Why Do I Have To Sue My Spouse In My ICBC Claim?


By Caterina (Cathy) Rizzo

Associate Lawyer

Imagine that you have been injured in a car accident, and after consulting with an ICBC car accident lawyer you learn that you will need to sue your spouse, family member or friend to get compensation for your personal injuries. That scenario does not sit well with many people, but it is the way that the ICBC claims process works. ICBC personal injury claims and lawsuits must be brought under the insurance policy of the at-fault driver, regardless of whether the driver who cause the accident is a relative of the injured person.

ICBC car accident lawyers on the basics of personal injury claims

If you have been injured in a car accident that was not your fault, the general rule is that you must start a court action within two years of the date of the accident in order to preserve your rights to bring a claim with regards to your injuries. The injured party who commences the court action is the plaintiff. The owner and driver of the negligently operated vehicle are named as defendants. The owner of the vehicle is vicariously responsible for the negligent conduct of the driver (unless the vehicle was stolen or driven without consent – this can raise some complex insurance coverage issues, so if that situation applies to your personal injury claim, contact one of our ICBC car accident lawyers for more information).

Bringing a lawsuit against a spouse, family member or friend

So, as a result of the way that automobile insurance coverage is structured in BC, you must pursue your claim for compensation under the insurance policy of the owner and driver of the at-fault vehicle. Because of this, it is very common for personal injury car accident claims to be brought against the injury victim’s relative or friend. For example, if you were a passenger in a vehicle driven by your spouse or child, and that person is responsible for the accident that caused your injuries (for example, because he or she was following too closely and rear-ended another vehicle, or because he or she was driving too fast for the weather conditions), then your claim must be brought against the ICBC insurance policy of your spouse or child.

Understanding who pays compensation when the ICBC claim is in relative’s name

As experienced ICBC car accident lawyers, we know that accident victims are often highly uncomfortable with the notion of having to sue their loved ones to get compensation for their personal injuries. However, it is important to understand that such lawsuits, while brought against the relative by name, are in reality claims under the applicable ICBC insurance policy. The relative is the “named insured” in the ICBC policy, which the relative bought and paid premiums for to cover claims for loss or damage that may be brought against them. The policy requires that the insurance company take financial responsibility for claims against the named insured, and so it is ICBC that pays compensation for loss or damage caused by the negligence or careless driving of the named insured. As a result, assuming that there are no insurance coverage issues, the spouse, friend or relative who is personally named in the lawsuit is not personally at risk.

Have questions? Contact an experienced ICBC car accident lawyer

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by your spouse, relative or friend, do not shy away from claiming compensation due to the formalities of automobile insurance in BC. Contact Simpson Thomas & Associates on 604 689 8888 to book a free initial consultation with one of our team of ICBC car accident lawyers.


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