In this ICBC costs of personal injury case ( Danicek v. Li,2011 BCSC 444) the claimant was offered $500,000.00 to settle her car accident case with ICBC. She rejected the ICBC offer and went to court where the judge only awarded her a little over $10,000.00. ICBC applied to court to have their costs, a contribution toward their legal fee, paid by the unsuccessful personal injury claimant.
In British Columbia we have a set schedule that is used to compensate winning parties to a lawsuit for their legal fees.  ICBC was overwhelmingly successful in the defence of this injury claim and were seeking double their costs, special and increased costs.
The judge recognized that this personal injury litigation had become complex and that ICBC deserved an increased amount for a contribution toward their legal fee.
This injury claimant was also seriously injured in a dance floor incident resulting in the claimant being awarded almost 6 million dollars.  These cases were heard together and you can read the post about that brain injury claim. The court was of the view that,

  • It was reasonable for the claimant to decline the offer.  Although $500,000 was far from insignificant it was only 8% of the award.
  • There was obviously a dramatic difference between the ICBCs’ settlement offers and the amount ultimately awarded at trial.
  •  The financial circumstance of the parties is not a significant factor. In other words it does not matter that ICBC is a multi-billion dollar corporation and the injury claimant has essentially nothing.
  •  The personal injury claimant was not a reliable reporter of her symptoms; and
  •  Although the claimant was less than candid  no double costs should be awarded.

ICBC will get to recoup some of their legal fees but will still be out of pocket for more than $200,000 in legal fees. In retrospect one would have to wonder what would have happend had the injury claimant accepted the half million dollar offer from ICBC. Posted by Mr. Renn A. Holness

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