Legislative amendments have been introduced that will reduce the cost and complexity of lawsuits under the current auto insurance system.
Proposed legislative amendments to the Evidence Act will limit the number of experts and expert reports that can be used in court on the issue of damages, while also providing judicial discretion to allow additional expert reports in appropriate cases. There will be a limit of one expert and expert report for each party for fast-track claims (e.g., claims under $100,000). A maximum of three experts and reports for each party will be set for all other claims. The parties can agree to use more experts without the need to file a formal application to the court.
“With limits on the number of experts and expert reports, we are reducing the cost, complexity and delay associated with expensive duelling experts,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “It means that claims will be resolved more efficiently.”
Should the legislation be passed, proposed regulations would place a limit on the amount recoverable from the unsuccessful litigant for the cost of each expert report in motor vehicle personal injury cases to $3,000. Total recoverable disbursements in motor vehicle personal injury cases would also be limited to 5% of the judgment or settlement. Disbursements include all expenses incurred for the purpose of a lawsuit, such as courier fees, process servers and photocopying, but will not include fees payable to the Crown, such as filing, court and jury fees.
There are more than 90,000 active auto-insurance claims. There is potential for more claims to be brought forward between now and when ICBC’s new insurance system, Enhanced Care coverage, takes effect May 1, 2021.
- Since 2017, the increased use of experts has contributed to a 30% increase in the cost of ICBC injury claims that are litigated.
- The limit on experts will not apply if the expert report was served before Feb. 6, 2020, or if a notice of trial was filed and served before Feb. 6, 2020, for a trial before Oct. 1, 2020.
- The proposed $3,000 limit to recoverable expert reports will not apply if the cost was incurred before Feb. 6, 2020, or if a notice of trial was filed and served before Feb. 6, 2020, for a trial before Oct. 1, 2020.
- The proposed 5% limit on disbursements will not apply if a notice of trial was filed and served before Feb. 6, 2020, for a trial before Oct.1, 2020.
ICBC’s Enhanced Care coverage: http://icbc.com/2021
Government’s intended changes at ICBC: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/download/000BAC79D98D4E14AAFCBBD582883BAD
Information about 2020 basic rates: https://www.icbc.com/insurance/costs/Pages/bcuc-rates.aspx