain.
The government is also diverting most ICBC claims – those valued at $50,000 and under – out of the Supreme Court of B.C. and into Civil Resolution Tribunals, unlike anywhere else in Canada.
Unlike Courts, the Civil Resolution Tribunal may not be seen to be impartial because appointees are only appointed for a short time. Further, the government anticipates that while an adjuster will argue ICBC’s case, most claimants will have to fight complex legal issues without the help of representation.
The proposed changes will not proceed without a fight from car-crash victims, and the personal-injury lawyers that represent them.