Tag: section 24 Insurance (Vehicle) Act

Plaintiff's Are "Entitled To Rely" On Representations of ICBC in Naming Defendants in Pleadings

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing whether a party should be substituted in on-going litigation where the Defendant was incorrectly named due to representations of ICBC.  In short the Court held substitution should be permitted in such circumstances.
In this week’s case (Bedoret v. Badham) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 motor vehicle incident.  After retaining counsel ICBC wrote to the Plaintiff’s lawyer indicating that the other motorist involved in the incident was a Mr. Badham.  The Plaintiff initiated a lawsuit against this individual.  After the limitation period expired ICBC responded to the lawsuit denying that Mr. Badham was involved in the incident.  The Plaintiff then sought to name ICBC as a ‘nominal defendant’ pursuant to section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.  ICBC opposed the application.   Master Young criticized ICBC’s position calling it ‘astonishing‘ and finding that an order adding ICBC to the litigation was appropriate and further went on to award increased costs.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
[16]         ICBC takes the astonishing position in this application that plaintiff’s counsel should not have relied on the March 1, 2010 letter setting out the third party particulars. If that letter cannot be relied on by the plaintiff’s counsel, then I wonder what the purpose of sending the letter is. The plaintiff’s counsel submits, and I accept, that it is standard practice in the personal injury bar to send an introductory letter asking ICBC for particulars and for copies of statements. It is common practice to wait for the reply letter before issuing a notice of civil claim. No letter was ever sent to the plaintiff’s counsel advising him that the contents of the March 1, 2010 letter were incorrect. It was not until the response to civil claim was filed after the expiry of the limitation period that ICBC informed the plaintiff that the named third party was not the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.
[17]         Now ICBC opposes the application to be added as a nominal defendant. It submits that the plaintiff knew or ought to have known that ICBC was handling this file as an unidentified motorist case despite the fact that the official letter from ICBC to his lawyer said exactly the opposite…
[22]         …ICBC asserted to counsel for the plaintiff in the official first letter that Jaswinder Badhan was the driver of the vehicle. This was long after any discussions with the unrepresented plaintiff and in response to the standard letter sent at the commencement of all motor vehicle accident cases. Plaintiff’s counsel was entitled to rely on the information contained in the letter. If ICBC later learned that it was in error, it had a responsibility to correct that error so as not to mislead the plaintiff. Failing to do so until after the expiry of the limitation period and then opposing the amendment to the claim is unreasonable…
[32]         I find that it is just and convenient to add ICBC as a nominal defendant. I do not find the delay in applying to court to be inordinate. I will not order that the action against Mr. Badhan be discontinued. I will order that the misnomer be corrected.
[33]         As a result of the unreasonable position taken by ICBC in this case, I find that Scale B costs do not adequately compensate the plaintiff, and I order that the proposed defendant, ICBC, pay costs to the plaintiff in any event of the cause at Scale C.

Substitution Orders in ICBC Hit and Run Claims are "Mandatory in Their Nature"

Last year I questioned the correctness of reasons for judgement which refused to make a substitutional order in an ICBC Claim involving an unidentified motorist.  Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court,  Chilliwack Registry  further addressing this area of the law finding that substitution orders are mandatory once the identity of an unidentified motorist becomes ascertained.
In this week’s case (McStravick v. Metzler) the Mr. Metzler and Ms. McStravick were occupants of a motorcycle involved in a serious collision.  An allegation was made that an unidentified motorist caused the collision.  ICBC was named as a nominal defendant under section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.
Evidence disclosed on the eve of trial and trough witnesses during trial gave rise to identifying the unknown motorist.  The Plaintiff brought an application to substitute this person for ICBC in the lawsuit.  The motorist and ICBC vigorously oppose the application.  Mr. Justice Blok ordered the substitution and in doing so provided reasons highlighting the mandatory nature of Section 24(6) of the Insurance Vehicle Act.  The Court provided the following reasons:
[53]         I would observe at the outset that s. 24(6) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act is mandatory in nature.  If the identity of the driver is ascertained then that person must be added as a defendant in substitution for ICBC.  The factors applicable to cases where parties are being added under the Supreme Court Civil Rules therefore have no application: Tse v. ICBC (1996), 24 B.C.L.R. (3d) 394 (S.C.).
[54]         While counsel for Ms. Sidwell concedes that the Court probably does not have jurisdiction to refuse to substitute an ascertained defendant in place of ICBC, he said that conditions may be specified, as expressly provided by s. 24(6).  However, counsel did not suggest any conditions that might be appropriate, short of refusing the application altogether.  Given the mandatory language of the section, a refusal cannot be a condition.
[55]         The mandatory language of the section also limits, and probably eliminates, any scope for the application of the equitable principle of estoppel insofar as applying the estoppel principle would operate to defeat the intent and effect of the section.
[56]         Even if there might still be some room for estoppel to operate, I am not satisfied that estoppel has been made out on the facts of this case.  Ms. Sidwell submits that as a result of the “shared assumption” of all counsel that she was not the unknown driver, she ceased being represented by counsel and did not take part in the trial.  What that submission fails to address is the fact that (1) the substitution application can be made at any time prior to judgment being granted, and (2) her interests were represented throughout by ICBC as nominal defendant.  As to the former, since s. 24(6) allows for a substitution application to be made at any time prior to judgment, a trial might well be completed before an application is made and with no hint of it beforehand.  Here, Ms. Sidwell had two years or more of advance notice and she had representation by counsel during that time.  In addition to her own counsel, counsel for ICBC represented the interests of the unknown driver, whoever that might have been, and thus in some respects at least she had two lawyers representing her interests until shortly before trial.
[57]         Ms. Sidwell complains that she was deprived of taking part in the trial, but until she was made a party she would have had no standing to take part.  She points to no prejudice associated with the fact that her interests, at least her interests in a general sense, were represented by counsel for ICBC instead of her own counsel.
[58]         Further, I do not consider that an estoppel against ever bringing a substitution application arises in this case.  Counsel for the plaintiff Metzler submits that while the last-minute disclosure of the Sidwell and Popovich witness statements revived the possibility that the plaintiffs would bring a substitution application – a possibility that counsel expressly stated at the outset of the trial – it was not until those witnesses had given evidence and their evidence tested in cross-examination that they considered the plaintiffs had a sufficient basis on which to bring the application.  In these circumstances I consider this approach to have been reasonable and prudent.  However, ICBC and Ms. Sidwell argue that the plaintiff Metzler is bound by his counsel’s letter so as to foreclose any possibility of a successful substitution application.  This would mean that even if Ms. Sidwell had expressly admitted at trial that her driving was the cause of the accident the defendants could not have substituted her as defendant in ICBC’s stead.  That cannot be correct.
[59]         Finally, there is an additional difficulty in applying an estoppel here in any event because the primary facts asserted as giving rise to an estoppel apply only to the plaintiff Metzler and not to the plaintiff McStravick.  The most that can be said in regards to Ms. McStravick is that her counsel attended a trial management conference at which the judge was told that the application was not being brought.  Only in Mr. Metzler’s case was a letter written, in arguably more definitive terms.  This leaves the unsatisfactory possibility that Ms. Sidwell might be substituted as a defendant in one case but not the other.  Fortunately I do not have to address this difficulty because I conclude that even on the strongest facts that are alleged an estoppel of the type and scope asserted does not arise.

ICBC Hit and Run Claims, Reasonable Efforts and Estoppel

Further to my previous posts discussing legal obligations when seeking compensation following an unidentified motorist collision in BC, interesting reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, suggesting that in the right circumstances estoppel could be used to overcome a ‘failure to take reasonable efforts to identify the Defendant’ defence after a collision has been reported to ICBC.
In this week’s case (Springer v. Kee) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2008 collision.  The at fault driver fled the scene before the plaintiff could identify them.  The plaintiff reported the claim to ICBC and to the police but did not take any steps after this to try and identify the at fault motorist.
The plaintiff brought an action seeking compensation from ICBC pursuant to Section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.  ICBC brought an application to dismiss the lawsuit arguing the plaintiff failed to take all reasonable steps to identify the motorist after reporting the claim.  Mr. Justice Armstrong agreed and dismissed the claim.  Before doing so, however, the Court criticized ICBC’s actions and suggested that if estoppel was plead the outcome may have been different.  The Court provided the following reasons:

[92] I accept the view that ICBC was not obliged to warn the plaintiff of his ongoing obligations in the immediate aftermath of his reporting the accident to ICBC; ICBC was, in my view, remiss in their duty to inform the injured party about the steps necessary to perfect his claim, particularly in light of the conversations with the adjuster indicating that his claim had been accepted by the corporation. It seems to me that ICBC’s communications with an injured person ought to include a warning about the prerequisites of the claim against an unidentified motorist.

[93] In my view, although not obliged to advise people of their obligations under s. 24(5), ICBC ought to recognize the risks that laypeople will rely on remarks made by adjusters suggesting settlements can be expected without warning that the claim will be denied if s. 24(5) is not complied with. Regrettably, I also note that the “Helping You with Your Hit and Run Claim” pamphlet published by ICBC that was given to the plaintiff by the adjuster does not mention the implications of s. 24(5) of the Act.

[94] Counsel for the plaintiff mentioned the concept of waiver, but did not argue this as a case of estoppel and the pleadings do not advance any claim against ICBC except as nominal defendant.

[95] Section 24(5) does not permit me to consider the actions of ICBC in the assessment of the plaintiff’s obligations under the Act. That may be the subject of a waiver or estoppel, which is outside of the scope of this application.

[96] For the reasons given by Barrow J. in Tessier, I am unable to conclude that the actions of ICBC excuse Mr. Springer’s inaction in the weeks following the accident. Therefore, I would dismiss the argument of the plaintiff in this case; I cannot grant judgment because he did not take all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver as required under s. 24(5) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231.

Party Substitution Orders and ICBC Unidentified Motorist Claims


As previously discussed, when injured by the fault of an unidentified motorist in BC, a Plaintiff can sue ICBC directly for damages in place of the unknown motorist provided section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act is complied with.
After a lawsuit starts, if the unknown motorist becomes known then the Plaintiff can substitute the appropriate party.  Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with such an application and, interestingly, denying it alleging the Plaintiff failed to identify the appropriate party in a timely fashion.
In this week’s case (Turnbull v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was allegedly injured when struck by a customer at his store.  The Plaintiff failed to properly record the licence plate information of the motorist.  The Plaintiff sued ICBC and as the litigation progressed the Plaintiff believed he was able to identify the offending motorist through employment records identifying the correct licence plate of the vehicle alleged to be involved.
The Plaintiff brought an application to substitute this person into the lawsuit.  The application was denied with Master Caldwell providing the following reasons:

[22] In the present case, the plaintiff knew of the existence of documentation which would have identified potential defendants at the time of and at all times following the alleged incident.  The plaintiff retained counsel shortly after the incident.  The plaintiff and his counsel were aware well before the expiry of the limitation period that identification of the vehicle and driver was a central and important issue in the claim.  No application was made during the limitation period, or even during the year following the expiry of the limitation period, to pursue the documents which the plaintiff knew existed and knew might well identify the vehicle and the driver.

[23] In short the plaintiff, and the plaintiff alone, bears the responsibility for the failure to identify potential defendants in a timely fashion and certainly within two years of the incident plus one year to serve.  In such circumstances, if limitation periods are to have any meaning and effect in our system, the interests of justice and the potential prejudice to the intended defendant outweigh the interests of the plaintiff.

I question the correctness of this decision given section 24(6) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act which provides as follows:

(6) If the identity of the unknown owner or driver is ascertained before judgment is granted in an action against the insurer as nominal defendant, then, despite the limitation period in the Motor Vehicle Act, that owner or driver must be added as a defendant in the action in substitution for the corporation, subject to the conditions the court may specify.

This lack of duty when seeking to substitute parties under s. 24(6) should not be confused with a Plaintiff’s duty to continue to make all reasonable efforts to ascertain the identity of the unknown motorist to maintain a section 24 action against ICBC through to trial.
I understand that the above decision is under appeal and if further reasons are issued addressing this I will provide an appropriate update to this post.

Cyclist Found 50% at Fault For Crash After Passing Vehicle on the Right

Further to my recent article on this topic, cyclists passing a stopped vehicle on the right can be faulted for a resulting collision.  This was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In this week’s case (Kimber v. Wong) the Plaintiff cyclist was approaching a T intersection.  A vehicle was stopped in his lane of travel leaving a gap for the Defendant who was driving in the opposite direction intending to make a left hand turn.  The Cyclist passed the stopped vehicle on the right.  At the sane time the Defendant turned resulting in collision.

Mr. Justice Pearlman found both parties equally to blame for the incident.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[66] By passing to the right of the stopped eastbound vehicles, Mr. Kimber put himself in a position where he was not visible to a left-turning driver and where his own view of traffic turning across his path was blocked by the vehicles to his left.

[67] The plaintiff maintains that he was the dominant driver with the right of way as he approached the intersection and that under s. 174 of the Motor Vehicle Act, and that Ms. Wong, as the servient driver intending to turn left, was required to yield the right of way to him.

[68] As Madam Justice Ballance observed in Henry v. Bennett, 2011 BCSC 1254 at para. 73:

The dominant/servient driver analysis in Walker is predicated on the footing that the dominant driver has proceeded lawfully …

[69] Here, that analysis does not apply where Mr. Kimber was in breach of s. 158 of the Motor Vehicle Act and his common law duty to take reasonable care by keeping a proper lookout.

[70] However, that does not absolve Ms. Wong from liability.  Ms. Wong made the left turn knowing cyclists using the oncoming lane often rode to the right of vehicles.  She knew she had to keep a lookout and would have to yield to any oncoming traffic, including cyclists that presented an immediate hazard.

[71] She began her turn from a point where she was unable to see beyond the windshield of the vehicle stopped at the western entrance to the intersection.   She made a continuous accelerating turn and did not stop or pause when she reached the point, just across the centre line, where she had a sight-line that would have enabled her to see the plaintiff.  Had she inched forward or stopped when she had a clear sight-line, the plaintiff would have passed safely in front of her and the accident would have been avoided.

[72] I find that in heavy traffic and where her view of the eastbound lane was limited, Ms. Wong was negligent in failing to inch forward until she could see whether there was an obstacle to her safely completing her left-hand turn.

[73] I turn now to consider whether the plaintiff was contributorily negligent.  As he passed stopped traffic on the right, Mr. Kimber ought to have been alert to the potential danger.  He failed to keep a proper lookout before entering the intersection.  He failed to take reasonable care for his own safety or that of other road users.  Here, the plaintiff could have pulled into the line of slow moving or stopped vehicles and then taken his turn to pass through the intersection.  Alternatively, the plaintiff ought to have been alert to the danger of passing stopped traffic at the intersection and ought to have brought his cycle to a stop to the right of the red Hyundai where he could observe traffic turning into the intersection.  Had he done so the collision would have been avoided.  I find that the plaintiff was also negligent and that his negligence was a cause of the accident.

[74] The apportionment of liability requires a consideration of the degree to which each party is at fault.  Fault is apportioned on the basis of the nature and extent of the departure from the respective standards of care of each of the parties:  Cempel v. Harrison Hot Springs, [1997] B.C.J. No. 2853 at para. 24 (B.C.C.A.).

[75] Here, the plaintiff and the defendant were both familiar with the intersection where the accident occurred.  For her part, the defendant was aware of the risk of cyclists approaching to the right of oncoming eastbound traffic but made her left turn without maintaining a proper lookout for a known risk.

[76] For his part, the plaintiff ought to have slowed down and entered the line of eastbound vehicles before passing through the intersection, or if he remained to the right of the line of stopped vehicles, he ought to have stopped alongside the stationary Hyundai before proceeding into the intersection, where he would have had an unobstructed view of the hazard ahead.

[77] In my view, the plaintiff and the defendant are equally at fault.  I apportion liability 50 percent to each of the plaintiff and the defendant.

Cyclist Assessed 30% Fault For Passing Slow Moving Vehicle on the Right

(Update July 8, 2014 – the below decision was overturned on Appeal with the BC Court of Appeal finding there was no evidence to prove negligence on the motorists part)
Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dealing with the issue of fault following a collision caused by an unidentified motorist.
In last week’s case (Orminston v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2009 cycling collision. As he proceeded down hill a vehicle ahead of him in his lane of travel “was almost stopped at the centre line”. The Plaintiff had room on the right side of the vehicle and attempted to pass. As the Plaintiff did so the motorist veered to the right causing the Plaintiff to lose control.
The motorist left the scene and remained unidentified. The Plaintiff sued ICBC pursuant to section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act. ICBC admitted that the collision occurred and involved an unidentified motorist, however, ICBC argued the Plaintiff was fully responsible.
Ultimately Mr. Justice McKinnon found both parties at fault. In assessing 30% of the blame to the Plaintiff the Court provided the following comments:

[26]Section 158(1) limits the ability of a “motorist” to pass on the right. It is permissible only in three specific instances, none of which existed at bar. Even when permitted, the move cannot be made if it would be “unsafe” to do so and if the movement caused the vehicle to “drive off the roadway”. “Roadway” is defined in section 119(1) and does not include the shoulder. Section 158(2) stipulates that a motorist must not overtake or pass if the movement cannot be made safely, or if it involves driving off the roadway. The latter, says defence, makes it clear that the plaintiff was not entitled to use the shoulder, at any point, or for any purpose, in attempting to pass. ..

[36]This unidentified vehicle was not near any intersection nor any roadway that might lead a cyclist to believe there was a possibility of a turn into his line of travel. It was descending a steep hill but for unknown reasons came to almost a complete stop at the centre of the road. In my view the facts at bar are not at all similar to those cited in Janzen

[41]I accept that this unidentified driver was almost stopped at the centre line when he/she made a sudden veering motion that took the vehicle over the fog line onto the shoulder. Such an action, at the very least, constitutes driving without reasonable consideration for others. Clearly Mr. Ormiston also bears some responsibility for this collision, given the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act to which I have referred. It remains to ascertain the extent to which each is liable.

[42]In Salaam v. Abramovic, 2010 BCCA 212, the British Columbia Court of Appeal offered the following comment about assessing statutory obligations in respect to liability:

[18] While the statutory provisions provide guidelines for assessing fault in motor vehicle accident cases, they do not, alone, provide a complete legal framework

[21] …In the end, a court must determine whether, and to what extent, each of the players in an accident met their common law duties of care to other users of the road. In making that determination, a court will be informed by the rules of the road, but those rules do not eliminate the need to consider the reasonableness of the actions of the parties. This is both because the rules of the road cannot comprehensively cover all possible scenarios, and because users of the road are expected to exercise reasonable care, even when others have failed to respect their right of way. While s. 175 of the Motor Vehicle Act and other rules of the road are important in determining whether the standard of care was met, they are not the exclusive measures of that standard.

[43]In Shinkaruk v. Crouch, 2011 BCSC 1762, Saunders J. followed these general statements of principle, noting:

[18] A breach of the Motor Vehicle Act is not in itself determinative of liability; all of the surrounding circumstances may be taken into account.

[44]In my respectful view, given the provisions of the Negligence Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 333 and the facts that I have found, the defendants bear the greater liability. I find them 70% responsible for the losses claimed. The plaintiff will be assessed 30%.

Plaintiff Struck by Fleeing Shoplifter Found Faultless for Collision

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing the issue of fault for a crash when a Plaintiff was struck by a fleeing shoplifter.
In last week’s case (Bhadlawala v. Baxter) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2008 collision.  At the time he was 64 years old and was a long time employee at Zellers.  He observed an individual shoplifting and followed him into the parking lot.  The shoplifter entered a van.  The Plaintiff stood behind the van, about one vehicle length away, and attempted to write down the licence plate.  The vehicle then suddenly backed up and struck the Plaintiff causing injury.
ICBC argued the Plaintiff should be found 25% at fault for placing himself in harm’s way.  Madam Justice Gray rejected this argument and found the motorist fully at fault.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:
[85] Regarding the 2008 accident, ICBC argued that Mr. Bhadlawala was negligent in placing himself behind the van in the parking lot, and that he thereby contributed to the accident. ICBC argued that Mr. Bhadlawala ought to have known that the van was going to back up, and should not have stood behind it. ICBC argued that Mr. Bhadlawala should be held 25% contributorily negligent for the 2008 accident, and that his damages award should be reduced accordingly…

[93] The defence argued that Mr. Bhadlawala should not have pursued the shoplifter. However, the accident was not the result of pursuing the shoplifter. It was the result of the van striking Mr. Bhadlawala in the parking lot.

[94] The shoplifter was in the van. The evidence did not establish whether the shoplifter was the driver or a passenger in the van. The driver of the van probably wanted to avoid anyone noting the van’s license number. It was reasonable for Mr. Bhadlawala to have anticipated that the van might have backed up.

[95] However, the risk of being caught shoplifting is far less significant than the risk of being caught striking a pedestrian with a vehicle.

[96] It was not reasonably foreseeable that the driver of the van would reverse so quickly that Mr. Bhadlawala could not move out of the way in time to avoid being struck. Mr. Bhadlawala was standing over a van length behind the van, which would have given him ample time to get out of the way if the van had moved at a reasonable speed…

[101] As a result, Mr. Robert is entirely responsible for the 2008 accident.

Another useful case addressing this issue can be found here where the BC Court of Appeal found ICBC’s arguments in a similar situation were ‘doomed to failure‘.

The Dangers of Passing Vehicles Near Intersections

When a driver proceeds into the on-coming lane of travel to overtake another vehicle care must be taken.  This is particularly so near intersections.  Reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver, Registry, addressing fault for a collision arising in such circumstances.
In yesterday’s case (Johel v. ICBC) the Plaintiff stopped at a stop sign.  She intended to make a left hand turn.  The vehicle approaching from her left was slowing and signalling intending to make a right hand turn.  The Plaintiff felt it was safe to proceed with her turn and entered the intersection.  At the same time the Defendant’s vehicle chose to pass the third party by entering the on-coming lane of travel.  A collision occurred.

(Accident Reconstruction Software courtesy of SmartDraw)
The Defendant fled leaving the Plaintiff with the remedy of suing ICBC under section 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.  Ultimately Mr. Justice Bernard found the unidentified vehicle fully at fault for the crash.  In doing so the Court provided the following reasons for judgement:

[13] In the circumstances of the case at bar, the obligations of the plaintiff under the Act are found in ss. 165(2), 186, and 175(1).

[14] Section 165(2) applies to drivers making left turns at intersections where traffic is permitted to move in both directions on each highway entering the intersection. The provision sets out the obligations of a driver in such a situation. Section 186 obliges a driver approaching a stop sign to stop at the marked stop line. There is no evidence or suggestion that Ms Johel failed to comply with these rules of the road.

[15] Section 175(1) sets forth the obligations of a driver entering a through highway from a stop sign. The defendants say the plaintiff failed to yield, as required by this provision. Section 175(1) reads as follows:

175(1). If a vehicle that is about to enter a through highway has stopped in compliance with section 186,

(a) the driver of the vehicle must yield the right of way to traffic that has entered the intersection on the through highway or is approaching so closely on it that it constitutes an immediate hazard, and

(b) having yielded, the driver may proceed with caution.

[16] The statutory obligations of the defendants are found in ss. 155(1)(c), 157(1), 159, 160, and 175(2) of the Act.

[17] Section 155(1)(c) obliges a driver to drive to the right of a single line, broken or solid, except only when passing an overtaken vehicle. There is no evidence or suggestion that the defendant driver drove to the left of the solid yellow line except for the purpose of overtaking Mr. Lam.

[18] Section 157(1) sets forth the obligations of the overtaking vehicle vis-à-vis the overtaken vehicle. There is, again, no evidence or suggestion that the defendant driver did not comply with this rule.

[19] Sections 159 and 160 set forth the obligations of drivers passing on the left. They state as follows:

159. A driver of a vehicle must not drive to the left side of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle unless the driver can do so in safety.

160. A driver of a vehicle must not drive to or on the left side of the roadway, other than on a one way highway, unless the driver has a clear view of the roadway for a safe distance, having regard for all the circumstances.

[20] Section 175(2) obliges a driver on a through highway to yield to a vehicle which has entered the highway in compliance with s. 175(1). The plaintiff says the defendant driver of the white car failed to yield, as required by this provision. Section 175(2) states as follows:

175(2). If a vehicle is entering a through highway in compliance with subsection (1), traffic approaching the intersection on the highway must yield the right of way to the entering vehicle while it is proceeding into or across the highway….

[29] Having regard to all the evidence and the positions of the parties, I find: (a) that Ms Johel was attentive and observant while stopped at the stop sign; (b) that Ms Johel proceeded with caution into the intersection and, at the time, the only traffic in her view was the car of Mr. Lam; (c) that the defendants’ white car was, at the time, to the left of Mr. Lam and, thus, hidden from Ms Johel’s view; and, (d) that at the time of collision, the white car was straddling the centre line and Ms Johel’s car was crossing it and heading slightly eastward.

[39] Having regard to all the foregoing, I conclude: (a) that when the defendant driver overtook Mr. Lam he or she did so in breach of ss. 159 and 160 of the Act; (b) that the defendant driver failed to meet the requisite standard of care; and (c) that the defendants are solely at fault for the collision.

Employer Paid Wage Replacement Benefits Non-Deductible in Hit and Run Claims

Section 106 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation permits ICBC to reduce compensation by any amount paid by another “insured claim” in claims for injuries caused by unidentified motorists or uninsured motorists under section 24 and section 20 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act .  Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, addressing whether wage loss benefits paid by an employer are an ‘insured claim‘.  In short the Court held that they are not.
In last week’s case (Loeppky v. ICBC) the Plaintiff, a police officer, was injured in a hit and run collision.  ICBC accepted the crash was caused through the fault of an unidentified motorist.  The Plaintiff sought compensation for his damages including past wage loss.  During his time away from work his employer paid him wage replacement benefits.  ICBC argued these payments were an ‘insured claim‘ and therefore had to be deducted from his ICBC claim.  Madam Justice Grey disagreed and refused to make the deduction.  The Court provided the following reasons:

[83] In my view, Mr. Loeppky’s wage replacement benefits do not constitute an “insured claim” under s. 106 of the Regulation, and therefore may not be deducted from Mr. Loeppky’s award.

[84] In Arklie v. Haskell (1986), 33 D.L.R. (4th) 458, 25 C.C.L.I. 277 (B.C.C.A.), McLachlin J.A., writing for the court at para. 26, held that a sum of money advanced by an employer to an employee that had to be repaid in the event of any recovery did not qualify as a benefit under the predecessor of s. 106.

[85] More generally, in Lopez v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (1993), 26 B.C.A.C. 142, 78 B.C.L.R. (2d) 157, Hollinrake J.A., writing for the court at para. 21, held that an “insured claim” for the purposes of the Regulations must still import at least some element of insurance. He went on conclude that payments made by reason of a contract of employment, without some evidence that they originate from an insurer, do not possess such an element of insurance.

[86] The sum of $6,804.77 was paid to Mr. Loeppky under the collective agreement between the Vancouver Police Union and the Vancouver Police Board. Under the terms of that agreement Mr. Loeppky must repay that amount if he recovers it in this action. There is no evidence that the payments originated from an insurer. Thus, it is not an insured claim under s. 106 and the defendant is not entitled to deduct it from any award.

Circumstantial Evidence and ICBC Unidentified Motorist Claims

Reasons for judgement were released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dismissing a Plaintiff’s ICBC Claim alleging that an unidentified motorist caused a significant collision.
In last week’s case (Paguio v. Fraser) the Plaintiff was injured when his scooter collided with another vehicle.  The Plaintiff suffered a “serious head injury” and his ability to give evidence surrounding the circumstances of the crash were limited.
The Plaintiff conceded that the vehicle he collided with did nothing wrong but alleged that an unidentified motorist cut the plaintiff off forcing him into the other vehicle.  Mr. Justice Williams rejected this argument concluding that on a balance of probabilities the evidence did not support such a finding.  Prior to doing so the Court listed the following applicable principles when faced with a claim based on circumstantial evidence:

[60]I must be guided by certain basic concepts that govern the approach that must be taken to the proof of a plaintiff’s case where it rests on a base of circumstantial evidence. In Tweedie v. ICBC, 2002 BCSC 1937, Mr. Justice Wilson provided a helpful discussion of the approach that must be taken to the proof of a plaintiff’s case where it rests on a base of circumstantial evidence and provided reference to the applicable authorities.

[61] The principles as I understand are these:

(a)      Where a case is not proved by direct evidence, the court will carefully examine and consider the relevant circumstantial evidence.

(b)      Circumstantial evidence derives its effect through the process of the trier of fact drawing reasonable inferences. That is a cognitive process whereby, once certain facts are established or proven, then a logical conclusion is considered. It is the process of reasoning from a proven fact or facts to a reasonable, rational and logically legitimate conclusion.

(c)      The drawing of an inference is different than mere conjecture or a guess, no matter how shrewd or plausible that guess might be.

(d)      An inference, once properly drawn, must give rise to a reasonable conviction in the mind of the trier of fact that the element of which proof is necessary is at least more likely than not, or to some greater degree of certainty.

(e)      The plaintiff can succeed in proving his case on the strength of a reasonable inference which gives rise to a conclusion that the element has been proven on a balance of probabilities. If the inference does not support the conclusion to that standard, then the proof is not made out.

[62] In the final analysis, applying these guiding principles, and having examined the evidence carefully, I have concluded that the circumstantial evidence proffered by the plaintiff does not enable me to find that the case has been proven to the necessary standard. The plaintiff has not met the onus of proof he bears to establish his claim and it must therefore stand dismissed.

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If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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