B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks to reporters at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 20, 2019. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. won’t appeal decision protecting ICBC court experts

Change to evidence rules next to save money, David Eby says

The B.C. government will attempt another legislative change in an effort to reduce the number of expert witnesses in vehicle injury cases involving ICBC, Attorney General David Eby says.

Eby said Wednesday he has decided not to appeal an October ruling that struck down caps on “adversarial” experts testifying in injury cases. He had estimated that the change could save as much as $400 million as the provincial auto insurer grapples with high court costs and two consecutive years of losing more than $1 billion.

Amendments to the Evidence Act are being prepared for next spring’s session of the B.C. legislature, in another effort to reduce court costs from vehicle accidents, as Australia and the United Kingdom have done, Eby said. He expects that change to be challenged as well, likely by the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. that has challenged a series of reforms to ICBC to limit court costs.

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson of the B.C. Supreme Court ruled Oct. 23 that restrictions on expert witnesses “infringes on the court’s jurisdiction to control its process.”

RELATED: ICBC loses court ruling limiting medical experts

RELATED: ICBC needs brokers, online renewals ‘not a priority’

ICBC posted a $50 million surplus in the first quarter of the fiscal year that began April 1, but Eby said Wednesday that has been eroded as more major injury cases emerge from the injury claims that were accumulated before changes to injury rules took effect in April. Those cases represent “a $12 billion book of liabilities,” Eby said.

ICBC court cases show some individuals have had “tens of thousands” of their settlements spent on expert reports, with the Crown corporation forced to make similar expenditures, he said.

“Our goal is to ensure that more of the settlement amount that people are entitled to goes into their pockets,” Eby said. “Our goal is to reduce the adversarial nature of the use of experts that drives much of this problem. Our goal is to reduce the expenditure for all people who have to go to court for personal injuries, a goal that will have benefits for ICBC as well, and by extension for ratepayers, who hopefully will not have to pay for as many experts on both sides in order to resolve disputes.”

The rejected changes would have limited expert witnesses and reports to court to one for “fast-tracked” cases involving claims under $100,000, and up to three for other cases.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureICBC

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motorists were ‘driving like their own Indy 500’ before fatal Abbotsford crash, court hears

Family member declares defence request for 90-day jail sentence a ‘joke’

SD 78 approves budget for 2019-2020

No changes to the bottom line, unanimous approval

Chilliwack biologist to speak on climate change at Green Party AGM

Dr. Carin Bondar is an author, adjunct professor and an explorer who has discovered new species

B.C. GAMES: Agassiz speed skater breaks through top 10 three times

Mya Onos competed with top speed skaters in province

World champion SFU Pipe Band comes to Chilliwack

SFU Pipe Band will put on a celebration of culture, music and heritage at Chilliwack Cultural Centre

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: Protesters block tracks in Maple Ridge

West Coast Express train service has been suspended, buses arranged for commuters

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

Man pleads guilty to stabbing woman, off-duty cop outside North Delta elementary school

The suspect, whose name is under a publication ban, faced 10 charges in relation to this incident

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Most Read