FILE - Premier John Horgan at #BCTECHSummit 2018. (flickr/Province of British Columbia)

B.C. government considering options in ICBC medical expert case: Horgan

Changes aimed at curbing costs at the financially troubled Insurance Corp. of B.C.

Premier John Horgan says the B.C. government hasn’t decided if it will appeal a court ruling that throws out restrictions on the number of medical expert reports that can be used in auto insurance claims that go before judges.

The British Columbia Supreme Court has set aside the limitation, which Attorney General David Eby introduced as part of a number of changes aimed at curbing costs at the financially troubled Insurance Corp. of B.C.

Justice Christopher Hinkson says limiting the number of medical expert reports to three in a case is unconstitutional and encroaches on the court’s jurisdiction to control its process.

His ruling this week says it restricts the core function of the court to decide a case fairly using the evidence adduced by the parties.

Horgan says he is disappointed by the ruling and the Finance Ministry is looking at the impact it will have on ICBC.

He also disagreed with the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. when it disputed a government claim that limiting testimony at trials would save $400 million a year.

“We made the decision to move in this direction, with the rules of court, because the costs were so high,” he said. “If lawyers can do it for a fraction of the price, then good for them, but that’s certainly not the evidence of the billings that we were receiving.”

READ MORE: B.C. loses court ruling on limiting experts in ICBC injury cases

The lawyers association, which acted as a petitioner in the case, says it was concerned the proposed changes would compromise the access litigants have to a fair trial.

Horgan said the court’s decision means the province will have “to reboot and take a look at the budget issues.”

“This decision is going to give us pause. We’re going to have to take stock on how we can best provide insurance for drivers.”

Changes to the public insurer’s payments and procedures were announced last year, shortly after Eby referred to ICBC as a “financial dumpster fire.”

He said in February that accident injury claims have increased 43 per cent in the past five years and the use of experts has contributed to a 20 per cent rise in the corporation’s injury settlements in the past year.

The latest fiscal year ended March 31 and the corporation announced in February that its projected deficit was $1.18 billion, on top of the $1.3 billion loss posted over the 2017-18 fiscal year. (CHNL, The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

READ MORE: ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

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

West Kootenay SPCA hopes you’ll have a heart for Cupid

Cat who tangled with a bobcat seeking a permanent home

New ‘hub’ model takes regional approach to doctor recruitment in West Kootenay

Kootenay-Boundary a provincial leader in effectively attracting doctors to work here

Painting Ourselves Visible group to create mural

A new partnership between Kootenay Gallery of Art and Castlegar Pride

Castlegar Skating Club prepares for regional championships

Watch local skaters on March 11 at 4:30 p.m.

Castlegar council develops policy for question period

Questions must pertain to current agenda items and issues or items of interest to the general public

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read