When involved in a motor vehicle collision, a finding of fault will be determined by ICBC. If you disagree with the assessment of fault, the option is to dispute it through the Civil Resolution Tribunal.
CRT Jurisdiction – as noted on the CRT Website:
The CRT can resolve certain motor vehicle injury disputes. There are three types:
- Disputes about accident benefits
- Minor injury determinations
- Disputes about damages and liability up to $50,000
Disputes about damages and liability include asking the tribunal to determine who was responsible for an accident, and how much the at fault driver should compensate the other driver. Damages can include things like repairs to property, future income loss, past wage loss, and pain and suffering. (CRT Website)
We will review the evidence submitted on the issue of liability in a case referenced as Ivanciuc v. Wang 2018 BCCRT 55 – 2018 02 27:
The facts of this case:
- The applicant is disputing ICBC’s assessment of fault – 75% against him
- The applicant vehicle did not stop at an amber light, causing a crash
- The applicant did not carry collision coverage – there was no “own damage” claim
- ICBC paid 25% from the respondent’s third party liability coverage
- The claim is for vehicle repair costs
- On the day in question, it was raining
- The applicant had straight and clear view to the intersection
- The applicant did not stop at the amber light
- The applicant did not brake
- The applicant passed drivers on the right (indicating others were slowing and preparing to stop)
- Late amber light turned red at the point of impact
- ICBC’s submission is that drivers approaching “late amber” should expect that vehicles waiting to turn left will turn left / caution necessary
- Violation ticket was issued for failing to obey a traffic signal and failure to yield the right of way, which was later dismissed
When a violation ticket is involved, take note of the CRT comments:
It is true that Mr. Ivanciuc cannot be said to be “guilty” of that offence because the court later dismissed the ticket for “want of prosecution.” However, the court’s dismissal does not mean that Mr. Ivanciuc complied with the Motor Vehicle Act. There are a number of reasons why the court may dismiss a ticket that have no bearing on the merits of the ticket. I have no evidence before me about why the court made the order. Further, the standard of proof in a criminal proceeding is ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’, which does not apply to insurance investigations and determinations.
Two matters will come up on a liability dispute:
- The Applicant must prove on a balance of probabilities that ICBC breached its statutory obligations or its contract or insurance (or both); and
- Whether ICBC acted “properly or reasonably” in administratively assigning responsibility for the collision. Singh v. McHatten, 2012 BCCA 286, and Innes v. Bui, 2010 BCCA 322 at para. 33
The CRT will quote the following sections of the statutes and therefore we should highlight them for review:
Section 76 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, dealing with third party rights, says that the insurer may at any stage compromise or settle the claim.
Section 77 (4) of that statute says ICBC has the right to contest its insured’s liability. ICBC owes the applicant a duty of good faith, which requires ICBC to act fairly, both in how it investigates and assesses the claim and as to its decision about whether to pay the claim (see Bhasin v. Hrynew, 2014 SCC 71 at paras. 33, 55, and 93).
The following quote is also referenced:
As noted in the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC’s ‘BC Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Practice Manual’, an insurer is not expected to investigate a claim with the skill and forensic proficiency of a detective. An insurer must bring “reasonable diligence, fairness, an appropriate level of skill, thoroughness, and objectivity to the investigation and the assessment of the collected information (see McDonald v. insurance Corp. of British Columbia, 2012 BCSC 283).
- Applicant’s own dashcam footage;
- Police officer witness to the collision;
- ICBC’s “Claims Assessment Review” or “CAR” decision;
The CRT also quoted that “the reasonableness of ICBC’s conclusion does not necessarily turn on a strict mathematical calculation according to a rigid formula.”
In this decision, the CRT concluded that the Applicant should have stopped at the amber light as he had a safe opportunity to do so, and therefore, the liability split of 75% for the Applicant / 25% for the Responded will remain in place.
Distance to Intersection
- Applicant’s submission was that he was 33 meters from the light
- ICBC’s threshold for safe stopping distance at 50 kmh is 37 meters from the light which can be found in a publication called “unsafe speed”.
- CRT states that publication is merely a guideline and is not determinative
- ICBC stated 37 meter threshold is an emergency stopping distance
- This threshold should not apply when a driver should be anticipating the need to stop
In summary, I accept ICBC’s conclusion that had Mr. Ivanciuc applied his brakes when he saw the light turn amber, he could have slowed down and avoided the collision. I find that ICBC reasonably concluded that Mr. Ivanciuc failed to comply with the Motor Vehicle Act, which addresses his obligation to yield and stop in the circumstances. This conclusion does not alter the fact that ICBC also reasonably found Ms. Wang 25% liable for her failure to comply with the Motor Vehicloe Act. In all of the circumstances, I find the applicant has not proven the liability split was unreasonable.
In summary, I confirm ICBC’s 75% liability assessment against Mr. Ivanciuc. Given this conclusion, I do not need to address his damages claims. As Mr. Ivanciuc was unsuccessful, I also dismiss his claims for tribunal fees and dispute-related expenses.
I order that the applicant’s dispute is dismissed.
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