Limitation Periods and Trusting ICBC Adjusters
The goodfirm ICBC car accident lawyers want to warn anyone injured in a car accident about the dangers of leaving the limitation periods for your claim in the hands of your ICBC adjuster. Under the Limitation Act SBC 2012 ch.13, there is a 2 year time limit to bring a claim for injuries, which includes any injuries sustained in a motor vehicle action. Additionally, ICBC has no obgliation to bring this limitation period to your attention when handling your claim. As DeWolfe v. Jones, 2016 BCSC 2008 shows, relying on an ICBC adjuster to settle your claim fairly can be detrimental.
In Dewolfe, Mr. and Mrs. W received soft tissue injuries when their vehicle collided with the defendant’s vehicle in April of 2005. They immediately reported the accident to ICBC on the same day. Both the plaintiffs received chiropractic care and massage therapy through their ICBC Part 7 Benefits.
The ICBC adjuster assigned to their file attempted to resolve the file before leaving on maternity leave but was unable to do so. She indicated to them that if they wanted to settle their claim before she left, she would have to do so by the end of June, 2006. After she left two other adjusters left voicemails with the plaintiffs but were unsuccessful. The plaintiffs simply assumed they were waiting for compensation from the accident. When the plaintiffs were injured in a second accident almost 4 years later, they learned from the new adjuster that ICBC had closed their file and they would be receiving no compensation. They had missed the limitation period for their claim.
The plaintiffs began a court action for their injuries from the first accident although it was well passed the limitation period. The defendants appeared in court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim because it had been brought well after the 2 year limitation period. The plaintiffs argued that promissory estoppel applied in that the defendants were unable to rely on the limitation period because they had indicated to the plaintiff’s that the limitation periods would not be relied upon. The plaintiffs tried to argue that they relied on the ICBC adjuster who they claim made statements which indicated there was no applicable limitation periods.
Mr. Justice Gaul reviewed the facts and the law regarding promissory estoppel and found that although the adjuster had made comments to the effect that they were willing to settle at any time, the parties had not entered into negotiations and had only discussed with the adjuster the possibility of settlement at the time. The court further found that at no point did the plaintiffs rely on the assurances of the adjusters in not pursuing their claim.
The plaintiff’s claims for compensation for their injuries were dismissed.
To avoid a similar limitation period situation, it is important to speak to a lawyer about your case before dealing with ICBC. The goodfirm ICBC lawyers offer free consultations for anyone injured in a car accident