Under section 24(5) of the Insurance Motor Vehicle Act you can successfully sue ICBC as the nominal defendant if you have taken all reasonable steps to find the driver who caused your injuries.
However, the recent case of Morris v. Doe that was pronounced by the BC Supreme Court in March 2011, gave us all a serious reminder that you must take steps to try to find the parties responsible not only immediately after the collision but also in the days and weeks after the collision.
In this case, the plaintiff was a passenger who suffered injuries when the vehicle she was riding in, driven by her husband, was rear-ended by another vehicle. Her husband got out of his truck and indicated to other driver they should pull into a nearby parking lot to exchange information. The other driver appeared to agree by nodding, but took off before the plaintiff or her husband were able to get the information. The plaintiff quickly called the police and notified ICBC, but took no further steps to try to identify other driver after the collision.
The court decided that the steps taken by the plaintiff were not enough and the action against ICBC was dismissed.
The plaintiff had failed to make all reasonable efforts to ascertain identity of the driver as required by Insurance (Vehicle) Act, section 24(5). The court stated that further steps such as posting signs and advertising in a local newspaper in an effort to seek out potential witnesses would be entirely “logical, sensible and fair”. The plaintiff had not taken any of these steps and as a result she was left without any compensation for her injuries.