I have been receiving many calls from current clients and prospective clients who are wondering if they will be affected by the new cap on “minor” injuries that is set to take effect on April 1, 2019.
It has been reported somewhat inaccurately in some newspapers that Plaintiff’s counsel have been scrambling to commence legal action prior to April 1, 2019, or that Plaintiffs are trying to get whatever they can get for their current files prior to that time.
To be clear, the cap on “minor” injuries will only affect people injured in accidents on April 1, 2019, or later. People injured in an accident prior to April 1, 2019, will not be affected by the cap on “minor” injuries.
“Minor” injuries are described in Section 101 of Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act , and Section 102 confirms that Part 7 applies to an accident occurring on or after April 1, 2019.
The new cap will not automatically be in place for perpetuity. A constitutional challenge will be launched in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and the losing party there will undoubtedly appeal to the Court of Appeal of British Columbia, with the losing party there likely seeking leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. It thus could be quite a lengthy period of time before it is known whether or not the cap that will take effect on April 1, 2019, will remain law in British Columbia.
Similar legislation introducing a cap on “minor” injuries was struck down in Alberta as being unconstitutional, but this decision was later reversed on appeal, and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied.