In this personal injury case ICBC made a settlement offer of $70,000.00 plus costs 4 business days before trial and the claimant did not accept the offer nor respond with a counter-offer (Ben-Yosef v. Dasanjh, 2016 BCSC 1945 ). This was a four day Fast Track Trial.
The Court awarded the claimant $32,548.52 plus costs as a result of injuries sustained when the claimant was struck as a pedestrian. The majority of the symptoms that the claimant attributed to his injuries from the car accident were probably present before the accident.
At the time the offer to settle was made examinations for discovery were completed and documents exchanged along with expert medical reports. In the judges view, “the parties were in as good as a position as they would ever be to assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of the case. (See the comments of Fleming J. in White v. Wang, 2015 BCSC 1080 at para. 10)”
Judge Fleming referred to comments by Griffin J. in Bevacqua v. Yaworski, 2013 BCSC 29, regarding the process at para. 8:
In personal injury claims, in which liability has been admitted, there is in most cases a somewhat predictable range of possible awards. It is to be expected that counsel taking a case to trial will have discussed with their clients the possible range of damages, the evidentiary issues and the risks of and expense of proceeding to trial. It is to be expected therefore that as the trial approaches, counsel and their client have in mind a possible range of recovery and the risks of litigating. Naturally, a plaintiff hopes for an award in the high end of the range and the defendant for an award at the low end.
The offer by ICBC was more than twice the amount that was awarded to the claimant in this case. There was no evidence to determine the financial impact of the cost award on the claimant. However the judge concluded that the claimant should be deprived of costs from the date of the offer to settle until the end of the trial and costs were also awarded to the defendants for that same period.
Learn more about responding to an ICBC settlement offer in a personal injury claim. If you have reviewed these cases you know why it is important to get a good lawyer before the settlement process begins.