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Lawyers group threatens legal action over ICBC's 'lowball' strategy

(Dustin Godfrey, NEWS 1130 photo)

A lawyers group is threatening legal action against ICBC for what they say is an illegal settlement strategy

The Trial Lawyers Association of BC says the public insurer is purposely lowballing people injured in crashes

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) — A new strategy to quickly resolve ICBC claims has prompted a threat of legal action against the provincial government.

The Trial Lawyers Association of BC is accusing ICBC’s legal team of clogging up the court system by lowballing settlement payments for people injured in crashes. ICBC’s new strategy involves a more aggressive approach to settling claims, including withdrawing current settlement offer and making lower ones, and not negotiating higher amounts in injury settlements.

RELATED: Changes coming to ICBC injury payouts

John Rice with the Trial Lawyers Association of BC says the strategy could be illegal.

“People have taken to calling a ‘Meat Chart’ because ICBC has arbitrarily started categorizing different types of cases into different monetary amounts,” he says. “They’re not anywhere near what the law requires in terms of compensation for harms and losses caused by the negligence of someone else.”

He also says the changes that took effect last month are already causing delays.

“For the first time in my career, on Monday at the BC Supreme Court of Vancouver, there were eight MVA trials that were all scheduled to start in direct response, of course, to the new ICBC lowball ‘Meat Chart’ strategy and there were no judges available,” he says.

RELATED: ICBC on track for $890-million loss

The Attorney General has released a report which denies ICBC has been lowballing settlements, but Rice says that information is outdated because that report was completed in August.

In April, the strategy will change even more, with the insurer capping payouts on settlements for certain types of injuries.

We’ve reached out for a response from David Eby, but he hasn’t been available.