FILE - Premier John Horgan at #BCTECHSummit 2018. (flickr/Province of British Columbia)

B.C. government considering options in ICBC medical expert case: Horgan

Changes aimed at curbing costs at the financially troubled Insurance Corp. of B.C.

Premier John Horgan says the B.C. government hasn’t decided if it will appeal a court ruling that throws out restrictions on the number of medical expert reports that can be used in auto insurance claims that go before judges.

The British Columbia Supreme Court has set aside the limitation, which Attorney General David Eby introduced as part of a number of changes aimed at curbing costs at the financially troubled Insurance Corp. of B.C.

Justice Christopher Hinkson says limiting the number of medical expert reports to three in a case is unconstitutional and encroaches on the court’s jurisdiction to control its process.

His ruling this week says it restricts the core function of the court to decide a case fairly using the evidence adduced by the parties.

Horgan says he is disappointed by the ruling and the Finance Ministry is looking at the impact it will have on ICBC.

He also disagreed with the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. when it disputed a government claim that limiting testimony at trials would save $400 million a year.

“We made the decision to move in this direction, with the rules of court, because the costs were so high,” he said. “If lawyers can do it for a fraction of the price, then good for them, but that’s certainly not the evidence of the billings that we were receiving.”

READ MORE: B.C. loses court ruling on limiting experts in ICBC injury cases

The lawyers association, which acted as a petitioner in the case, says it was concerned the proposed changes would compromise the access litigants have to a fair trial.

Horgan said the court’s decision means the province will have “to reboot and take a look at the budget issues.”

“This decision is going to give us pause. We’re going to have to take stock on how we can best provide insurance for drivers.”

Changes to the public insurer’s payments and procedures were announced last year, shortly after Eby referred to ICBC as a “financial dumpster fire.”

He said in February that accident injury claims have increased 43 per cent in the past five years and the use of experts has contributed to a 20 per cent rise in the corporation’s injury settlements in the past year.

The latest fiscal year ended March 31 and the corporation announced in February that its projected deficit was $1.18 billion, on top of the $1.3 billion loss posted over the 2017-18 fiscal year. (CHNL, The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press

READ MORE: ICBC willing to loosen grip on driver claim data, David Eby says

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Kimberley Fire Department urges residents to install carbon monoxide alarms

The Kimberley Fire Department has been issuing warnings on social media about… Continue reading

Steam room at Kimberley Aquatic Centre reopens

Room was closed for months for repair

Our Home video: a prophetic snapshot of Kimberley in 1984

Video narrated by Councillor McBain highlights the importance of transition from mining to tourism

Victoria’s Carmanah performs for Fisher Peak concert series

The Fisher Peak Winter Ale Concert Series presented an intimate night of… Continue reading

VIDEO: B.C. senior recalls ‘crazy’ wartime decision to grab bear cub from den

Henry Martens – now 96 – says he was lucky to be alive after youthful decision to enter a bear’s den

Cheapest in B.C.: Penticton gas prices dip below $1 per litre

Two stores in Penticton have gas below a dollar.

Loans or gifts? Judge rules woman must pay B.C. man back $7K

B.C. judge rules that woman must pay back more than $7,000 in advanced funds to man

VIDEO: Outpouring of worldwide support for bullied Australian boy

Australian actor Hugh Jackman said ‘you are stronger than you know, mate’

‘A horror show:’ Ex-employee shares experience at problematic Chilliwack seniors’ home

Workers are paid below industry standard at all Retirement Concepts facilities

Forest industry protests northern B.C. caribou protection deal

B.C. Mining Association supports federal-Indigenous plan

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

Trudeau: Time for blockades to end and Indigenous leaders to work with government

Prime minister says situation in Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute is ‘unacceptable and untenable’

Regional District of East Kootenay draft 5-year financial plan open for review

The public comment period is open until noon on March 2

Most Read