This ICBC accident injury case(Hagen v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia,2011 BCCA 124) poses the question of whether a driver of a motorcycle with a Class 6L learner’s licence is in breach of the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations where, having made arrangements to be followed by a supervisor, the learner was not within sight of the supervisor because the supervisor turned off the agreed route and lost sight of the learner.
The injury claimant was the holder of a valid motorcycle learner’s permit when he was struck by a truck while riding his motorcycle and was seriously injured. The appellant, the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC, denied accident benefits under Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulations on the basis that the claimant was not authorized to operate his motorcycle at the moment of the accident because he was not in the sight of his supervisor.
The injury claimant brought this personal injury claim against the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for a declaration he was entitled to the Part 7 benefits, and for general, aggravated and punitive damages for breach of contract.
In a summary trial the court declared the claimant was entitled to Part 7 benefits. ICBC appeals from that order, saying the judge was wrong in law in finding the claimant was in compliance with the Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.
The Court of Appeal found that to accept the argument of ICBC would penalize a holder of a valid motorcycle learner’s permit for the unexpected actions of third parties. As stated by the court,
“This is a case in which the supervisor, not the learner, made a mistake, a mistake which was so near in time and distance to the accident it was open to conclude Mr. Hagen[the claimant] could not be faulted for failing to detect his loss of supervision. The judge described the lack of supervision as momentary. He referred to evidence that Mr. Hagen had seen the supervisor behind him at the previous intersection. The judge considered the evidence of the street design and the evidence that the many stop signs had permitted some vehicles to fall in between Mr. Hagen and his supervisor. I consider it was open to him on the evidence to conclude that this was a case of loss of contact that did not put Mr. Hagen in breach of the Regulations.”
ICBC’s appeal was therefore dismissed and they were required to pay the accident benefits to the claimant. Checkout my other articles on how to make an accident benefit claim with ICBC. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness