The attorney general of BC has recently indicated that personal injury caps may be implement in BC in response to the finance issues facing ICBC. Currently individuals in BC who are injured by a motorists have a right to sue for the damages they sustained as a result of the motorists negligence. Injury caps would limit the rights of an injured individual to seek damages from the negligent driver by arbitrarily setting the damages. Under the current system a judge and/or jury examines how a person has been injured in a collision before determining the appropriate damages to award. Individuals and injuries are unique and the impact that injuries have on a person’s life can be quite different. Often older individuals will struggle to recover from injuries as quickly and minor injuries can have a larger impact on their daily living. Under a cap system the amount of damages payable to an injured individual is set by the government and does not take into account the unique nature of the injuries or their impact on a person’s life. For anyone who has had to work through a worksafe claim in which their injuries were compared to a classification system this approach will seem familiar.
Some of the issues with a cap system include that the fact that the unique nature of the injuries are not taken into account and instead just compared to a classification system. The full extent of the pain and suffering caused by an individual’s injuries would not be considered and just the placement in the classification system. Injury caps remove a person’s ability to disagree with ICBC’s assessment of their injuries and their right to have their injuries assessed by a judge or jury. Injury caps will affect people with lower incomes more than others due to the high costs of challenging cap systems.