Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

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VICTORIA — The British Columbia Court of Appeal has granted a temporary and partial stay in the legal fight over how drivers in the province can have their accident disputes resolved.

The Attorney General's Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal's jurisdiction.

The court ruled in March that it was unconstitutional for a tribunal to make minor injury determinations, setting back government plans to reduce insurance rates by diverting some claims away from the courts.

The ministry said in a statement Friday that drivers who had a crash between April 1, 2019, and April 30, 2021, may opt for the Civil Resolution Tribunal for the time being.

The Trial Lawyers Association of B.C. successfully sued the province over the changes, arguing they denied injured people their right to take the dispute to court.

Starting on May 1, the same tribunal will have an expanded role over accident benefit disputes, and the court's ruling has no jurisdiction over those decisions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 16, 2021.

The Canadian Press