CRT May Not Respect Your Evidence Or Even Follow The Basic Rules Of EvidenceNov 25 2019
In our two previous blog articles, we addressed potential unfairness and bias in the process of the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT), which is now mandated to handling what the government and ICBC consider to be “minor injury” claims arising from motor vehicle accidents in BC.
Yet another disturbing aspect of what the CRT website is holding out for the public is the “value of certain evidence” that it will consider in determining the value of the claim presented by an accident injury victim.
Decision Letters As Evidence
Under the heading “Helpful documents for calculating a damages claim” found within the CRT website is this statement: “generally, claims for damages require evidence such as medical records and/or reports; decision letters from your insurer about fault and accident benefits”.
It is this last section that has us most concerned. In a recent letter to David Eby, Attorney General and Minister responsible for ICBC, the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia (TLABC) has pointed out that “decision letters from an insurer, adverse in interest to a claimant, are inadmissible hearsay, not proof of their truth, and inherently self-serving”.
Why Is This A Concern?
The CRT is a quasi-judicial administrative tribunal charged with ensuring that decisions relating to possible “minor injury” claims are done fairly and impartially. Based on this, why would the CRT be relying on hearsay decision letters from ICBC as to apportionment of damages as either proof of its truth or even as anything on which the CRT should be relying on assessing fault?
ICBC has an inherently adverse interest to all claimants and so its position on liability should not be considered as “evidence” at all. But what if an ICBC letter says that it is refusing to pay benefits? Will the CRT then accept such a letter as proof of its truth and, in doing so, decide that an accident victim is therefore not entitled to benefits without actually considering the medical evidence?
This misguided pronunciation by the CRT as to what evidence it will consider is not just offensive; it is legally reprehensible and presents a clear indication of bias and probable errors that will favour ICBC and not accident injury victims. As the TLABC points out, this raises serious credibility issues since it will be hard to believe that the CRT can operate as a completely neutral organization.
Victims’ rights have been eroded tremendously to date and the CRT appears to be furthering that erosion through both ICBC and the government.
If you are an injured accident victim, you will find it increasingly difficult to navigate the minefield of new legislation and rules imposed by the government and ICBC. We encourage you to reach out to an experienced personal injury lawyer for assistance. RDM Lawyers LLP has been helping injured victims of car accidents for almost 50 years.