Lemer & Company recently settled an ICBC case that illustrates:
- the relationship between damages awarded in a lawsuit against an at-fault driver and no-fault benefits for wage loss (known as Part VII Benefits) payable by ICBC to anyone injured in a motor vehicle accident; and
- the legal requirement that ICBC must act in good faith when deciding to cut off no-fault benefits.
We obtained a jury verdict for our client in an action against the defendant driver. No-fault benefits are still available after such a trial – the action against the driver does not end the plaintiff’s entitlement to the no-fault benefits – but in some circumstances the no-fault benefits will be reduced or eliminated. We demanded that the remaining benefits be paid after the jury’s decision. ICBC continued to pay but on three occasions cut our client off without having him undergo an assessment by a doctor to determine whether benefits need to be paid. We had to prepare applications to court to seek orders requiring ICBC to pay and on each occasion ICBC relented and reestablished payments. We alleged that the act of cutting our client off without following the law’s requirement of getting an opinion from a doctor was bad faith. The lawsuit dealing with the no-fault benefits was settled recently with a payout of all the no-fault benefits owing in the future. This case is noteworthy because under the new laws restricting lawsuits against other drivers ICBC has more responsibility and more control over procedures and payments to vulnerable people injured in car accidents.