June 11, 2020

Jennifer Brun to discuss CBABC Automobile Insurance Working Group (AIWG) Submission on Vehicle Tort Reform and the proposed Evidence Act Amendments.

Harris & Brun

On June 11, 2020, Jennifer Brun will be discussing the AIWG’s concerns regarding the proposed changes to the handling of motor vehicle accident claims in British Columbia with BC Attorney General, David Eby, QC and Deputy Attorney General, Richard Fyfe, QC. The proposed changes to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (Bill 11), provide for a no-fault automobile insurance system in BC. The result will be that injured British Columbians will no longer have the right to compensation for damages based on an assessment of their unique circumstances and the impact of the motor vehicle accident on their life.

Essentially, the CBABC opposes no-fault insurance in BC on the basis that it will reduce the rights of injured victims and that any system of no-fault insurance results in discriminatory consequences and eliminates accountability for at-fault drivers, with no demonstrable trade-off benefit in terms of cost savings over the long run. The submissions also address fairness concerns regarding the Civil Resolution Tribunal as a means of adjudicating appeals of ICBC claims decisions.

The proposed changes to the Evidence Act will (1) limit the number of experts and expert reports (2) restrict the amount recoverable from the unsuccessful party for the cost of each expert report to $3,000, and (3) limit total recoverable disbursements to 5% of the settlement or judgment amount. The CBABC supports a presumptive limit on the number of experts to be used at trial, but only if such a limit is made subject to variation upon agreement of the parties or at the discretion of the Court, in keeping with the principle of proportionality. The CBABC opposes an arbitrary $3,000 cap on recoverable experts’ fees, as such fees often substantially exceed $3,000 and are outside the control of the parties. The CBABC instead recommends addressing the rising cost of expert fees by directly engaging with stakeholders (including the legal and medical professions) regarding permissible amounts to be charged, then enacting a schedule of fees limiting the amount experts can charge, subject to the discretion of the Court. The CBABC opposes the proposed 5% cap on what a successful litigant can recover for disbursements incurred to prosecute or defend their case. The Court already maintains
extensive assessment procedures for determining the necessity and reasonableness of such expenses. An arbitrary cap on all disbursements is unwarranted and should be discarded in its entirety.

The AIWG’s full submissions, which you can read here, also offers responsible solutions to achieving the sought outcomes of the legislation without further limiting the rights and access to justice of British Columbians

In addition, there will be a Zoom Q&A with BC’s Attorney General at 12:30 pm on June 17, 2020. The Q&A is open to all CBA members and you are encouraged to attend.

Please visit: A Conversation with Attorney General David Eby, QC to register.

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