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If I am injured by an uninsured driver, can I still bring a personal injury claim?

British Columbia has compulsory vehicle insurance: if you drive, you must be insured. However, some people don’t follow the rules. So what do you do if one of them injures you in a car accident? In many cases, you can file a claim against ICBC under the uninsured motorist provisions of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act.

According to s. 20(1) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act, you may file an uninsured motorist claim against ICBC if the following conditions are satisfied:

  • you suffered injuries or property damage;
  • due to a motor vehicle accident on a highway in BC (here the term ‘highway’ includes almost any public road);
  • the driver or owner of that vehicle was uninsured (or has so little insurance as to be deemed ‘uninsured’); and
  • the driver did not flee the scene (if they do flee, you must apply under the hit & run provisions).

However, in order to qualify under s. 20, you must follow the procedural requirements strictly, otherwise ICBC will reject your claim: Ducker v. I.C.B.C. (1997), 33 B.C.L.R. (3d) 243 (C.A.); Hicks v. Bieberbach Estate, 2011 BCSC 226.

Finally, the uninsured motorist provisions are discretionary, ICBC can refuse to pay part or all of your claim: s. 20(9). In order to increase the likelihood of full recovery, you should determine whether you qualify for underinsured motorist protection: Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation, B.C. Reg 447/83.

(written by Troy McLelan)

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