More on ICBC's Subrogated Costs Rights (Or Lack Thereof)
Earlier this year the BC Supreme Court released reasons for judgement finding that when a Defendant succeeds in a lawsuit and is awarded costs the order is for their benefit not their insurer. In short the Court held that ICBC has no subrogated right to costs awards under section 84(1) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, taking an opposite view of this issue.
In this week’s case (Habib v. Jack) the Plaintiff was injured while riding on a bus. She sued the bus driver and bus company but had her claim dismissed at trial. The Defendant was awarded costs with Madam Justice Ross giving ICBC the benefit of this costs award. The Court provided the following brief reasons:
In the result, the defendants will have their costs. Under s. 84(1) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”) is subrogated to its insured and is entitled to recover the costs to which the insured would be entitled. Accordingly, ICBC is entitled to recover the costs awarded to the defendants.
Given the contradictory recent court findings on this issue I suspect the BC Court of Appeal will be asked to weigh in on the topic of insurers subrogated rights to costs following the successful defence of a lawsuit.