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2018: How is the CRT Implementing MVA Personal Injury Disputes?

Next April, the CRT will start resolving many motor vehicle accident (MVA) personal injury disputes in British Columbia. This will include determinations of whether an injury is a “minor injury”, disputes about accident benefits, and disputes about damages and liability up to $50,000. Soon we’ll also handle most disputes under the Societies Act and the Cooperative Association Act. We’re working hard to implement these new areas of jurisdiction, and we’ll be reporting on our progress in a series of blog posts. These blog posts will each highlight 3 aspects of our team’s hard work behind the scenes to keep you up to date on our progress.

Gap Fit Analysis

We’ve reviewed our existing dispute resolution process to see what works and what needs to change for MVA personal injury disputes. In general, the existing dispute resolution will work well for our new areas of jurisdiction. However, in some situations, for example minor injury determinations, it would be inappropriate to follow our existing collaborative model. In those cases it is more appropriate to get a speedy decision by a tribunal member. An early decision on whether the injury is minor will help everyone make informed decisions about managing the dispute, including by knowing early in the process whether they are in the right dispute resolution forum.

Solution Explorer

The Solution Explorer is the CRT’s free legal information and self-help tool, which is the first step in the CRT process. We currently have some legal information on MVA personal injury disputes in the Solution Explorer. This is because we already have jurisdiction over these disputes if the claimed amount is $5,000 or less. We’re working with volunteer personal injury lawyers who represent plaintiffs and defendants to add much more high quality, plain language, legal information on MVA personal injury disputes. This new content will explain our new areas of jurisdiction and help people to navigate the CRT system. It will be tested with community legal advocates and the public before April 2019. All of our Solution Explorer content is improved and expanded based on public feedback every 3 months. You can read about our continuous improvement work with the Solution Explorer here.

Tribunal Members

The CRT conducted an intense, merit-based competition for new full-time tribunal members focusing on MVA personal injury disputes. This process included strict application criteria, intensive screening, an anonymously evaluated decision-writing exercise, a panel interview, reference checks, and other due diligence. The CRT recommended three candidates for appointment, and these recommendations were accepted by the provincial government. You can read about our new tribunal members here. The CRT is planning a significant increase in staff and tribunal members leading up to April 2019 and beyond. We expect to announce further tribunal member and staff postings in the months to come.

Community Information Meetings

We know that community legal and medical organizations have a wealth of experience and knowledge in serving people who have gone through the trauma of being injured in a motor vehicle accident. We also know these organizations provide valuable front line information and guidance to the public. That’s why we’ve hosted two information sessions on the CRT and our approach to resolving MVA personal injury disputes. We’ve invited these organizations to join our advocates roster, where they will be able to participate in testing and feedback sessions for new technology, forms, rules and other things we develop for the tribunal. We’ve also scheduled and conducted presentations for a variety of valued stakeholders, including VolunteerBC, CBABC Civil Litigation Subsection, the CLEBC Societies and Non Profit Conference, BC Council of Administrative Tribunals, Amici Curiae (paralegals), the National Pro Bono Conference, BC Courthouse Libraries, and many others. Here’s a link to upcoming CRT presentations. If your organization would like more information about the CRT, please let us know.

Check back next month for 3 more highlights from our implementation work. As always, if you have questions or comments, please let us know.