CRT Refuses to Hear ICBC Liability Case With Pending Parallel Supreme Court Action
Reasons for judgement were published today by BC’s Civil Resolution Tribunal (“CRT”) declining to hear a case dealing with fault for a vehicle collision.
In today’s case (Devendra v. ICBC) the Applicant was involved in a crash prior to April 1, 2019 (the date the CRT’s collision jurisdiction was significantly increased). ICBC found the applicant fully at fault for the crash. The Applicant sued ICBC and the other motorist involved arguing “ICBC refused to properly investigate the incident” and asked that his deductible and increased premiums be returned. The Applicant relied on the CRT’s small claims jurisdiction.
At the same time the other motorist sued the Applicant in the BC Supreme Court for alleged negligence causing injuries stemming from the same crash. In all the circumstances the CRT decided they were not the appropriate forum to adjudicate the applicants dispute and the issue of fault was better to be decided in the BC Supreme Court. In reaching this decision Tribunal Member Chad McCarthy provided the following reasons:
14. The respondents maintain that the applicant was 100% responsible for the accident. The applicant denies any liability. In light of the parties’ disagreement about liability, I find both the tribunal and the BC Supreme Court are effectively being asked to make a liability determination about the same motor vehicle collision. I find this could result in duplication of effort among decision makers, and could even result in different liability findings by the tribunal and the BC Supreme Court. Such outcomes are contrary to the tribunal’s mandate of efficient and fair decision-making.
20. I accept that there may be some prejudice to the applicant, in terms of delay and cost, if he begins his tribunal claims again in the BC Supreme Court. However, this is balanced by the fact the applicant is already participating in the court’s process because of the BCSC action. Further, the motor vehicle accident occurred before April 1, 2019, so under CRTA section 134(2)(c) the tribunal cannot hear Adam Ugre’s personal injury claims together with the applicant’s tribunal claims, but the BC Supreme Court has no such restriction. I note that Mr. Ugre’s personal injury claims might also exceed the tribunal limit amount for accident claims.
21. Having considered the evidence before me and the parties’ arguments, including their submissions on whether the tribunal should hear this dispute, I find the tribunal should refuse to resolve this dispute. All the applicant’s tribunal claims are based on a disagreement about who is liable for the accident. Liability has not been admitted by a party or agreed to by the parties, and the BC Supreme Court has not yet ruled on liability. There is no evidence a settlement has been reached in the BCSC action or that liability is no longer an issue in that proceeding.
22. Therefore, I consider it most efficient, fair, convenient, and appropriate for this dispute to be heard by the BC Supreme Court, which I anticipate will also determine who was liable for the accident. As a result, I refuse to resolve this dispute under section 11(1)(a)(i) of the CRTA.