The Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT)
How it Works for Motor Vehicle Claims
On or after April 1, 2019, the Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) has the responsibility to decide disputes involving:
- Accident Benefits (what type of assistance you can have);
- Damages (what amount of money you are entitled to for your injuries);
- Who is at fault; and
- If the injuries you suffered from are “minor”, as defined by the Government.
The decisions made by the CRT involving these issues can have a significant impact on your future. It is important to know how the process works and how to navigate through it.
The CRT is an online tribunal. A tribunal is a different way to resolve disputes. It resembles the court system because it can make decisions but is not directly a part of the court system. Tribunals are often used because they are less formal, less expensive, and promote a faster way to resolve disputes (although, this is not always the case). Tribunals are often comprised of members who have special knowledge about a specific topic. For example, the BC Residential Tenancy Tribunal deals with residential disputes. Tribunals are new for motor vehicle accidents (MVA), so it is highly unlikely the tribunal members will have the expertise required for effective resolution. It is important to know how the intricacies of the tribunal system work.
In BC, the use of the CRT is unique because it is online. It is one of the first online tribunals in Canada and one of the first examples in the world. In other words, the people who adjudicate your claim will never meet you, so the only information they will have about you will be based on the documents you and your medical professionals provide to them.
Prior to adding motor vehicle claims to the CRT, the online tribunal had been used for small claims (valued under $5,000) and Strata Property disputes.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims:
On April 23, 2018, MVA’s were added the CRT’s scope of powers to deal with claims effective for collisions after April 1, 2019. If a claimant cannot resolve their claim with their designated ICBC adjuster, they will have to file their claim through the CRT process. The CRT is not part of ICBC or any other auto insurer, it is a decision-making body guided by the legislation put in place by the government to save money – hopefully not at your expense!
How the CRT works:
The CRT process has 4 steps:
- Start or respond to a dispute;
- Party-to-Party Negotiation;
- Facilitation; and
- Tribunal Decision Process.
Step 1: A person involved in an MVA starts the process by filling out an online survey. After the survey is completed, the person will receive a summary report, where it will include a claim application.
Step 2: Once a claim has been made, the CRT process allows for negotiation between the parties to come to an agreement. For example, between ICBC as a representative of the defendant, and the injured party.
Step 3: If the parties cannot negotiate a resolution, the facilitation phase occurs. In this step, a facilitator will collect information to help resolve the dispute. The idea is that the facilitator helps clarify the claim, exchange evidence, and help prepare for the Tribunal Decision Process if an agreement cannot be reached.
Step 4: If the dispute is not resolved in facilitation, it will go to a tribunal hearing, where a tribunal member(s) will make the decision for both parties. The tribunal hearing is where each party provides their arguments and evidence about the dispute. The hearing can be either in written form or oral form. In most cases, it is written hearings. Oral hearings arise when the tribunal member thinks it is necessary, or someone requests it. The oral hearing is often held through telephone or video conferencing. If you have not hired a lawyer and you are at this step, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice.
CRT Motor Vehicle collision disputes allows lawyers to help people. A lawyer can help guide a party through each phase of the CRT process and advocate on their behalf in Steps 2, 3, and 4.
The CRT process can only be effective when the documents created are beneficial for you. This makes it very important for claimants to understand each step in the process and to protect their interests in a timely manner, as there is little opportunity to correct mistakes based on a lack of clarity in the claims process.
We understand how the CRT works and would be pleased to speak with you if you feel you need help navigating your way through the CRT process.
Note to Reader:
This blog post is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only to provide general information and understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog, you understand that there is no client lawyer relationship between you and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer.