Reasons for judgement were published last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating the discretionary nature of double costs awards following the dismissal of a personal injury claim.
In last week’s case (Findlay v. George) the Plaintiff was involved in a significant 2013 collison. The crash left the defendant motorist dead at the scene. The Plaintiff “attempted to assist with the rescue and resuscitation of the defendant at the scene and, in the result, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder “.
The Plaintiff’s damages were potentially significant with the Court noting “given the commonality of the medical evidence, damages could have reached seven figures.”.
Prior to trial ICBC provided a formal settlement offer of $80,000. The Plaintiff declined and proceeded to trial where the claim was dismissed based on liability. ICBC sought double costs. Mr. Justice Harvey refused to grant these noting costs awards are discretionary and given the potential damages at play and further some evidence where contributory negligence could have been established it was reasonable for the Plaintiff to proceed to trial in the face of this offer. In declining to award double costs the Court provided the following reasons: