Developments in personal injury law for 2015 are exciting and range from the new and approved claim of moral injury to new limits on sanctions that can be leveled against injury claimants. ICBC claimants that fail to accept a reasonable offer no longer have to pay double costs and Masters cannot impose financially crippling sanctions against claimants in the document disclosure process.
The courts have also reinforced the power of the court to award compensation for loss of future earning capacity and has allowed ICBC claimants to continue to obtain accident benefits despite prior back and back conditions. Overall 2015 has been a positive year for personal injury claimants in British Columbia. Here are five of my personal favourite personal injury cases for 2015:
1. Double Costs for not accepting Offer Unfair to the Injured – (C.P. v. RBC Life Insurance Company, 2015 BCCA 30- This significant unanimous decision effectively did away with double costs for ICBC and other disability insurance companies in civil claims where the plaintiff obtains an award for less than an offer to settle.
2. The Supreme Court of Canada awarded a man $15,000 for moral injury as a result of being forced to listen to the reciting of a prayer at a municipal council meeting (Mouvement laïque québécois v. Saguenay (City), 2015 SCC 16)- Suing for Moral Injury in Canada can now be included in personal injury pleadings.
3. Masters of the Supreme Court cannot impose sanctions against a party based on the merits of the case. The claimant suffered injuries in a car accident, alleged loss of earnings but failed to disclose certain documents. The Master ordered a sanction of $25,000 against the claimant for failure to disclose work calendars, personal loan documents, and income tax returns. The Supreme Court ,on Appeal, overturned this harsh and punitive sanction (Badreldin v. Swatridge,2015 BCSC 1161 Appeal from Master)confirming that Rule 22-7(2) (e) is limited in its terms to facilitating determinations on the merits, and sanctions encroaching on the merits undermine that objective.
4. The Court Appeal made it clear that an award for loss of future earning capacity reflects the exercise of judgment framed by clearly articulated factual findings. To require the trial judge to say more than he did in this case would be to impose an impossible burden on trial judges (Fadai v. Cully,2015 BCCA 505).- $250,000 Loss of Earning Capacity Award in Rear End Accident Upheld.
5. ICBC must prove that but for the pre-existing condition, the Claimant would not have become totally disabled before being able to deny accident benefits(Kozhikhov v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia,2015 BCCA 515).This ICBC injury insurance Appeal case concerned the nature of the claim for injury benefits under Part 7 of the Insurance Regulations and the interpretation of s. 96(f) of the Regulation when a claimant has a pre-existing condition . ICBC Must Pay Benefits Despite Prior Neck and Back Pain.
It it always difficult to shortlist important developments so if you think there is a case that should be on this list be sure to send us your comment and we will post it.