Surprised at ICBC Offer to Settle

The factors to be considered when valuing a personal injury claim with ICBC or other insurance companies will change according to the stage of  your case. Some of the factors that may be important early on, such as claim reporting and notification, will give way to symptom documentation and medical diagnosis. Beware of the ICBC Minor Injury Cap Law for accidents after April 1, 2019.

A case worth $2,500, $5,000 or $10,000 for a three month injury following a car accident could be worth $30,000 or more if the diagnoses changes later.

In the recent Supreme Court case of Garib v. Archibald, 2016 BCSC 1082 the court makes it clear that claimants will not longer be punished for rejecting ICBC offers if they are making an earnest attempt at settling for the an amount which reasonably reflects the value of the case. In Garib the jury awarded  $5,000 less than ICBC offered the claimant before trial. Essentially ICBC offered $45,000 but the jury valued the case at $40,000.
The claimant’s decision not to accept the offer tendered by the ICBC before trial was a reasonable according to the judge. She had expert reports that supported a diagnosis that she was suffering from chronic pain. If the jury accepted her experts’ opinions and found that she suffered from chronic pain,  the value of similar claims are currently in a range of $35,000-$125,000, according to the judge in Garib.

When considering how much an ICBC personal injury case is worth, claimant’s must consider whether it would be reasonable to accept the offer at the time an offer is being made. The court in the assessment of this factor  does not take a “hindsight view of the evidence” ( see Bailey v. Jang, 2008 BCSC 1372 at para. 24).

In particular here are some additional factors worth considering when putting a value on a personal injury claim:

    1. If the claim for past wage loss is more than the ICBC Offer to Settle. While it can be open to the jury to reject this portion of  the claim, it should be not be frivolous.
    1. In a similar vein, proof that the claimant after the accident could only perform light duties at work.  Functional capacity evaluations carried out should indicate that the claimant does not meet the job requirements for the work at the time of the accident.
    1. In terms of compensation for for pain and suffering ,if the medical experts all diagnose permanent chronic pain with a guarded prognosis, contemplating judge alone case law, the only yardstick by which a claimant can consider prospective damage awards, non-pecuniary damages could currently range from anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000 or more.
  1. If it has been more than 6 months since the accident related injury there should be a firm medical diagnosis or investigation underway to confirm same.

Watch to learn how much your ICBC personal injury case is worth:

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