WES MUSSIO OF MUSSIO GOODMAN LAWYERS FEATURED IN NATIONAL MAGAZINE PUBLICATION, CANADIAN LAWYER MAGAZINE
The NDP government, in support of ICBC, has been introducing one-sided legislation since early 2018 which substantially compromises victim rights for fair compensation when a citizen is injured in a motor vehicle accident in British Columbia that is not his/her fault. In turn, ICBC has received substantial powers to minimize any pay out to injured victims under the one-sided legislative initiatives of the NDP government.
The new legislation, for accidents that occurred on or after April 1, 2019, involves severely restricting compensation for injuries by limiting pain and suffering to $5500, indexed for inflation. The limit on pain and suffering is for injuries that are deemed “minor” but the NDP introduced the definition of minor that includes catastrophic, permanent and life-changing injuries as well. Indeed, the legislation introduced by the NDP to help ICBC categorizes obviously serious injuries like brain injury and chronic pain as being “minor”. This is clearly for the purpose of the NDP government selling to the public that only “minor” injuries are affected when in actual fact, the truth is serious injuries are capped at $5,500.
The level of compensation available to victims will impede the ability of victims to retain a lawyer to help him/her deal with ICBC and the Civil Resolution Tribunal. Judging from public statements by David Eby, the Attorney General, one of the purposes of the NDP’s legislative changes is to reduce lawyer involvement in ICBC files which, in turn, means reducing access to justice for victims of car crashes.
The clear consequences of these changes are a lot less legal work which will almost certainly create extensive layoffs across the industry. Although the full effects of the legislative change are unknown, you can expect between 4,000 to 10,000 job losses ranging from jobs of junior lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, receptionists, court reporters, medical office assistants, etc. Of the job losses, most will be women and lower income earners. This is in stark contrast to the NDP holding themselves out as an advocate for workers and the less fortunate.
This article discusses the impact of ICBC’s CAP no-fault system on the legal community. Since the article was written, the NDP is going forward with full no-fault which will be even more decimating to jobs in the legal community. Victims of car crashes will not receive much in the way of compensation and ICBC will be able to minimize the amount paid out under any claim. The at-fault driver that caused the accident will be the big winner getting similar benefits as the person(s) who got injured as a result of the negligence, poor judgement and bad behaviour of the at-fault driver.
You can read the article featuring Wes Mussio here: Insurance Cap Article