This is a Small Claims Dispute ($5,000) in the Civil Resolution Tribunal “CRT” on the topic of liability.
This article will review a Small Claims Dispute on the issue of liability in which ICBC initially assessed fault at 50 – 50. The driver/applicant of one of the vehicles did not agree with the liability decision made by ICBC and therefore filed a Small Claims dispute regarding the liability split.
Take note: the rules of evidence do not apply on submission to the CRT. Hearsay rules do not apply. The CRT will look at any evidence it determines relevant. The burden of proof remains the duty of the applicant to prove his or her claim.
In this case, hearsay evidence was submitted as part of the evidence and accepted by the CRT in the form of “oral evidence”, but unfortunately, it was not enough to persuade the CRT that liability was 100% the fault of the Respondent. The decision of 50 / 50 liability in this case stands.
It is really important to note that although the website of the Civil Resolution Tribunal indicates that “The CRT is designed to be used without being represented by a lawyer” I would caution Applicants to seek legal advice on any claim. Having worked in the legal profession for over 25+ years, too many times I have seen people proceed with claims without sufficient evidence and not understanding the full picture of what must be presented to tell their story and prove their claim. A lawyer will help advocate on your behalf.
Let’s take a look at the facts presented in this case, referenced as Medel v. Grewal et al – 2019 BCCRT 596 – 2019-05-16. Small Claims Decisions – Final Decision
- The applicant did not provide a statement in evidence
- An oral report was provided to ICBC by the applicant regarding the details of the collision
- There was no dispute by ICBC that the oral statement was made by the applicant
- The details of the oral statement was that the applicant did not attempt to change lanes or leave his lane (note: this was a side by side collision.)
- The applicant alleges that the defendant driver tried to make a lane change and struck his vehicle.
- ICBC states that both parties alleged it was the other parties fault
- Both parties have denied fault
- No written statement was provided by the applicant
- Photographs were taken after the collision but do not show that the vehicle was in the lane of the other
- Neither vehicle is shown to be crossing into the other’s lane.
- Photographs are of no assistance in determining liability for the accident.
In this case, there was conflicting evidence. The CRT concluded that it is “impossible to know with certainty how the accident happened.”
As the burden of proof lies with the applicant in proving its claim, and the evidence did not persuade the CRT that one party was more at fault over the other, the decision of 50-50 liability split did not change.
Note: this was a decision that fell within the tribunal’s $5,000 small claims limit.
See also a relevant article:
CIVIL RESOLUTION TRIBUNAL – BC
Here are some common types of Evidence that can be submitted at the Civil Resolution Tribunal as highlighted on their website:
As a reminder, as of April 1, 2019 the Civil Resolution Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction over 3 types of claims:
- benefit entitlement (Part 7)
- Minor injury determinations
- Quantum and liability for claims under $50,000.
- Photos – photos help the CRT understand your dispute. Photos are particularly helpful in showing damage, physical layouts, or things that are difficult to describe. Please submit clear photos with a high resolution. Include a description of what is shown in the photo, and the date the photo was taken.
- Contracts – provide a copy of the contract. Also include communications related to your contract.
- Correspondence – letters, emails or other correspondence about the dispute. Make sure you don’t submit multiple copies of the same correspondence. For example, an e-mail chain that includes multiple copies of the same e-mail.
- Statements – this can include written statements from a witness or expert. Witness or expert statements should be signed, dated, and sent to the person requesting the statement. The person requesting an expert statement or opinion must submit a copy to the CRT and to the other parties in the dispute. They must also provide:
- The letter from the party to the expert requesting the expert statement or opinion, and
- Information about the expert’s experience and background to explain what makes the person an expert
Motor Vehicle Injury Disputes
- You may want to provide medical information to support your claim. Medical information can include things like reports and assessments completed by medical practitioners, receipts for medical information, and other items.
- The CRT has rules specific to parties who want to submit expert evidence. There are limits on the amount of expert evidence that can be submitted, and limits on the amount the CRT can order one party to pay for reimbursement of fees and expenses in a motor vehicle injury dispute.
- Learn more about expert evidence and reimbursement of expenses for motor vehicle injury disputes.
- Minutes – copies of strata meeting meetings that relate to your dispute. For example, strata council meetings, or strata AGMs. Make sure the minutes include the date of the meeting.
- Complaint letters – if there is a complaint by or to a strata, a copy of the complaint letter, as well as any response.
- Bylaw infraction letters – if you have received or sent a bylaw infraction letter, a copy of the notice of bylaw infraction that was sent to the owner, as well as any response.
Personal Injury Claims
- You should provide medical information to support the damages in your claim. Medical information can include things like reports and assessments completed by medical practitioners, receipts for medical services, and other items.
- Agreement – a copy of the contract or agreement for the amount owed.
- Payment records – this is evidence about which party made payments, for how much, and on what date.
- Demand letter – A “demand letter” is a letter sent from the creditor (the person who lent money) to the debtor (the person who owes money), asking that the debt be repaid. You should also include any response to the “demand letter”, for example, correspondence saying they will or won’t pay.
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