Close ICBC’s Hit and Run Loophole!

ICBC says they have you covered!

The Morris case, discussed below, is the latest example of how s. 24 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (hit and run claims) begs to be amended to force ICBC and its employees to take measures to immediately advise their customers of the specific steps required to be taken after a hit and run accident. In the writer’s opinion, while there may be a legal and/or policy justification for ICBC not informing their customers of the requirements placed on them by virtue of s. 24(5), there is a moral obligation to do so.

ICBC Accident Information Sheet

Victims of car accidents should not be left in the dark by their insurance company while their right to compensation, for which they have paid, slips away. Such behaviour on the part of ICBC does not deter fraudulent claims (the purported mischief that s.24(5) attempts to address). What it does do is further victimize those who have already suffered damages and loss. Additionally, our courts should not be burdened with the task of deciding whether or not our multi-billion-dollar auto insurance company gets the benefit of this loophole.

ICBC has an information sheet respecting hit and run accidents on its website at http://www.icbc.com/autoplan-insurance/Basic-Autoplan/hit-run.pdf (shamelessly titled: Hit and Run Claims We’ve Got You Covered). Ironically, Mr. and Mrs. Morris took the steps that the information sheet appears to suggest should be taken in a hit and run situation.

Here is what the Morrises did after the hit and run accident:

[40] Mr. and Mrs. Morris reported the existence of the unidentified vehicle and its departure from the scene as soon as reasonably possible to the police via a 9-1-1 telephone call while still at the scene. They also reported the incident to ICBC and then attended an ICBC claims centre on April 18, 2006 [six days after the accident], and had their vehicle inspected, provided statements and received authorization to have the vehicle wiring harness repaired.

Here is what ICBC tells you to do in Hit and Run Claims We’ve Got You Covered:

How do I make a hit and run claim in B.C.?

 
1. Take all reasonable and safe steps to identify the
other vehicle and the person responsible. Call the
police immediately if you notice the hit and run
motorist leaving the scene. If possible, you should
provide the police with a description of the vehicle
and the driver, the plate number, and the direction
the vehicle is travelling.
2. Call ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim at 604-520-8222 in the
Lower Mainland or 1-800-910-ICBC (4222) toll-free
throughout the rest of B.C. — 24 hours a day,
seven days a week. We’ll take your information and

let you know the next steps. [emphasis added]

Clearly, ICBC’s information sheet on this subject should not be relied on. ICBC’s employees will likely not tellyou what your next steps should be to protect your entitlement to compensation (because legally they don’t have to). As the Morrises found out the hard way, ICBC does not have you covered. Call an experienced personal injury lawyer!

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