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ICBC diagram didn't help driver dodge blame in Burnaby crash

A Burnaby woman's attempt to sue ICBC for $5,000 over its handling of a 2019 crash has been dismissed by the province's Civil Resolution Tribunal.
An ICBC diagram shows a scenario in which car A is 100 per cent at fault for an intersection collision. A Civil Resolution Tribunal ruling this week noted that's only true if car B isn't "otherwise negligent."

If you are banking on ICBC diagrams to prove you weren’t at fault in a crash, think again.

A Civil Resolution Tribunal decision this week about a Burnaby crash concluded ICBC may have “general guidelines” about assigning blame in certain scenarios, but “accident-specific details and context matter.”

Alice Li was involved in a crash on Dec. 30, 2019 at the intersection of Carleton Avenue and Forest Street, according to a tribunal ruling Tuesday.

Li was driving north on Carleton and made a left turn onto Forest, according to the ruling.

Another driver, Jordan Ma, was going east on Forest but failed to come to a complete stop at a stop sign at Carleton before turning right.

The vehicles collided in the intersection.

ICBC originally assigned 100 per cent of the blame to Ma because he had blown the stop sign and Li didn’t have a stop or yield sign, according to the ruling.

Later, however, ICBC assigned Li 25 per cent of the blame.

Ma then went to the tribunal and argued Li should be found 100 per cent responsible – and the tribunal ruled both parties were 50 per cent liable. 

ICBC had represented Li during that case, and she launched another tribunal dispute alleging the insurance corporation’s initial investigation had been unfair and its representation at the tribunal had been negligent.

She claimed $5,000 for partial refunds of past and future insurance premiums and aggravated and punitive damages.

“While Dr. Li says her claim far exceeds $5,000, she expressly abandons her claim to any amount over $5,000 to bring it within the CRT’s small claims monetary limit,” state the ruling.

As part of her evidence, Li submitted a screenshot from the ICBC website that shows a diagram of an accident where one vehicle is turning left and another vehicle leaves a stop sign and collides with the left-turning vehicle in the intersection.

In that example, the website says the vehicle leaving the stop sign is 100 per cent liable.

In Tuesday’s tribunal ruling, however, member Kristin Gardner said the example in the diagram assumes the driver with the right of way was “not otherwise negligent.”

And dashcam video from Li’s vehicle showed she cut the corner on her left turn, while photos showed her vehicle almost entirely in Ma’s lane at the time of impact, according to the ruling.

ICBC argued it had found Ma 100 per cent responsible for the crash before it had received any statements, photos or dashcam footage.

“While ICBC may have general guidelines about attributing fault in certain scenarios, I disagree with Dr. Li’s suggestion that ICBC should be unable to adjust the default liability assessment when provided with additional information,” Gardner said.

She dismissed Li’s claims and dispute.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor
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