BC Courts Coat of ArmsThe case of Clark v ICBC involves a single vehicle collision on Marble Lake Road between the Ashton Creek Store and the Cooke Creeke Campground. Christopher Clark was driving a Jeep Patriot eastbound from the store when he met a pickup that strayed over the yellow centerline of the highway into his lane. Mr. Clark's actions to avoid a collision resulted in his loss of control of the Patriot which ultimately entered the ditch and rolled over.

Mr. Clark suffered multiple fractured ribs, a pulmonary effusion, soft tissue injury to his upper back and a strain to his right arm. For the most part his injuries have healed however he continues to suffer from intermittent back pain.

At trial, ICBC disputed the existence of the oncoming pickup and submitted that Mr. Clark’s driving and the condition of the roadway were the causes of the crash. In addition, ICBC argued that even if there was another vehicle involved, the evidence presented by Mr. Clark is insufficient to prove that it caused or contributed to the accident.

The issue to be decided by Mr. Justice Gaul was whether Mr. Clark fulfilled the requirements of section 24(5) of the Insurance (Vehicle) Act:

Remedy for damage in hit and run accident

24 (5) In an action against the corporation as nominal defendant, a judgment against the corporation must not be given unless the court is satisfied that

(a) all reasonable efforts have been made by the parties to ascertain the identity of the unknown owner and driver or unknown driver, as the case may be, and

(b) the identity of those persons or that person, as the case may be, is not ascertainable.

The Justice found that Mr. Clark's evidence concerning the unidentified pickup truck was not credible or reliable. He decided the following:


[52] Adopting the words of Taylor J.A. in Leggett, I am not convinced that Mr. Clark pursued the investigation to identify the owner and driver of the Second Vehicle as “resolutely and resourcefully” as he ought to have. The few and unsustained investigatory steps that Mr. Clark took do not, in my opinion, satisfy the reasonableness threshold required by s. 24(5) of the Act. Moreover, given the additional steps Mr. Clark could have, and should have, taken to gather information relating to the Second Vehicle, I am not persuaded that the identity of the driver or owner of that vehicle was unascertainable.

[53] Given that Mr. Clark has not met the statutory requirements of s. 24(5) of the Act, I have concluded that his claim against ICBC must fail.

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