We are pleased to announce that, after ICBC refused to settle our client’s claim at any number, we proceeded to trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and obtained an award of $98,700 for pain and suffering, wage loss, and medical expenses.
In June 2009, our client was violently t-boned by an unknown vehicle that fled the scene. Our client was unable to note the license plate of the hit-and-run driver.
Despite suffering numerous injuries, missing work, and incurring significant medical expenses as a result of the accident, ICBC refused to offer any money for compensation.
Under the law, an injured claimant is still entitled to up to $200,000 in compensation from ICBC even though the identity of the hit-and-run driver is never found. However, the law first requires claimants to make “all reasonable efforts” to determine the identity of the hit-and-run driver. This requirement was discussed in one of our previous posts, “Hit and Run Accidents: What you Need to Know.”
In our case, ICBC relied on this technicality in attempt to deny our client any compensation.
After our client’s accident, he was in shock, his airbags had deployed in his face, it was dark out, and the at-fault motorist fled the scene almost immediately. He then relied on his passenger (who had an injury claim of his own) as well as his lawyer to post “Witness needed” signs near the accident scene, follow up with the police, and put an ad on Craigslist.
ICBC argued that because the client didn’t personally take these steps, he should be denied any compensation for his injuries.
After seven days of trial, Madam Justice Baker of the Supreme Court of British concluded that our client was entitled to rely on the efforts made by his passenger and his lawyer to ascertain the identity of the unknown driver:
I am not persuaded [by ICBC], however, that a party may not rely on the actions taken by an agent or agents in order to comply with the statutory obligation. In many circumstances, the claimant may be unable to personally take steps – because he or she has suffered a significant injury, for example, or is hospitalized following the accident.
Where there are a number of parties involved in an accident, each of whom is advancing a claim for damages, as in this case, it makes little sense to require that each of them personally post signs at the accident scene or post advertisements.
Madam Justice Baker went on to award significant damages to our client, as well as costs of the litigation.
If you have been injured in a hit and run accident, feel free to contact us to ensure all statutory requirements are met so your claim is not at risk of being dismissed.