Egan v. ICBC, 2010 BCSC 1042
July 27, 2010- Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”), applied to court for an order that two car accident injury claims being made by one claimant be heard at the same time. In the ICBC injury claim , the injured claimed damages for personal injuries, including injury to the head, headaches, cognitive problems, memory problems and mood problems, injury to the neck, injury to the back and injury to the left leg and knee. The ICBC case was set for an eight-day trial by judge and jury. The trial was cancelled.
The lawyer for ICBC said that 15 days for trial are now set aside, but it is uncertain at this time as to how long the trial will take. No trial date had been scheduled. The ICBC action is to be heard by judge and jury. Fault and the value of the case were put in issue by ICBC. It was estimated that the issue of fault for the accident will take about one to two days of trial time.
The court took in to account 8 considerations:
1. Will trial of the two injury cases at the same time create a saving in pre-trial procedures?
2. Will there be a reduction in the number of trial days if the two matters are heard together?
3. What is the potential for serious inconvenience to a party being required to attend part of a joined proceeding in which that party may have little or no interest?
4. Will there be a real saving in experts’ time and witness fees?
5. Is one of the injury claims at a more advanced stage than the other?
6. Will the order sought result in a delay of the trial of one of the actions and, if so, does any prejudice which a party might suffer as a result of that delay outweigh the potential benefits which a combined trial might otherwise have?
7. Is there a substantial risk that separate trials will result in inconsistent findings on identical issues? and
8. Will combining the two injury trials into a single trial deprive the parties of their right to a jury trial?
The court found that although there are potential savings in overall trial time, experts’ time, and witness fees, requiring the injury claims to be heard together will cause significant prejudice both by unnecessary litigation expense and, more significantly, by denying one of the drivers the right of trial by judge alone. Posted by Mr.Renn A. Holness
Issue: When should injury claimants be forced to have their multiple injury cases heard at the same time?