BC Legal rights under threat
Right of British Columbian’s are under threat from changes being considered by the NDP Government of BC, through its Attorney General David Eby and the Chair of ICBC Joy McPhail. Their intention is to look “very seriously” at capping injury claims for drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians who are injured in a collision with an automobile. Such injury caps, if introduced, will limit the damages payable for pain and suffering for strains, sprains and whiplash related injuries suffered in motor vehicle accidents.
In short, injury caps mean a “one-size-fits-all” approach to recovery for those who become injured. Caps deny access to justice because only the wealthy can afford to challenge them. They unfairly harm the poor, the elderly, the retired, immigrant communities and BC’s working class, as the claims awarded to victims are often far less than the true cost of their injuries.
Simply put: caps punish victims.
More just ways to address ICBC issues
The possibility of caps in BC has come about due the financial pressures on ICBC. These pressures have in large part been caused by (1) the rise in accidents and claims related to distracted driving; (2) the former Liberal government taking $1.3 billion from ICBC general operating revenue; and (3) ICBC mismanagement and mistreatment of policy holders, which has led to higher costs and a mistrust of the system.
ICBC’s problems can be fixed without punishing victims and good drivers by:
- Making our roads safer by reducing distracted driving, speeding, and impaired driving, making higher risk drivers may higher premiums, rewarding policy holders who driver safer cars with cheaper premiums, and embracing technology in new cars and collision avoidance systems (for example, studies show that automatic emergency braking systems alone reduce rear end collisions by 40%).
- Allowing ICBC to keep some of the $500 million in annual government revenue that basic rate payers subsidize in road safety, licensing and regulation that ICBC is being made to implement (unlike all the private insurers in the rest of Canada).
- Cutting down on waste and inflated material damage claims.
- Reforming ICBC management practices and improving its customer service.
Why are caps not right for British Columbia?
- Injury caps are not the right approach for British Columbia. The answer to fixing ICBC’s problems is not to strip the legal rights of our citizens or to copy the costly and ineffective insurance schemes from other provinces.
- Injury caps mean: good drivers pay for bad drivers. Injury caps mean all British Columbians will pay to subsidize bad drivers and insurers.
- Injury caps unfairly harm the poor, the elderly, the retired, immigrant communities and BC’s working class. Injury caps deny access to justice because only the wealthy can afford to challenge the caps.
- Injury caps systems take longer, cost more, and policy holders get less to aid in their recovery.
- Injury caps do nothing to address the core issue affecting the cost of claims: the explosion of accidents caused by distracted driving.
What is being done to stop this?
Concerned voices in BC are coming together. R.O.A.D. BC is a coalition of British Columbians who are committed to protecting the rights of anyone who becomes injured on our roads. R.O.A.D BC is made up of individuals and associations across British Columbia who believe the best way to reduce accidents and protect victims is through established, inalienable rights – not arbitrary decisions that turn real people into statistics.
You can help too. Please consider e-mailing or meeting with your MLA using the information in this article.
Click here to go the R.O.A.D. BC Website where you can find out more, watch a video showing the impact of caps and join their Facebook community.