In this personal injury case ICBC was denied their costs despite the claimant failing to beat a pre-trial offer to settle. ICBC made an offer of $93,500 to settle the lawsuit on behalf of the defendant 2 weeks before trial. The claimant refused the offer and was awarded $91,700 at trial (Zhao v. Yu,2015 BCSC 2342).
The Defendant’s Insurer ICBC sought an order that the Defendant be awarded its costs and disbursements from the date on which the Defendant made an offer to the claimant to settle the action for a payment of $93,500 to the Plaintiff. The claimant sought an order that he be awarded costs assessed at $11,000, as contemplated in Rule 15-1(15) for a three day trial; plus $1,500 for each of the three additional days of trial, for a total costs award of $15,500, plus reasonable disbursements to be agreed or assessed.
In denying the ICBC’s request for costs the judge weighed the financial inequalities between the injury claimant and the ICBC insured this way,
… I am aware that the Defendant’s defence was mounted by an insurer. So far as I am aware, an award of costs to the Plaintiff will be paid by that same insurer and I infer that there will be no financial penalty to the Defendant as a result. Any loss of safe driving discount or increase in insurance premiums, if applicable, will likely already have resulted from the admission of liability and the award of damages.
 Based on the evidence heard at trial, the Plaintiff is not a wealthy person. He supports himself, and contributes to the support of his partner and her daughter, who has significant disabilities, from his income from employment. Denying the Plaintiff his costs; or making an award of costs in favour of the Defendant would undoubtedly significantly erode the award of damages; and result in the Plaintiff being under-compensated for the injuries and losses resulting from the Defendant’s negligence.
Learn more about ICBC offers to settle : The ICBC Personal Injury Settlement Offer
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.– over 20 years experience in personal injury law.