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ICBC Can Appear For Uninsured and Breached Drivers in Same Personal Injury Lawsuit

 

The Statutory powers of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, are concurrent with an obligation that it  pay innocent injury claimants if they are injured by uninjured drivers or driver’s that breach their insurance, such as drinking and driving in a car crash.
In this uninsured ICBC personal injury case (Shapiro v. Dailey, 2011 BCCA 424) the injury claimant  sought  an order declaring that the appellant Insurance Corporation of British Columbia  had no standing to bring an appeal from a Supreme Court order awarding her $1.4 million in damages for injuries and loss sustained as a result of a car accident  between her vehicle and a vehicle operated by the appellant. Read my review of the original personal injury case. The trial judge found the other driver wholly liable for the car crash and dismissed the claimant’s lawsuit against the defendant owner of the vehicle concluding that the driver did not have the consent of  the owner  to operate the vehicle.
Consequently, the other driver was found to be an uninsured motorist at the time of the collision, which could limit the claimant’s recovery to $200,000 despite the court award of  $1.4 million. As the Court of Appeal found, 

“[23]  In this case, ICBC did comply with its statutory duty to promptly notify Mr. Dailey that he was an uninsured motorist, as well as its other obligations under s. 20. ICBC’s error in appearing under s. 21 caused no prejudice to Mr. Dailey, who has never denied liability or appeared in the action. Nor did the error, in my view, prejudice Ms. Shapiro or her ability to advance her claims. Unlike in Hosseini, where ICBC entered a settlement with the plaintiff under s. 21 and then sought to recover that settlement from the defendant under s. 20, ICBC in this case promptly intervened and defended the case on Mr. Dailey’s behalf; all of Ms. Shapiro’s claims were fully addressed on the merits. In other words, the statutory basis for ICBC’s intervention did not affect the fairness of the trial and Ms. Shapiro is not in any different position than she would have been if ICBC had initially intervened in the action under s. 20. Mr. Dailey’s failure to appear or dispute liability meant that whether ICBC appeared under s. 20 or s. 21, it would have had the same rights to control the conduct of the defence…
[27]  In the result, I am of the view that ss. 20(6) and (7) of the Act do not preclude ICBC from appearing to an action under those provisions after it has previously intervened in the action at trial under s. 21 of the Act. Accordingly, I would dismiss the application.” Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness

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