While there is no ‘one size fits all‘ answer to the question of whether a personal injury settlement is a family asset in divorce proceedings, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, highlighting circumstances where it is not.
In this week’s case (Shen v. Tong) the parties ‘lived in a marriage-like relationship‘ since 2004 and were married in 2008. In 2004 the Respondent was injured in a collision and she subsequently settled her ICBC claim in 2006. The funds were invested and still available at the time of the Divorce and the Claimant sought an order declaring this money as a family asset. Madam Justice Stromberg-Stein refused and provided the following reasons:
 Ms. Tong’s position is her ICBC settlement is not a family asset. It was largely for general damages and of the $13,564 for past wage, about half this time was before their relationship started. Ms. Tong invested the settlement proceeds and never used them for a family purpose. She maintained she wanted to save the award for her recovery but she did not have to use it for that purpose as she had Mr. Shen’s benefits. She sent the invested proceeds, now $60,000, to her parents in China in January 2012.
 The ICBC settlement is not a family asset. Ms. Tong does not have to account for what amounts to a negligible wage loss claim.