ICBC Law

BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Erik MagrakenThis Blog is authored by British Columbia ICBC injury claims lawyer Erik Magraken. Erik is a partner with the British Columbia personal injury law-firm MacIsaac & Company. He restricts his practice exclusively to plaintiff-only personal injury claims with a particular emphasis on ICBC injury claims involving orthopaedic injuries and complex soft tissue injuries. Please visit often for the latest developments in matters concerning BC personal injury claims and ICBC claims

Erik Magraken does not work for and is not affiliated in any way with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Please note that this blog is for information only and is not claim-specific legal advice.  Erik can only provide legal advice to clients. Please click here to arrange a free consultation.

Posts Tagged ‘Arbitrator Boskovich’

More on ICBC UMP Deductions: Costs, Disbursements and MSP Payments

December 28th, 2011

In my on-going efforts to create a searchable UMP Claims Database, reasons for judgement were recently released addressing the deductibility of previous payments for Costs, Disbursements and ICBC paid MSP treatments in an UMP proceeding.  In short the MSP payments were found to be deductible under UMP while the costs and disbursements payments were not.

In the recent case (X v. ICBC) the Claimant was a personal injury lawyer.  He was involved in a 2004 collision.  He initially sued for damages.  The lawsuit was disposed of for payment of the underinsured defendant’s policy limits of $200,000 plus costs and disbursements with the parties agreeing have the value of the claim being privately arbitrated.

The Claimant alleged that he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and sought damages “well over $1 million“.  This claim was largely rejected with the arbitrator assessing damages at just over $276,000.  The parties agreed that the $200,000 previous payment was deductible but could not agree whether the additional $22,575 ICBC paid for costs and disbursements were deductible from the UMP assessment.  Arbitrator Boskovich held that it was not and provided the following reasons:

538.  The codified applicable deductible amounts are very clear and not one of them contemplates a deduction for the costs and disbursements associated with a payment made:

  • pursuant to Section 20 or Section 24;
  • paid or payable under a Part VII;
  • paid by the underinsured motorist as damages;
  • paid or payable under a certificate, policy or plan of insurance providing third party legal liability indemnity to the underinsured motorist;
  • paid or payable under vehicle insurance, wherever issued and in effect, providing undersinsured motorist protection for the same occurrence for which the underinsured motorist for protection is provided under this section;
  • paid or payable to the insured under any benefit or right or claim to indemnity; and
  • paid or able to be paid by any other person who is legally liable for the insured’s damages.

539.  On their own, the costs and disbursements paid do not fall under a payment of any “benefit or right or claim to indemnity”.

540.  I do not find the $23,575.17 paid by the Respondent for the costs and disbursements associated with the underlying tort claim to be an applicable deductible amount pursuant to the UMP Regulation.

ICBC went on to argue that the MSP payments they made under the Claimant’s Part 7 Benefit plan were deductible from the damage assessment.  Arbitrator Boskovich agreed and provided the following reasons:

544.  The payments made by ICBC to the Medical Services Plan of British Columbia for the various medical visits listed are payments made pursuant to Part VII as medical benefits and are a codified applicable deductible amount pursuant to Section 148.1(1)(c).  There will be a deduction of $551.36 for these payments.


Future CPP Benefits and ICBC UMP Deductions

December 13th, 2011

Last year an arbitration award was released addressing the deduction of future CPP benefits from an ICBC UMP Claim.

In last year’s case (ME v. ICBC) the 32 year old Claimant was severely injured in a 1997 motor vehicle collision.   She suffered serious brain trauma and as a result “was left functioning at a Grade 7 level in terms of her academics“.  Despite her long term injury the “very ambitious” claimant re-entered the workforce and by the time of her arbitration she had secured full time employment.  Prior to this the Claimant had received CPP benefits totally$78,542.94.  These benefits were terminated with the Plaintiff’s return to work.  It was agreed that ICBC could deduct this prior to paying out on the Claimant’s UMP Claim.

The parties could not agree as to how much more ICBC could deduct given the possibility of future CPP payments.  ICBC argued that the present day value of future CPP benefits should deducted, namely $135,652.  Arbitrator Boskovich found that while such a deduction would be unreasonable a modest deduction should apply to address the reality that the Plaintiff may at some point in the future receive CPP benefits.  Arbitrator Boskovitch reduced ICBC’s UMP payment by just over $20,000 to take this risk into account.  In doing so the following reasons were provided:

102.  I agree with Counsel that the standard of proof to be applied to future hypothetical events is simple probability and not the balance of probabilities.  That being said it remains that the probability, possibility or chance that a future event may occur, in this case the Claimant applying for and receiving CPP disability benefits in relation to her accident injuries, must be a real and substantial one.

103.  In addressing whether or not there is a real and substantial possibility of the Claimant receiving CPP disability benefits in the future one has to consider the relative likelihood of both positive and negative contingencies that might affect the Claimant’s ability to work and the anticipated course with respect to her accident injuries/disabilities…

116.  It has been 13 years since the accident.  2010 will be the first full year of employment the Claimant has maintained since the accident.  To assume the Claimant’s accident injuries, in particular, her very serious brain injury and deficits are going to have no impact on her ability to work to age 65 is unreasonable.

117.  However, it does not automatically mean that the impact translates into a real and substantial risk that the Claimant will face a severe and prolonged mental or physical disability such that she is not substantially gainfully employable as defined in the CPP Legislation.

118.  That is not to say there is no risk whatsoever.  I cannot ignore the concerns outlined by the Claimant’s Mother.  As well, I cannot ignore the evidence of Dr. LeBlanc.  It may be difficult for the Claimant to find jobs over the course of her working life.  Such jobs must have structured routine, few distractions and no multi-tasking.  Her cognitive issues may be aggravated in unfamiliar and stressful situations.

119.  Having regard to all of the evidence, I believe there is a 15% chance or possibility that the Claimant will apply for and receive disability benefits from CPP in connection with her accident injuries.

120.  The parties agree that the present day value of the CPP disability payments to the Claimant’s age 65 is $135,652.00 and, in this regard, the appropriate contingency deduction to be made pursuant to Regulation 148.1(1)(f) is $20,347.80

For more on this topic you can click here to read my summary of the 2008 UMP Arbitration Award in SPW v. ICBC.


Hospital Insurance Program Payments Non-Deductible Under UMP

September 14th, 2011

In my continued efforts to create a searchable UMP Claims database, I summarize a 2009 UMP Decision which dealt with a variety of issues including whether payments received under BC’s Hospital Insurance Program are deductible by ICBC in Underinsured Motorist Claims.

In the 2009 case of APS v. ICBC the Claimant was severely injured in a 2004 collision in Nevada.  She was a BC resident and had UMP Coverage with ICBC.  Following the crash and initial treatment in the US the Claimant was airlifted back to BC and received further hospital treatment.  The cost of these totalled $197,263.  ICBC argued that the cost of these treatments were in the nature of insurance benefits and deductible under Section 148.1(1) of the Insurance (Vehcle) Regulation.   Arbitrator Boskovich disagreed and provided the following helpful reasons rejecting this argument:

130.  The services and benefits covered under out universal compulsory medical coverage, which are incurred in almost every under insured motorist action, cover amounts paid in the past and those to be paid in the future.  Given the catastrophic nature of many of the cases that result in UMP Claims the costs are often considerable.  Had the Legislature intended for UMP awards to be net of these services and benefits then it would have specifically provided for such a deduction in clear and unambiguous terms in the legislation.

131.  Having regard to the nature and extent of the evidence tendered and to the overall statutory intention of Subsection 148.1(1) of the Regulations, I do not find the Hospital Insurance Program payments to be an applicable deductible amount pursuant to paragraph (i).  As stated above, had the Legislature intended such potentially considerable deductions to come into play it would most certainly have specifically stated so.

132.  If I am wrong about the above, I still find having regard to the wording of subsection (i), that such amounts would not be payable to the insured as a benefit or right and claim to indemnity.  They do not represent pecuniary payments of a like nature for which the Claimant is claiming compensation pursuant to the tortious conduct of the underinsured motorist and which would have been recovered thus resulting in double recovery.

This case is also worth reviewing for some of the other finding made with respect to deductible beneifts.  The Claimant’s husband died in the same collision and as a result the Claimant received some modest compensation through a Family Compensation Act action and through varioius insurance benefits.  Arbitrator Boskovich made the following findings with respect to other deductible amounts:

1.  If a Claimant received damages under the Family Compensation Act from the collision in question then those can be deductible in an UMP Claim even if underlying action dealt exclusively with the Claimant’s personal tort claim.

2.  ICBC Part 7 Death Benefits paid from the deceased’s Part 7 benefits to the Claimant are deductible in an UMP Claim.

3.  A CPP Death Benefit paid directly to the claimant is deductible in an UMP claim.

4.  CPP and private survivor’s pension benefits are deductible in an UMP claim with the limitation that these deductions should be calculated on the basis of the natural life expectancy of the claimant.


CPP Benefits Deductions in UMP Claims Discussed – The Likelihood of Payment Test

August 18th, 2011

Section 148.1 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation requires “an amount to which an insured is entitled to under the Canada Pension Plan” to be deducted from UMP claims.  Continuing in my efforts to summarize ICBC UMP decisions, reasons were released addressing this deduction following a serious injury caused by an uninsured motorist.

In SPW v. ICBC the Claimant suffered various injures due the carelessness of an uninsured motorist.  Following arbitration the Claimant’s diminished earning capacity (future wage loss) was assessed at $575,000.  The Claimant was receiving CPP disability payments and if these were continued to be received the present value of the future payments equalled $123,500.  Arbitrator Boskovich had to determine what amount of these benefits should be deducted pursuant to section 148.1.  In deducting 50% of these benefits the Arbitrator provided the following reasons:

165.  In order to determine if future payments should be considered as “applicable deductible amounts” under the Regulations the law is quite settled that there has to be some evidentiary foundation to determine likelihood of the continuance and certainty of such future payments.  The onus of proof that these payments will continue is on the Respondent (ICBC).  While the evidence given with respect to payments having been received in the past is of assistance, it does not provide conclusive evidence that the payments will continue in the future.

166.  That being said, having regard to the submissions delivered by counsel and the admissions made by the Claimant and his counsel and my own findings that the Claimant does have some residual earning capacity, which may or may not translate into income depending on what the Claimant does vocationally, I find there is a 50% contingency of the likelihood that his CPP payments will continue in the future and in this regard 50% of the net present value of the future payments should be deducted from the award.

This case is also worth reviewing for the assessment of non-pecuniary damages for the Claimant’s serious injuries.  In assessing this loss at $175,000 the Arbitrator made the following findings:

23  ….he had suffered multiple injuries, including a complex pelvic fracture with separation of the symphysis pubis and fracture of the right sacrum, a left tibiofibular fracture, a fractured right humeral shaft, fracture of his left second rib, as well as a large laceration to his right thigh and multiple cuts and abrasions.

74.  …those injuries have impacted his ability to walk, his gait and balance and have resulted in neck and lower back pain.  He has been left with chronic discomfort, restricted mobility and reduced ability to participate in physical activities.  I find that his present disability is entirely related to the motor vehicle accident…

77.  After considering the authorities submitted I find, having regard to the horrific circumstances of this accident, the nature of the injuries, the ongoing pain and the residual permanent disability which has resulted in a devastating change in the Claimant’s quality of life, that he is entitled to non-pecuniary damages of $175,000.