This ICBC claimant was involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving a vehicle which was insured by the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, ICBC. The claimant reported the accident to ICBC without a lawyer and in so doing made a number of statements regarding the circumstances of the collision.
ICBC refused to pay the claimant for his vehicle, alleging the claimant made a number of wilful false statements about the accident. The court agreed with ICBC finding that he made false statements to ICBC and ordered that he pay over $17,000 to ICBC (2015 BCSC 994).
In this case the claimant sought payment for vehicle damage and towing costs, travel and rental car costs, damages for inconvenience and expense arising from the loss of his driver’s licence, damages for “capacity”, and costs. ICBC counterclaimed for damages in the amount of $17,627.61, paid to the other driver’s employer for downtime costs while the vehicle was being repaired, and to him personally for injuries he sustained in the collision.
The ICBC adjuster assigned said that the file he receives typically contains the individual’s information, insurance coverage and any notes from the “Dial-A-Claim” operator who took the original call. In the case of the claimant’s file, there was a note that he had received a 24-hour driving prohibition.
The ICBC adjuster called the claimant a couple a days after the the claimant had made the report to “Dial-A-Claim.” They discussed the accident. The adjuster called the claimant back about an hour later to advise he had reviewed the “Dial-A-Claim” notes and they indicated the claimant had received a 24-hour driving prohibition. The adjuster said the claimant denied consuming alcohol, denied receiving a prohibition, and denied reporting the claim.
The ICBC adjuster sent the claimant a letter holding him 100% responsible for the accident and advising him he had made a willful false statement. The letter indicated he owed $17,029.48 to ICBC.
The court accepted the adjusters’ evidence that in their initial conversations the claimant denied that he had reported the claim to ICBC. The judge found that the claimant made four false statements intentionally, knowingly, and purposefully. As the judge said, “It is likely that he thought or hoped that his initial written statement, wherein he admitted liability for the accident but avoided the subject of alcohol, would be the only statement he would be required to give to ICBC… efforts to avoid confessing about the involvement of alcohol were unsophisticated, but wilful.”
There was no dispute that ICBC made payments on behalf of the claimant to settle third party claims arising from the accident. ICBC was entitled to recover these amounts paid on behalf of, or for the benefit of, the claimant to resolve other driver’s claim as well as the downtime claim in relation to his taxi when it was being repaired.
Accordingly, ICBC was entitled to recover $17,627.61 from the claimant.