Injury Claimants Now Entitled to Fair Costs
Auto insurance monopoly ICBC has lost the ability to deny injury claimants case costs in this dramatic Supreme Court ruling ( ICBC 6% rule overturned). ICBC claimants can now obtain more money to compensate for case expenses. Many of these injury cases have dragged on due to ICBC’s failure to make reasonable offers of settlement. ICBC made low unreasonable offers to settle under the 6% rule brought in by the NDP. This decision will help put injury claimants back on an equal footing.
The Supreme Court declared on July 8, 2022 that the NDP law limiting injury claim costs to 6% is unconstitutional. The law brought in by NDP David Eby financially benefited ICBC. This meant that money that should have been going to the injured was going to ICBC. The thinly veiled purpose of this legislation was to improve the finances of ICBC by reducing the payout of legitimate costs.
Sadly, the Attorney General David Eby acknowledged that his law forced innocent claimants to abandon legitimate claims. This was all done to put more money in the pocket of ICBC.
In 2019, ICBC resolved about 24,000 injury claims. Most injury claims resulted in awards or settlements of $100,000 or less. Case expenses exceeded 6% of the award or settlement in about two thirds of the cases where injury claimants received an amount between $100,000 and $1 million. This was a huge win fall to ICBC, keeping money it should have paid to the injured.
Many injury claimants have been awaiting for this decision and can now take steps to force ICBC to pay reasonable cases costs. There should however also be discussion of a class action law suit and damages awarded to re-pay claimants that were impacted by this illegal law.
6% Limit on Legitimate Case Expenses
The petitioners asked the court to declare invalid a regulation that limited the recovery of disbursements by the successful parties in personal injury actions arising from motor vehicle accidents. The challenge was therefore both administrative law and constitutional grounds.
The NDP brought this law to cap the case expenses that a successful injury claimant may recover. Injury claims were capped to 6% of either the total awarded by the court or the settlement amount. The law had the most impact on cases decided at trial or settled shortly before trial. in those cases. The most significant disbursements are usually fees charged by medical and other expert witnesses for their opinion reports and testimony.
This winning case again shows how far the current government will go to help ICBC. As injury claimants continue to lose their right to fair and reasonable compensation, auto insurance giant ICBC continues to acquire more power.
The Decision to Strike Down the 6% Rule
This law was struck down as it prevented injury claimants from accessing the courts. Section 5 of the disbursements and expert evidence regulation is inconsistent with the enabling statute, s. 12.1 of the Evidence Act, and contrary to s.96 of the Constitution Act, 1867. Accordingly, it is of no force or effect.
I expect the the NDP government and David Eby will want to appeal this decision. There may also be the possibility of a class action lawsuit by injury claimants to recover money that ICBC has kept under this illegal law.