For immediate release

April 23, 2018

R.O.A.D. BC coalition calls for justice for those injured on B.C.’s roads

Vancouver, B.C. – Today, the Government of British Columbia (B.C.) and the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) tabled legislation to cap compensation on what ICBC will have the power to define as “minor injuries”. On behalf of its more than 70 member organizations and more than 9,000-strong community supporters, and more than 16,000 petition signatories, R.O.A.D. BC is telling ICBC and the government to say no to capping our rights.

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 and ensuring accountability for ICBC. We are made up of individuals and associations all across British Columbia who believe the best way to protect those injured on the road and to provide stability for all road users is through established, inalienable rights – not arbitrary decisions that turn real people into a statistic.

“Being injured on the road can change your life and the lives of those around you. The path to recovery is often long, difficult and expensive”, said physiotherapist Louise Craig, coalition member and spokesperson for R.O.A.D. BC “We’re concerned that our rights as British Columbians are at stake because for ICBC it’s a “minor injury” – but for all of us, it’s life-changing.” Craig adds “It’s important to point out that “minor injury” is not a medical term – it is a term adopted by the insurance industry to standardize claims”.

Currently, in BC, everyone, and every incident is treated and assessed uniquely based on their own medical and health care professionals’ expertise and diagnosis. But now, in response to ICBC’s highly publicized “dumpster fire”, the provincial government has tabled legislation to allow ICBC to introduce caps on so-called “minor injuries” as defined by ICBC, not necessarily by your doctor.

R.O.A.D. BC members are concerned this new legislation may not just fail to reduce our insurance rates, it may cost us our ability to be treated as individuals, and to seek out medical, health care and justice advocates to help navigate the daunting process of an injury claim. Thousands of British Columbians are worried this so-called solution gives ICBC even more power and even less accountability, impacting not only our wallets, but potentially our health care as well.

R.O.A.D. BC was formed to raise awareness that injury caps punish those injured in road collisions because injury caps do not take into consideration the fact that every person is unique. Under a caps system, ICBC will treat each injury claim as a number. In actual fact, every person, and their individual situation, is unique.

“Often it is not until months or years after an accident that the true extent of pain, suffering, and/or long-term impairment is clear”, as Craig notes from her experience working with thousands of British Columbians who have been injured from road collisions.

In addition, injury caps disproportionately affect individuals with lower incomes. Challenging a claim under a cap system would cost much more than under the current system, resulting in a scenario where justice may be out of reach for many British Columbians. Bringing in an injury cap system will only serve to harm vulnerable British Columbians while protecting bad drivers – some of whom shouldn’t even be on the road. Rather than strip away the rights of road users, we should focus on collision prevention and education so that there are fewer injuries on BC’s roads.

“Help make a difference in the lives of people across our province”, says Heather Divine of the People in Pain Network, another R.O.A.D. BC coalition member, “Together we can tell ICBC enough is enough and stop the government’s ill-advised plan to let ICBC have even more power and less accountability. It’s not a question about rights versus rates, it’s a question of public interest versus ICBC’s bottom line.”

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