Unisured Drivers

Barry spoke briefly about this at the Parking meeting, and I asked him to write about it to begin a community discussion on this important community issue. It is based on Barry's (and Mary's) experience a bunch of years ago.


Uninsured Drivers

Drivers roll the dice when they climb into an uninsured vehicle. A minor accident that causes serious injury could leave them anchored to ICBC or their victim, thorough court ordered liability awards, for the rest of their lives. These awards can be in the millions of dollars. These awards are not discharged by filing bankruptcy – any debts incurred by causing bodily harm or by court penalties are not absolved by bankruptcy.

The uninsured driver often seems to sport both a cavalier attitude towards the risk and a lack of commitment to his or her aging vehicle that results in the vehicle falling into dangerous disrepair and becoming a safety hazard to other drivers, bikers and pedestrians.

I'm curious if this uninsured driver ever reflects on the possible victim in a serious accident that could be left, under-compensated, from an ICBC judgement that is limited by their uninsured status.

An irony in this situation is that the insured driver is responsible for acquiring extra insurance1 to more fully cover themselves against the uninsured driver.

In a serious accident, with an uninsured driver, the spectre of a police investigation, a very large monetary liability and a possible criminal prosecution could shift the dynamic from helping the injured party to a “cover your ass” scenario. The action could quickly devolve, with a seriously injured person being moved immediately, instead of phoning for the First Responders and with the accident scene being scrubbed clear and the dilapidated vehicle towed away, before the police arrive, as has happened in the past.

The role of ICBC in this drama of the uninsured vs. the insured is somewhat counter-intuitive. ICBC will represent the uninsured driver against you; ICBC will do whatever they can legally do to reduce your claim. ICBC will take many positions that they may later recant when they go to court or negotiate a settlement. For instance, they may tell you they agree the accident is 100% the uninsured driver's fault and a year later, when it is too late to gather evidence they will revert to a 50-50 fault posture. ICBC is not your friend. I suggest you lawyer up as soon as possible to prove your case while the evidence is still available. You will receive overtures to keep the settlement on island and to not involve the authorities – I suggest you ignore these requests especially in a serious accident, even though it may cause you some consternation.

The false economy of driving without insurance2, in an substandard vehicle, especially with Lasqueti's reduced ICBC rates, seems self evident, yet we will no doubt continue to see these uninsured, unsafe vehicles compromising the welfare of everyone on the road.

– Barry Parks

1Everyone is covered up to $1.000.000 against an uninsured driver but an extra $1,000,000 can be purchased.

2Uninsured and under-insured vehicles can both cause liability problems for the driver in an accident.