In this personal injury case the ICBC insured driver rear-ended the claimant and knocked him off his motorcycle. The claimant suffered injuries to his neck which required surgery and ultimately resulted in devastating physical effects due to the onset of conversion disorder. The court awarded the claimant $2,735,818.16 for injuries received as a result of the car accident.(Best v. Thomas, 2014 BCSC 2487)
The claimant  made two offers to settle prior to trial. Both of them were in the range of $2,000,000. The second offer was made just under a week before trial and the claimant beat the second offer to settle by close to $1,000,000.
ICBC argued that the  offer to settle was not delivered seven days before trial, which made it difficult to contact the unrepresented defendants. ICBC explained that they ultimately planned to seek to collect the amount of the award and costs from the defendants. The unrepresented defendants are from a disadvantaged, if not impoverished, background. The  other driver lives in a remote First Nations community off the coast of Vancouver Island and an award for double costs will have a crippling effect on them.
Rule 9-1(5) sets out the options where an offer to settle has been made and Rule 9-1(6) identifies a number of factors that the court may consider when determining the appropriate option. The  jurisprudence does not  require seven days’ notice of an offer to settle, the question is whether the notice was sufficient. In this case the judge found the offer was a reasonable one and ought to have been accepted. As the court stated,

[37] While this finding means the plaintiff is entitled to double costs from the date of the offer to the end of trial, I agree with the third party that the plaintiff is not entitled to any costs for the days of trial devoted to advancing evidence of the diagnosis of spinal injury on which he was ultimately unsuccessful, for argument related to that, and for the time spent applying to amend the pleadings.

[38] I calculate the time required for those items to be five days, and that should be deducted from the time the plaintiff is entitled to double costs.

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

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