As an advocate for the injured for over 23 years I have never experienced the level of discrimination now faced by auto injury victims in British Columbia. The Attorney General, our chief advisor of law to the government, distains injury victims access to legal advice and the court system, recently blaming lawyers for pushing back against the monopoly ICBC.
ICBC is starting 2019 by withdrawing any reasonable offer made to injury claimants in 2018. ICBC does not state the actual law supporting the denials in these injury claims, and our NDP government will not be coming to the aid of these victims. ICBC is withdrawing already very low offers and replacing them with offers no claimant can accept.
This behaviour by ICBC is a repeat performance from their 2012 audit which forced hundreds of cases into court costing ICBC billions of dollars. The reward for creating this disaster was given to ICBC by Mr. Eby, the Minor Injury Caps Regulations. With Mr. Eby at the helm, ICBC will have another financial crisis brewing in another 1-2 years. With the next financial disaster, ICBC will want all the power, that means full no fault auto insurance.
Now taking advantage of their new found powers, ICBC are creating a fiction whereby serious injury will be called minor, in cases that ICBC has to pay. This will accrue huge savings on victims healthcare costs because, now being minor, the claim for serious impairment can be totally denied and treatment support for serious impairment refused as not medically necessary. Attorney General, Mr. Eby, has offered no new legal aid funding for auto injury victims to fight this new discriminatory law.
Since the creation of ICBC in 1972 BC has not had a litigation-based insurance model or a full tort system, rather a hybrid no-fault system run by a government monopoly . Bill Carpenter, ICBC’s vice president of insurance provided Canadian Underwriter with misinformation recently in response to comments, saying , “B.C. is the last province in Canada with an unrestricted litigation-based insurance model – a full tort system with no current restriction on what you can sue for, no matter how small your injury. A full tort product is simply more expensive compared to one with caps/limits, or no fault systems generally.” This is simply untrue as we do not have a full tort system in British Columbia.
Currently, there are several restrictions on injury claims (too many to list) and ICBC is already well insulated as an auto insurance corporation. The truth is, the only cost to a full tort system is the governments commitment to upholding principles of justice.
Given these ICBC settlement amount withdrawals, it is even more important that ICBC claimants get legal advice.