Updates on the CRT’s Motor Vehicle Injury Jurisdiction

On March 2, 2021 the BC Supreme Court decided that the CRT’s jurisdiction over minor injury determinations and fault and damages claims up to $50,000 was unconstitutional. This is for claims for vehicle accidents that happened on or after April 1, 2019.

This decision didn’t impact the CRT’s ability to resolve accident benefits claims.

The BC Supreme Court’s decision has been appealed. The BC Court of Appeal ordered that until the appeal is decided, the CRT can continue to make minor injury determinations and resolve fault and damages claims up to $50,000.

The BC Court of Appeal’s decision allows these claims to be filed in court, too. This means that if you have a claim for a minor injury determination, or fault and damages up to $50,000, you can choose to file with either the CRT or court.

Where can I file a claim for a vehicle accident injury?

This diagram shows where to file your claim for an injury from a vehicle accident that happened between April 1, 2019 and April 30, 2021.

 

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  • What did the BC Supreme Court decide about the CRT’s jurisdiction over vehicle injury claims?

    On March 2, 2021 the BC Supreme Court decided that sections 133(1)(b) and (c) of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act were unconstitutional and no longer in effect. These sections involve part of the CRT’s jurisdiction over motor vehicle injury (MVI) claims.

    This meant that for motor vehicle accidents that happened on or after April 1, 2019, the CRT couldn’t decide:

    • If an injury is a “minor injury” for the purposes of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act
    • Claims for fault and damages of up to $50,000

    The court also decided that section 16.1 of the Civil Resolution Tribunal Act was unconstitutional, to the extent it applied to these types of claims. This section required the court to dismiss or to stay a claim filed in court that related to either of these areas, so that it could proceed at the CRT instead.

    The BC Supreme Court’s decision has been appealed to the BC Court of Appeal.

    The BC Supreme Court’s decision doesn’t affect the CRT’s ability to resolve accident benefits claims. The court’s decision also doesn’t affect the CRT’s jurisdiction over enhanced accident benefits claims, starting May 1, 2021.

  • How does the appeal affect the BC Supreme Court’s decision?

    On April 8, 2021 the BC Court of Appeal granted a partial stay of the BC Supreme Court decision that parts of the CRT’s jurisdiction over motor vehicle injury claims were unconstitutional.

    The BC Court of Appeal’s order means that for motor vehicle accidents that happened on or after April 1, 2019, the CRT can once again decide:

    • If an injury is a “minor injury” for the purposes of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act
    • Claims for fault and damages of up to $50,000

    These claims can now be filed at either the CRT or court.

    The Court of Appeal’s order is temporary. It is effective from April 8, 2021 until the Court of Appeal releases its final decision on the appeal. We don’t know when the appeal will be decided or how long it might take for the decision to be released.

    Claims about entitlement to accident benefits under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act for accidents on or after April 1, 2019 must still be filed with the CRT. The court can’t hear these claims.

  • What does this mean for claims filed with the CRT before April 8, 2021?

    After the BC Supreme Court released its decision at the beginning of March 2021, the CRT “paused” existing, unresolved claims for a “minor injury” determination and claims for fault and damages up to $50,000.

    After the BC Court of Appeal made its order on April 8, 2021, CRT staff contacted the parties in these paused claims to let them know about the court decision, and to inform applicants that they can choose to continue at the CRT or file their claim in court instead.

    If you are an applicant in a CRT claim that was paused due to the BC Supreme Court decision and you’re not sure whether to continue at the CRT or file in court instead, you may want to get legal advice.

    Existing claims for accident benefits will continue through the CRT process. The courts’ decisions do not impact these claims.

  • Would I be more successful continuing this dispute through the CRT or should I file in court?

    The CRT can’t tell parties which option may be more successful for them. If you’re not sure where to file your claim, you may want to get legal advice.

  • Do the courts’ decisions impact my accident benefit claim?

    No, the courts’ decisions do not impact the CRT’s jurisdiction over accident benefits for accidents which happened on or after April 1, 2019. The courts’ decisions also do not affect the CRT’s jurisdiction over enhanced accident benefits claims, for accidents on or after May 1, 2021.

  • Can I put my CRT claim on hold until the Court of Appeal makes a decision?

    A party to a CRT dispute can always request that their CRT dispute be put on hold. Each request is considered individually. Contact your CRT case manager if you’d like to request that your dispute be put on hold.

    You may want to get legal advice about the best choice in your circumstances.

  • Where should I file my claim for a vehicle accident injury?

    If your claim is for a minor injury determination or fault and damages up to $50,000, you can choose to file your claim at either the CRT or court. If you’re not sure where to file your claim, you may want to get legal advice. The CRT can’t give legal advice.

    If your claim is only about entitlement to accident benefits, you must file it at the CRT.

  • Can I file my claim at both the CRT and in court?

    You may want to get legal advice about where to file your claim, and whether you can file it at both the CRT and in court.

    If you file a claim with the CRT, the CRT will request that you put any related court proceedings on hold. This is so that the CRT and the court do not resolve the same dispute.

  • Can I file my claim for damages as a small claim instead?

    If your claim for damages involves personal injuries due to an accident that happened on or after April 1, 2019, you can’t file under the CRT’s small claims jurisdiction. You can use the Solution Explorer to learn more about how your claim may proceed at the CRT.

  • What about claims for accidents that happen on or after May 1, 2021?

    On May 1, 2021, BC will launch a new “care-based” model of accident benefits and compensation. Enhanced accident benefits are meant to help as you recover from injuries. Insurers such as ICBC provide these benefits under the Insurance (Vehicle) Act and regulations. In most cases, you are entitled to enhanced accident benefits even if you caused the accident. Pedestrians, cyclists, and others who are struck by a vehicle may also be entitled to accident benefits.

    Starting on May 1, 2021, the CRT can resolve claims about enhanced accident benefits. Only the CRT has jurisdiction to resolve these claims.

  • What about vehicle injury claims that the CRT has already decided?

    If you have questions about how the March 2, 2021 court decision or the pending appeal affects your existing CRT decision, you may want to get legal advice. The CRT can’t give legal advice.

  • When will the Court of Appeal make its decision?

    We don’t know when the appeal will be decided or how long it might take for the decision to be released.

  • How will the Court of Appeal’s final decision affect CRT decisions or claims in progress at the CRT?

    The CRT does not know how the BC Court of Appeal will ultimately decide and cannot advise the public on what the possible consequences might be. You may want to get legal advice to better understand your options.

  • If I don’t agree with a CRT decision can I file again in court?

    After the CRT has decided your dispute, you can’t usually change your mind and file it again in court.

    If you don’t agree with a CRT motor vehicle injury decision, you can ask the BC Supreme Court for judicial review of the decision. You may want to get legal advice about this.

    For more information about applying for judicial review in BC Supreme Court, see the BC Supreme Court’s Online Help Guide.

    When the BC Court of Appeal determines the CRT’s jurisdiction over these types of claims, this might impact CRT decisions. We can’t give you advice about this.

  • If I don’t agree with a court decision can I file again at the CRT?

    After the court has made a decision, you can’t usually change your mind and file it again at the CRT.

    If you don’t agree with a court decision, you may want to get legal advice.

    When the BC Court of Appeal determines the CRT’s jurisdiction over these types of claims, this might impact CRT decisions. We can’t give you advice about this.

     

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