Since May 2018, the NDP government has introduced various pieces of legislation to create and refine the no fault system. They are:
• Bill 20 – 2018, which amends the Insuance (Vehicle) Act and introduces the concept of a “minor injury”;
• Bill 22 – 2018, which amends the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act;
• Bill 57 – 2018, which further amends the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act and other Acts;
• Order in Council 595, approved Nov. 9, 2018, which expands on Bill 20 and defines a “minor injury”;
• Regulation 233/2018, which limits expert reports at the CRT; and
• Order in Council 040, approved February 11, 2019, which limits expert reports.
How will these changes roll out?
Effective 1 January 2018, the lifetime cap on medical benefits increased from $150,000 to $300,000.
Effective 1 May 2018, in relation to new accidents, insurance companies are not allowed to recover any medical or disability benefits they have paid (or may have to pay in the future) from the plaintiff. Before May 1, plaintiffs could claim all of their losses in a lawsuit and then repay the insurer from their tort recovery. After this change, a plaintiff’s tort claim is limited to whatever he/she has not recovered from any private insurance. A court is expressly not allowed to consider the likelihood that the insurance company will continue to pay benefits. This leaves open the possibility that an injured claimant won’t recover future lost income in their personal injury claim, the disability insurer will subsequently terminate benefits, and the person will be left to fend for themselves.
The impact will increase over time.
Effective 1 April 2019, in relation to existing claims, medical benefits are increased as set out in the table below:
|Type of treatment||Old||New||New
(# of appts)
After the person has received the maximum number of treatments listed in the right column or if the treatment is required more than 12 weeks after the accident, it will be assumed that treatment is not necessary, although the person can get more treatments if their physician certifies to ICBC in writing that more treatment is necessary.
April 1 marks the date the following increases are introduced, but only for those individuals who have renewed their insurance coverage after April 1st:
|Type of benefit||Old||New|
Death benefits are also increased for the survivor of an accident and his/her dependents.
Effective 1 April 2019, in relation to new accidents, injured accident victims come under the full no-fault system. The vast majority of claims are likely to be treated as a “minor injury” which must be assessed by the Civil Resolution Tribunal. It will be presumed that a “minor injury” is worth less than $50,000 “unless a party establishes on the basis of satisfactory evidence that there is a substantial likelihood that the damages will exceed the tribunal limit amount.”
Effective 1 February 2019, in relation to all motor vehicle claims proceeding in the Supreme Court, parties are not allowed to use more than three experts, with each expert preparing only one report.
More changes: The new legislation gives the government enormous power to make changes to almost all aspects of the auto insurance system with a simple order in council, so there will no doubt be further changes and adjustments in the future.