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

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

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
The City of Castlegar’s outdoor community ice rinks are now open for skating. Photo: City of Castlegar
Castlegar outdoor ice rinks open again

Hockey is not permitted at the rinks this year

A garage on 5th Street was destroyed by fire in December 2020. Photo: Glen Freeman
Castlegar Fire Department calls down, but damages up in 2020

2020 second highest year in fire losses

Castlegar Sculpturewalk 2020 – 10 Year Anniversary Sand Sculpture. (Submitted/CBT)
CBT arts and culture grant program now accepting applications

Apply through the Kootenay Columbia Cultural Alliance

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

People walk along a pedestrianized zone of Sainte-Catherine street in Montreal, Monday, May 18, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. Newly released statistics point to a major drop in police-recorded crime during the first eight months of the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Crime down in first 8 months of pandemic, but mental health calls rise: StatCan

The agency says violent crimes such as assault dropped significantly

Cowichan Tribes chief Squtxulenhuw (William Seymour) confirmed the first death in the First Nations community from COVID-19. (File photo)
Cowichan Tribes confirms 1st death amid growing COVID-19 outbreak

Shelter-in-place order has been extended to Feb. 5

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(Pixabay)
B.C. teacher gets 1 day suspension after ‘aggressively’ throwing dumbbell at student

Documents show the weight would have hit the student if they didn’t catch it

This 2020 electron microscope image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases - Rocky Mountain Laboratories shows SARS-CoV-2 virus particles which cause COVID-19, isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, NIAID-RML
B.C. ramping up screening for faster-spreading COVID-19 ‘variants of concern’

B.C. has sequenced about 11,000 COVID-positive samples since last February

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Keygan Power with brother Quintin and mom Allison while camping the weekend before Keygan’s brain hemorrhage on Aug. 2, 2020. (Photo Allison Power)
B.C. teen ‘locked inside,’ battling to regain speech after severe brain bleed

16-year-old suffers traumatic loss of function, still plays a mean game of chess

Most Read