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ICBC Denies Hit and Run Claim but Court Disagrees

This personal injury case was lodged against the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (“ICBC”) for damages arising from a hit-and-run motor vehicle collision which occurred near the Strawberry Hill commercial complex at the corner of 120th Street and 72nd Avenue in Surrey, British Columbia. ICBC was named as the nominal defendant in this action as the claimant was unable to ascertain the identity of the driver and owner of the vehicle that he said collided with his vehicle.

Through this summary trial application, ICBC asked that the case be dismissed. The issue was whether the injury claimant established that he made all reasonable efforts to ascertain the identity of the unknown owner and driver, pursuant to s. 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231.

In finding ICBC liable for this hit and run injury the Judge points out,

[72] …Given the distances of the surrounding businesses from the Collision site and the layout of the area, I accept there would have been little benefit in contacting businesses for video surveillance and/or records of people who may have come forward to those businesses. Such efforts would be highly unlikely to produce any results.

[73] In the end, Mr. G is not to be held to the standard of perfection. Even if the timing of his telephone call to police and his lack of follow up with police could be viewed as something less than reasonable in and of themselves, I agree with the plaintiff that what is reasonable in all of the circumstances of one case does not rise and fall on a single effort. What sets this case apart from other cases provided is that Mr. G was faced with a driver who immediately fled the scene of a low impact type of accident in an area with transient traffic, surrounded by parking lots. Despite these obvious limitations in obtaining information regarding that vehicle’s identity, Mr. G nevertheless chose to take several positive steps to investigate. He was proactive from the outset. That he was unsuccessful is of no consequence. All that is required is that he take all reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver and owner of the SUV. I find that he did in the circumstances of this case. (Ghuman v. ICBC, 2019 BCSC 3)

For all of these reasons the court found that the claimant made all reasonable efforts to ascertain the identity of the SUV’s owner and driver under s. 24(5) of the Act and that the identity of the unknown owner and driver of the SUV is not ascertainable. Accordingly, ICBC was found liable to compensate the claimant for his personal injuries.

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.

Tags: Hit and Run, Section 24(2) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act

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