ICBC owed thousands to driver it inaccurately partly blamed for a crash

Apr 21 2023, 7:25 pm

ICBC was on the receiving end of a small claims tribunal case in which it owed a driver thousands of dollars it wrongfully partly blamed for a crash.

The wrongful blame was just part of why ICBC owed the driver. BC’s insurance agency also had to reimburse the driver $3,500 for an “unlisted driver fee.”

The driver in question, Tache Sato, was driving a vehicle owned by Diane Sato, his mother.

Sato says ICBC improperly held him 50% responsible for the accident he was involved in and claimed $5,000 in damages, including $1,200 reimbursement for vehicle damage, $3,500 for the unlisted driver fee and increased premiums.

He also asked the tribunal to get ICBC to “remove any insurance increase” from the crash and adjust his driver factor.

On the flip side, ICBC said it reasonably assigned responsibility for the accident equally.

Sato was driving his mom’s car to run errands for her. He was travelling in North Vancouver when he approached a four-way stop. Sato says he approached the intersection and fully stopped. He added that he could see headlights to his right, approaching the intersection.

The car to his right had not arrived at the intersection, so Sato deemed it safe to turn left. However, tribunal documents state that the other driver, MK, intended to continue straight through the intersection. As a result, the two vehicles collided, with MK’s front left panel striking Sato’s rear passenger door and rear wheel well.

The accident occurred on December 9, 2021, and ICBC changed its insurance scheme in May earlier that year.

A tribunal doc states, “Part of the changes included an amendment to the Insurance (Vehicle) Act (IVA) to impose a general ban on drivers bringing actions for vehicle damage against other vehicle owners and drivers involved in an accident. However, this ban does not preclude the applicants from bringing an action against ICBC as their insurer.”

Sato and his mother claimed ICBC “acted unreasonably and improperly” in investigating the accident. The tribunal member agreed.

Sato had passengers that witnessed the collision that ICBC refused to consider. ICBC claimed it was because his witnesses weren’t neutral or independent, but the tribunal member said it was “improper to completely ignore evidence that may be relevant.”

MK claimed they “don’t know how or what happened,” while Sato and his passengers were able to provide a well-detailed account of events.

The tribunal member found MK solely responsible for the accident, in contrast to ICBC’s 50/50 split. They also had a lot to say about ICBC’s unlisted driver fee.

“ICBC has not provided any evidence about this fee, such as on what basis it is entitled to charge such a fee, how the fee is calculated, or even a copy of the insurance policy that shows Mr. Sato was an unlisted driver.”

Ultimately, ICBC had to reimburse $4,700 and an additional $175 in tribunal fees.

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