Michael Yawney QC was retained by a professional woman in her early 40’s after she suffered injuries in an October 9, 2013 motor vehicle collision where she was hit hard from behind when she was stopped at a crosswalk to allow a pedestrian to cross the road. The defendant driver had failed to slow down and stop, despite the cross walk. There was extensive damage to the defendant vehicle but very little visible damage to the plaintiff’s vehicle. The woman believed that should would bounce back and be okay, and worked hard with rehab to get back to work. Unfortunately, after multiple attempts to get back to work and to get better, she was diagnosed with permanent chronic pain and disability. Despite this she kept working as much as she could as she supported herself and her daughter. ICBC took the position that the woman could not have been injured significantly and refused to resolve her claim on a fair basis despite having to admit liability as it was a rear end collision caused by the defendant. Despite numerous attempts by the plaintiff to resolve the claim fairly, ICBC forced the matter to trial. The first trial date did not proceed because there was no court time available.
Michael Yawney QC, along with partner Allyson Edwards and associate Allison Jaquish, took the matter to trial in January of 2018. Before doing so, further attempts were made to try and resolve the claim fairly; all of which ICBC ignored. Judgement was rendered on March 18, 2019 for over $804,000.00 plus costs. Because of the attempts of Mr. Yawney and his team prior to trial to fairly resolve the claim, the plaintiff was awarded double costs due to the conduct of ICBC in refusing to accept reasonable offers before both scheduled trial dates. To further compound matters, ICBC refused to resolve costs and further court time had to be taken up to decide that issue.
This case is another example of where ICBC, despite its usual blaming of insureds and claimants for high costs, created well over $500,000.00 in extra costs compared to what it could have resolved the claim for prior to trial. This is on one claim! This happens all the time with ICBC claims, but they never tell us that when talking about ICBC’s financial performance. It is always the claimants, lawyers and judges that get blamed for it’s poor performance and high claims costs. This case is one of many over the last several years where ICBC’s claims management and business practices results in millions of dollars of needless extra cost simply because of the way it chooses to do business. Private insurers always factor in costs and cost savings when adjusting claims; ICBC doesn’t seem to care because it can always go to the government to bail it out and make changes so it doesn’t have to take responsibility for it’s poor business practices. This is the real problem with auto insurance in British Columbia and why over 80% of British Columbians want auto insurance privatized and ICBC sold off. The $500,000.00 wasted on this one claim would go a long way to saving many people from paying higher insurance premiums. We should all be asking that ICBC disclose similar instances when it complains about high claims costs!
PDF Costs Assessment – March 18, 2019 judgment date – before Master R.W. McDiamid (02108776xB91A7) PDF Reasons for Judgment – July 31, 2018 (01810288xB91A7)