The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, is a government created corporate monopoly for third party auto insurance. ICBC has recently began to use its’ power, after injury claimants accept an offer of settlement, to refuse injury claimants the cost of diagnosis, assessment and treatment of personal injuries(ICBC denial of costs provokes court comment).
In this personal injury case,Schroeder v. McGivern, 2015 BCSC 362, the car accident injury claim was settled three days before trial when the claimant, after negotiating, accepted the defendants’ formal offer to settle of $85,000 plus taxable costs and disbursements. However, for more than one year the defendant and the claimant argued about the bill of costs produced by the claimant for the case expenses such as medical reports and laser printing. Despite settling for $85,000.00, the defendant took the following position,
The defendants submit that all the contested experts were unnecessary and improper within the context of this case. In the alternative, the defendants submit that the amounts billed by the individual experts were excessive and unjustified and therefore ought to be reduced.
The court disagreed and awarded almost all of these expenses to the claimant stating:
Unlike the property damage in Kern Chevrolet Oldsmobile Ltd., the plaintiff’s damages could not be quantified from a static position. The plaintiff’s injuries had to be diagnosed, and the etiology determined, with an accompanying prognosis over the course of the years.
ICBC, based on the behaviour of its’ lawyers, wants desperately and myopically to restrict the medical and expert opinion available to support personal injury claims. If successful, this will prevent claimants from proving cases in court and reduce the overall costs that ICBC will be responsible for paying, offloading these costs onto the government of BC.
ICBC’s attempt to reduce claims costs on the back of injury claimants and the government not only offends against the purpose for the creation of an ICBC but also uncovers the dangers of economic monopoly. ICBC’s apparent decision to fight the medical and expert costs of claimant’s has burdened an already underfunded government run court system and caused financial upset for many victim’s of personal injury.
ISSUE:Does British Columbia still need a government created corporate monopoly for third party auto insurance?
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.