Bad News for those Injured in Car Accidents
Settlements with ICBC to compensate for pain and suffering are ending. The BC NDP has created laws to prevent innocent victims of car accidents obtaining compensation for these losses. The current government have extinguished individual rights in favour of increasing the powers of the auto monopoly ICBC.
In 2019, ICBC resolved about 24,000 injury claims. Most resulted in total awards or settlements of $100,000 or less. In 72 percent of those cases, the claimant’s case expenses were less than 6% of the settlement.
For accidents after April 1, 2019 and before May 1, 2021 the NDP created a cap of $5,600. The Minor Injury Laws describe serious and life altering injury as “minor”. This to give ICBC special treatment in the court system. Every injury, no matter how serious, is deemed minor unless the claimants can prove otherwise. The new reality is that these claimants can no longer obtain lawyers to assist in their claims. The low and arbitrary awards display the complete failure of this system to compensation innocent victims fairly.
For the injured party, not only are they denied a recovery appropriate to their pain and suffering, but, because they often do not bother to seek legal help, they deal with the indirect consequences of their injuries alone and without adequate information. ( The Society Record, Page 12)
Pain and Suffering Compensation for Accidents After May 1, 2021
Compensation for pain and suffering has virtually been eliminated by the BC NDP effective May 1, 2021. Innocent victims of car accidents can longer sue the guilty driver unless the police decide to lay criminal charges. When the law in British Columbia did allow proper compensation to victims the Supreme Court of Canada held that an award for pain and suffering cannot be inordinately high, low or disproportionate to the circumstances of the case.
The Future of ICBC Injury Claim Settlements
Christopher Ryan, director of claims strategy and programs for ICBC, confirmed that in the first nine months of ICBC’s fiscal year ending in March 2022, the average amount of settlement or judgment was approximately $100,000. The final amount of a settlement or judgment is not easily predictable. The Attorney General David Eby acknowledged that his illegal legislation required claimants to abandon legitimate claims. Mr. Eby tried to limit awards on costs to prevent claimants from receiving desperately needed funds.
Caps and the elimination of compensation for pain and suffering brought in by the NDP is inconsistent with our democratic principles supporting and promoting pain free life. Our current NDP injury claim system will not put a patient back to where they were before the injury and leaves the innocent to pay for the misbehavior of guilty drivers. Our sense of accountability as a community has already begun its decline.
Many personal injury lawyers cannot take cases for car accident after May 1, 2021. Simply put, a lawyer can do nothing when the right to seek fair compensation has been eliminated by legislation. Although these laws are being challenged, the injured are now being left behind. The loss of individual rights means that 2022 marks the first full year in which quality of life has been given no value by our government.