Should a prior ICBC Settlement amount be deducted from a second and new car accident injury claim? We answer this question in today’s a motor vehicle accident case review.
This personal injury case involves a chronic pain claimant with a prior accident she settled with ICBC for $153,300 plus case expenses (the “Settlement”). Should the claimant be awarded a global amount of damages in relation to the injuries that were caused by both accidents, treating the injuries as indivisible and the tortfeasors as jointly and severally liable; or should the second accident be treated as causing a divisible injury, for which damages which can be isolated and assessed separately ?
The claimant was in the driver’s seat of her vehicle stopped waiting to merge into traffic to go on to the Pattullo Bridge from the New Westminster side when her car was hit from behind by a vehicle driven by the personal defendant. The claimant’s pain condition impacts her life in every way.
The claimant’s prior car accident was settled for a total payment of $181,300 of which $28,000 represented case expenses for a net settlement in respect of damages of $153,300.
The judge found that the ’s claimant’s injury caused by the prior car accident is divisible from the injuries caused by the accident in question. This is the approach that is recommended for taking into account the prior ICBC settlement when the injuries are divisible:
The proper approach to assessment of damages is to assess the degree to which the claimant’s chronic pain condition has been made worse by the car accident in question, rather than make a global assessment of damages for the chronic pain condition and then deduct the amount of the Settlement received in relation to the first accident.(paragraph 218, click here to see Deol v. Sheikh, 2016 BCSC 2404 )
The claimant was awarded a total amount of $332,000, $90,000 for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. The claimant’s prior $181,300 ICBC settlement was not deducted from this award.