Progressive insured the Washington State claimants in two separate personal injury actions in British Columbia. The claimants were riding a motorcycle in British Columbia when they collided with a rental vehicle.
The claimant’s insurance policy provided that Progressive would pay “reasonable expenses incurred for necessary medical services” received by the plaintiffs as insureds “within three years of the date of a motor vehicle accident.”
The car accident caused injuries that required “necessary medical services” and Progressive paid about $120,000 for their treatment. The issue here is whether Progressive can recover what was paid the the claimants through the exercise of its right of subrogation. Section 83(2) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 231, which provides:
83. (2) A person who has a claim for damages and who receives or is entitled to receive benefits respecting the loss on which the claim is based, is deemed to have released the claim to the extent of the benefits.
The judge found that nothing turned on the difference between two statutes in the language defining “benefits”. The definition of “insurer” in s. 1 of the current statute:
(a) the corporation, or
(b) the person who undertakes, agrees or offers to provide insurance under an optional insurance contract;
Progressive met neither branch of the definition and the judge concuded that Matilda v. MacLeod, 2000 BCCA 1 governs the interpretation of s. 83, is not affected by the change in wording from s. 26 to s. 84, and is a full answer to these applications.
This decision was upheld by the Court of Appeal(Middleton v. Heerlein,2016 BCCA 369)