CASE LAW - Hamman v ICBC

BC Courts Coat of ArmsDo you have $212,000.00 in spare disposable income? Ryan Hamman rear ended a vehicle that was stopped on Highway 1 near 176 Street in Surrey, B.C. That vehicle was driven forward into the vehicle in front of it and the driver of the first vehicle was injured. ICBC denied coverage because Mr. Hamman was impaired by alcohol at the time of the collision. Litigation ensued with the final outcome being damages against Mr. Hamman and in favour of ICBC amounting to $212,000.00.



Inconsistent lying doesn't fly

Well Mr. Hamman doesn't sound like the brightest individual.

He had to know that he was really impaired. When ICBC denied the claim he obviously thought he could lie his way out of the problem.

But if you're going to try that route, the least you can do is decide on a plausible story, research it, memorise it and check for holes. Telling the truth is a lot easier, isn't it?

I can only assume that this guy thought that a court fight was a last ditch attempt.  But it turned out to be a waste of everyone's time.

Perhaps the true tragedy is that our young people have no idea that booze and drugs can easily result in a lifetime of destitution.

As I have commented on so many times....

In this and other forums, we have drivers asking questions regarding getting tickets. ie  "Can I get a ticket if I keep driving with my Alberta license plates after I've lived and worked in BC over 30 days ?"

The answer yes you can get a ticket, maybe if you happen to get pulled over, if the police officer has the presents of mind to ask some questions if you answer the questions in a way that indicates you should have obtained BC plates....... (for example)

BUT what they are forgetting in these scenarios is that getting a traffic ticket is NOTHING compared to being in breach of insurance if while driving contrary to the rules.  If it voids or proves their insurance is not valid, it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Who do you think is going to do a more in depth investigation, a traffic cop at the side of the road, or an insurance adjuster and perhaps insurance fraud investigator who's insurance company is at risk of paying out tens of thousands of dollars ?

There are three types of breaches of rules and regulations that pertain to the use, operation and registering of a motor vehicle :

  • The driver is at risk for a ticket/charge
  • The driver at risk of breaching their insurance
  • The driver is at risk of both.

The average driver and even the average police officer, mostly only consider, and/or are aware of the first.  Ironically if the infraction involves a huge financial cost/loss the latter two are the REAL expensive ones.

Of course the normal non-criminal driving violations do not breach insurance coverage.  You disobey a stop sign and hit another car, your insurance is valid, you're at fault, but your insurance is valid. 

"Minor" MVA violations such as not registering your vehicle within 30 days of settling in BC, aren't so minor if the violation is coupled with an insurance claim.

The actions in the featured case, a breach of criminal law while driving, of course is a breach of insurance coverage, both one's "own damage" (paying for the charged driver's vehicle) and their "third party liability" (all the losses incured by others, vehicles, property and people).

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