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.

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

Just Posted

Speedboat reportedly sinking near Manhattan Point in Kelowna

This is the third report of a boat found in the lake in the past two weeks

Kelowna General Hospital takes steps to prevent spread of coronavirus

So far, at least six people have died and 275 people have contracted the virus worldwide

Plans submitted for third hotel across from Kelowna International Airport

YLW passengers in need of accommodations could be getting another option

Vehicle fire occurred outside of fire departments’ coverage areas

Neither Summerland nor Peachland detachments attended incident at Okanagan Lake Provincial Park

Okanagan among Canada’s most at-risk habitats: WWF report

Report found the Okanagan is inadequately protected despite being a hotspot for at-risk species

UBCO students raise funds for those affected by Philippine volcano eruption

All proceeds will be donated to the Philippine Red Cross

B.C.-based Coulson Aviation C-130 crashes in Australia

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

COLUMN: Pre-clearance changes at Canadian airports

Some believe these expanded powers may be contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Man killed by police in Lytton called 911, asking to be shot: RCMP

Howard Schantz, also known as Barry Schantz was killed following a standoff at his Lytton home

Most Read