24 Oct Hit-and-Runs & ICBC Claims
By: Darren Kautz
Hit-and-runs are perceived to be problematic for an injured party who cannot identify the defendant driver who has fled the accident scene. However, the BC Insurance (Vehicle) Act does provide some remedies for aggrieved parties seeking compensation for the injuries they have suffered in hit-and-runs.
Claims for Hit and Run
Under section 24 of the BC Insurance (Vehicle) Act, an injured party can bring an action against ICBC to claim damages. In these situations ICBC is considered as a nominal defendant. Nominal defendants have no connection to the lawsuit in a sense that they are not responsible for the injuries suffered by the party;. However, they are held as defendants by the courts because they still have some connection to the lawsuit as the other vehicle’s insurer. Further, significant weight is put on the necessity of naming ICBC as a defendant in these cases because it would be otherwise impossible for the court to decide all issues before and render a just and equitable judgment for the aggrieved party.
In hit-and-run cases, the Plaintiff is subjected to certain requirements. Section 24(2) requires the Plaintiff to notify ICBC by written notice “as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event within 6 months after the accident that caused the bodily injury, death or property damage.” Potential Plaintiffs who wait too long to notify ICBC forfeit their rights and remedies under the Act.
Section 24(5) prescribes additional requirements. It mandates the Plaintiff to investigate and attempt to identify the defendant driver. Section 24(5) states the following:
In an action against the corporation as nominal defendant, a judgment against the corporation must not be given unless the court is satisfied that
(a) all reasonable efforts have been made by the parties to ascertain the identity of the unknown owner and driver or unknown driver, as the case may be, and
(b) the identity of those persons or that person, as the case may be, is not ascertainable.
Section 24(6) deals with situations in which the identity of the defendant driver becomes apparent. The section states that if the identity of the defendant driver becomes known before the judgment is rendered by the court, then that defendant must promptly be substituted in for ICBC. This is to ensure the defendant driver, who was responsible for the injuries suffered by the Plaintiff in the first place, is held accountable for his or her actions.
The Plaintiff in hit-and-run claims is entitled to the same heads of damages that were previously discussed on our blog. Specifically, the Plaintiff is able to make a claim for general damages, past wage loss, cost of future care, loss of earning capacity, and any special damages arising from out of pocket expenses in relation to the injuries suffered as a result of the hit-and-run.
Join Kautz Injury Law again next week as I, Darren Kautz, will canvass other areas of injury law.