Over 36,000 Reasons for Learning Motorists to Drive With A Qualified Accompanying Passenger
Reasons for judgement were released today demonstrating some of the real world consequences drivers with a learner’s licence could face if they are found to be in breach of their policy of insurance.
In today’s case (King v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2007 BC motor vehicle collision. 4 vehicles were involved in the crash. The Plaintiff was insured with ICBC and they paid out over $36,000 with respect to the claims made from the crash. At the time of the collision the Plaintiff had a Class 5L learners licence and was operating his vehicle “without a qualified accompanying passenger“. As a result he was found in breach of his insurance. He was found to be the at fault motorist and ICBC asked that he pay them back the over $36,000.
The Plaintiff sued ICBC arguing that he was not at fault and that he was not in breach of his insurance. ICBC counterclaimed for $36,613.33. Prior to trial ICBC made an offer to settle their claim against the Plaintiff for $33,000. The Plaintiff declined this offer and proceeded to trial. Ultimately Mr. Justice Pearlman found the plaintiff was the at fault motorist and that he was in breach of his policy of insurance. He ordered that he pay back ICBC the funds they paid out with respect to the collision claims.
The Court went further and ordered that the Plaintiff pay ICBC double costs for failing to accept their pre trial offer. In reaching this judgement Mr. Justice Pearlman provided the following reasons:
 The plaintiff’s claim failed as a result of the court finding that neither his testimony, nor that of his witness, Ms. Gromova, was credible. The court found that the plaintiff had wilfully made a false statement respecting Ms. Gromova’s presence in the vehicle at the time of the accident.
 The over-riding principle is whether, if the Offer to Settle had been accepted, there would have been significant, or any savings in litigation costs to the parties or to the court: LeFler v. Anderson, 2008 BCSC 1563, at para. 18. Here, acceptance of the offer would have spared both parties the significant costs of a four day trial where the amount in dispute was, exclusive of court order interest, less than forty thousand dollars.
 Taking all these factors into consideration, I conclude that an award of double costs should be made in this case, and is consistent with the objective of deterring unreasonable conduct in litigation. I find that the plaintiff was entitled to a reasonable time to consider the defendant’s Offer to Settle, following its delivery on September 24, 2010. Taking into account the disclosure of the will say statements of the defendant’s witnesses on September 29, and allowing Mr. King a reasonable time to consider his position, and the defendant’s Offer following the delivery of the will say statements, I find that the defendant is entitled to an award of double costs commencing October 7, 2010.
 The defendant will recover its costs and disbursements of this action from its commencement until October 7, 2010. Those costs will be at Scale B.
 The defendant is entitled double costs commencing October 7, 2010 and to disbursements incurred after October 7, 2010. Disbursements will be allowed in the amount incurred, rather than at a double rate.