In a stunning concession by our Supreme Court, the law apparently favours the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) having no legal obligation to inform hit and run injury victims of their legal rights(Morris v. Doe, 2011 BCSC 1053).
The injury claimant was injured in a car accident at the intersection of South Fraser Way and Ware Rd. in Abbotsford, B.C. The claimant and her husband were stopped in their pick-up truck at a red stop light waiting for it to turn green and were hit from behind by a motorist who failed to slow down sufficiently for the red light.
The driver who hit the injury claimant’s car intentionally fled the scene of the car accident. In reasons reviewed in my personal injury lawyer review of hit and run law the trial judge dismissed the injury claim due to her failure to take all necessary and reasonable steps to establish the identity of the unidentified driver who caused the accident as required by s. 24(5) in the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231. This was an ICBC court application relating to costs.
In our present circumstance in BC neither the police nor ICBC have any legal obligation to help a car accident injury claimant but rather ICBC can simply refuse to provide a claimant with information. As the the trial judge awkwardly tried to justify,
“ I cannot accede to counsel’s suggestion that ICBC or an insurer has a positive obligation to advise an insured of the need to obtain legal advice. To do so would fundamentally change the nature of the contractual relationship between the insurer and insured and place the insurer in a position of quasi-authority requiring it to provide an element of legal advice, something adjusters and claims managers may not be well suited to do and may create a host of unanticipated and unforeseen consequences…
 I must say again that, in this case, I have a great deal of sympathy for the unsuccessful plaintiff[injury claimant], particularly in light of ICBC’s failure to set her straight at the outset when it was apparent she did not understand the process. However, by the time the statement of defence was issued…it would have been clear to the plaintiff and her counsel that her case was in peril, or definitely not nearly as strong as initially believed.”
As the injury claimant’s lawsuit was dismissed the trial judge ordered that she pay the legal costs and expenses for ICBC’s defence of her personal injury case. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness