The Law Show – April 7: The New Minor Injury Claim Cap and the Civil Resolution Tribunal
Joe Murphy, Q.C., joined Jim Gordon for the April 7th episode of the Law Show. In this episode, they focused on the new minor injury claim cap, and how this will affect those injured in motor vehicle accidents after April 1, 2019. Joe reviews the types of injuries that will fall under the definition of “minor injury,” which Attorney General David Eby has estimated will apply to 80% of claims in the province. Joe’s concern is that the legislation is both vague and confusing and will include accident victims with serious injuries. While the increases in compensation funding for treatment is welcome, Joe worries that accident victims may not get the treatment they need because of how this new program will operate.
Joe and Jim also discussed the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) which will be handling all the “minor injury” claims after April 1, 2019; ICBC currently deals with 40,000 injury claims per year so if the AG is correct and 80% will fall into the “minor injury” category, the CRT will be handling an additional 32,000 claims per year – about 10 times the volume of matters it has been handling. Joe expressed his concerns about this essentially online tribunal, and about its expertise in determining the severity of the party’s injuries as well as the liability of the parties involved. Not only will the CRT have to decide if a person’s injuries fall under the new minor injury definition, which will be very difficult to do through an online-only system, but they will have to determine which party is liable in the accident. Until April 1, 2019 the threat/ability to go to court resulted in almost all cases settling fairly; this new “minor injury” system removes the concepts of the rules of evidence and justice from the process. Sorting out injuries and sorting out liability for an accident can be very complicated, and often depends upon evidence from lay and expert witnesses – all of which is lost with an online tribunal.