The NDP Government Is Misleading The Public Under The New Injury CapsAug 13 2019
On April 1st of this year, legislative changes introduced by the NDP government came into effect, ushering in a new regime of motor vehicle injury compensation. David Eby, the minister responsible for ICBC, was behind the changes that will negatively impact the ability of victims of car accidents to receive proper and fair compensation.
As of that date, the government delegated responsibility for the determination of what will constitute a “minor injury” arising from any motor vehicle accident in British Columbia to the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT). The CRT is being described by the government as an “independent tribunal”, which is an assertion the public should be very concerned about.
The CRT & “Unbiased” Information
The CRT is structured to operate primarily as an online tribunal. Therefore, it is crucial that information made available to the public be fair and unbiased.
But the CRT’s website, however, contains content which the Trial Lawyers Association of British Columbia and its members have identified as being misleading or inaccurate when it comes to interpreting the new legislation on the law of damages and even basic laws of evidence. Moreover, this same website demonstrates a bias in favor of ICBC by suggesting that “faster resolution” of claims is available to members of the general public by negotiating directly with the insurer.
An example of this misleading website content is found under the heading “What you should know about minor injury” where the CRT professes to state “…it’s not a minor injury if you’re assessed with a serious impairment. A serious impairment is when you’re unable to work, go to school, or care for yourself for more than 12 months after the accident”.
- The actual definition of “serious impairment” does not require a person to be “unable to work” or “unable to go to school” but the quoted explanation does not make that clear.
- Rather, “serious impairment” is defined as physical or mental impairments that result in one’s “substantial inability” to perform “essential tasks” associated with employment, training or education.
Why the public should be concerned
Members of the CRT are appointed by the government for relatively short terms of two years. They are subject to reappointment, presumably based upon how well individual members perform in their roles in the eyes of the government and ICBC.
It stands to reason, then, that there can be no “independence” when one’s job security is dependent upon keeping ICBC’s costs at a minimum. ICBC and its employees are not – and never have been – primarily interested in the rights of victims of car accidents. They are mandated to keep claims costs down and to settle claims as inexpensively as possible.
Through its new legislation, the government has created a minefield for accident injury victims by sending out misleading information that suggests the ease with which potentially minor injury claims can and should be resolved. This is not to say that minor injuries do not occur and that a good percentage of the motoring public will not be caught by this new legislation. However, there exists a very real and present risk that people can be lulled into believing they may be suffering from a minor injury when, in fact, they are not.
If you have questions about what is or is not considered to be a “minor injury” under the new legislation, we encourage you to consult with a member of the personal injury law team at RDM Lawyers. RDM has been providing personal injury law services in BC for more than 40 years.