Photograph of Judge's gavel by Bill Oxford
The Trial Lawyers Association of BC says the province’s plan to cut ICBC premiums by removing lawyers and legal costs from the system is deeply disappointing.
The Association says BC’s announcement of a no-fault insurance scheme for the province is an alarming move that puts injured and vulnerable people at further risk.
Premier John Horgan has announced that legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks that will lower ICBC premiums by about 20-percent.
That is expected to save an average of four-hundred dollars for drivers.
Trial Lawyers Association president John Rice says “this government is doubling down on its failed policy to take away the legal rights of British Columbians while protecting ICBC management who have gotten us into this mess in the first place.”
The association says the government brought in changes in the spring of 2019, including what it promised the public was a “minor” injury cap. In fact, the cap included brain injuries, depression, PTSD, chronic pain and many other serious injuries. Rice says the “government is announcing the injury cap policy has failed.”
Rice adds that “this move will reward bad drivers and will reduce the ability for injured and vulnerable British Columbians to receive a fair settlement when injured.”
The provincial government says maximum care and treatment benefits for anyone injured in a crash will increase to at least 7.5-million dollars, and new benefits will provide care for those most seriously injured, for as long as they need it. These benefits will be available to every British Columbian without having to hire a lawyer.
The government says improvements will be achieved by removing the majority of legal fees and other costs associated with the current litigation-based system. The savings are expected to be 1.5-Billion dollars in the first year.
Rather than using a lawyer, the government says people with complaints or disputes about a claim, or payments can use the Civil Resolution Tribunal, the BC ombudsperson, and the ICBC fairness officer, who is going to be appointed by the government.