ICBC Ruled Against Me

Today I received the verdict from ICBC regarding an incident that happened almost a month ago - I am 100% at fault. I was wondering what people think about my case, and what (if anything) I should do.

Location: a small quiet street in a "business district". I needed to turn around, and there was pretty much no traffic, so I made a left turn as a part of a 3-point turn. I was not aware at the time that this was illegal. But I do believe that I started my turn before the other car was in reverse, for what it's worth.

When I stopped at the curb (perpendicular to it), I saw that the other driver was reversing her car to park - well - where I was at the moment. So I honked, to make sure that she could see me. The car stopped briefly, which led me to believe that she saw me, but then proceeded with her parking job. That's when I started honking non-stop, watching the other car creep closer and closer to me, unable to believe that the driver wasn't aware of me standing there. She did drive into me and there was some minor damage to both cars.

At the time, I was very confident that she was in the wrong, because she reversed into me when I was just standing there. There was a witness, but I didn't even bother getting their contact info. Big mistake!

Today I was told that because I was making an illegal turn, the other vehicle had the right of way ("dominant") and I was the "servient" vehicle. Unless I can prove that the "dominant" vehicle was doing something wrong that contributed to the crash. My uneducated take on it is that driving into another vehicle is wrong, unless you had no time to stop. But you have to at least try to stop. It's important to re-iterate that it's not like I snuck up behind her while she was reversing, no - there was LOTS of time. I was standing there for at least 4 good seconds (seemed like a whole minute to me) and she should have seen me. She didn't see me (or hear me) because she wasn't looking. She was probably only looking into the right-side mirror, not the other two where she would see me for sure. In my opinion, this is dangerous driving - you can't just assume that there is nothing behind you. There could have been a child standing where my car was, and that child could be killed.

Anyway, I don't have a way to prove that she was negligent. I had my wife in the car with me, but she's not an impartial witness.

Is there anything that I can do?

vlad

Where did this happen ?

Interesting situation and lots of opinions.  What do they say ?  Opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one ?

There is one simple fact missing from this story, and it does factor into the situation.

Where did this occur ?  Vancouver ?  Kelowna ? Prince George ?

So, you say "what does that matter, they are all in the province of BC and the Motor Vehicle Act of BC applies to all places in BC".

Yes, it does, but you will note that in the section pertaining to U-Turns, or "Reverse Turns", the Motor Vehicle Act that "CompetentDrivingBC" has kindly supplied us with states: "Except as provided by the bylaws of a municipality..."

Depending on the municipality the act of a U-Turn is further restricted by municipal by-laws.  Something a civil court (and thus ICBC) would have to take into account.

For example, in the City of Vancouver, in addition to the restrictions set out in the MVA, it is illegal to execute a U-turn :

  • - On any through street
  • - In any intersection with a stop sign or traffic control device
  • - If the movement can't be made without backing and without interfering with other traffic
  • - On a street between initersection streets
  • - At a lane intersections

So, for example, if this U-Turn you made was in Vancouver, you broke the law with respect to :

  • - Business District (MVA of BC)
  • - Through street (Vancr B/L 2849)
  • - Not in one movement (Vancr B/L 2849)
  • - Between intersections (Vancr B/L 2849)
  • - Affecting Traffic... ie the "traffic" hit you  (Vancr B/L 2849)

However not all municipalities have the same rules.

Now you say "there was pretty much no traffic", well..... except for the vehicle that was apparently stopped on the roadway, likely adjacent to your vehicle (facing the opposite direction, waiting to parallel park) before you tried to make the illegal U-Turn.

You go on to say that "...I don't believe that I started my turn before the other car was in reverse".

BUT, the other car was there ?  On the roadway, stopped ???  So it was part of the "pretty much no traffic" ???

And... we're lead to believe you did see this vehicle, because you tell us that you don't think it had "started to back up yet".

What hasn't been mentioned is that there is some onus on the other driver.  Just because another vehicle violated the law (you), it doesn't give the reversing vehicle, caret blanche to hit it.

Section 193 of the MVA describes the responsibility that the driver of a reversing vehicle has :

Caution in backing a vehicle

193 The driver of a vehicle must not cause the vehicle to move backwards into an intersection or over a crosswalk, and must not in any event or at any place cause a vehicle to move backwards unless the movement can be made in safety.

Instead of your vehicle being behind this vehicle, maybe a child or an elderly person was standing out on the roadway behind the vehicle, waiting to cross.  The driver had a responsibility to make sure there backing motion could be "made in safety".

I think if you pressed the point with ICBC you may get a 75/25 liability split (your's being 75%), which wouldn't help you at all.

Would it have been so hard and time consuming to have gone around the block ?

I suspect you likely saw the parking spot and were intending on getting to it before another vehicle.  But that's just my guess.

 

Thank you for the

Thank you for the information! I have contacted ICBC with a request to appeal, based on the section from the Motor Vehicle Act that you referenced.

To answer your questions: it happened in Kelowna. And yes I didn't say "zero traffic" because there was that one car ;)

I honestly needed to flip around. My car is small, with a small turning radius, so I make U-turns/3-point-turns all the time. Well, not anymore... But yes driving around the block would not be a huge deal.

So here's a quote from

So here's a quote from ICBC:

Your vehicle being the servient vehicle we are unable to provide this other party failed to maintain a proper lookout.

I'm thinking that's auto-correct, and the real message is this:

Your vehicle being the servient vehicle we are unable to prove the other party failed to maintain a proper lookout.

That's that... I wish I talked to that one witness.

Answer

As always, there is the Lawyer Referral service.

There is also information on the Claims Assessment Review on ICBC's web site along with information on what you may do if you don't agree with their decision.

The blame seems reasonable, from what you've told us.

Presumably, this was under Section 168 of the Motor Vehicle Act 'Reverse Turn'.

And, incidentally, this topic has come up on this website, here.

So whether you were in a business district or not, it seems that you deliberately drove into the path of a vehicle that was about to reverse into a parking space ... so why would this not be your fault?

As for the horn honking, maybe she was deaf, or wearing earbuds, or something. Seems unlikely she would have deliberately backed into you, as it probably caused damage to her car.

 

 

Hello, in my defense, I did

Hello, in my defense, I did not deliberately drive into the path of the other vehicle. I am also confident that she was not in reverse yet, therefore I had no way of knowing that she was about to back into that spot.

Also, I had a conversation with her after and she is certainly not deaf.

Now I'm replying to myself, hopefully won't start to argue ...

For the OP, I also wondered about this:

 I was standing there for at least 4 good seconds (seemed like a whole minute to me)

For what reason were you standing there, for however long? I picture your vehicle somewhat perpendicular to the curb, about to reverse to your right as the second part of the three point turn.

Seems to me that executing the second part of that maneuver would have gotten you away from the vehicle that backed into you - so why stand there at all?

 

Why wait and honk?

Seems to me that executing the second part of that maneuver would have gotten you away from the vehicle that backed into you - so why stand there at all?
I agree with the above - it seems to me you were focused on the possible problem of the car backing into you instead of being focused on the solution of maybe I should continue my three point turn and get out of the way before it happens.

In hindsight - yes, that is

In hindsight - yes, that is exactly what I should have done. She was reversing so slowly, that I would have plenty of time to get out of the way.

But how could I know that at the time? My primary concern was making sure that the other driver knows about my presense. I do believe that the best way to avoid a collision is to have everybody stop first and sort it out after. Don't you? Rather than roll the dice and hope that I get out of the way just in time.

The greater point, however, is that the other driver didn't see me. Does that not bother anybody??

I do believe that the best

I do believe that the best way to avoid a collision is to have everybody stop first and sort it out after. Don't you?

No, the best way to avoid a collision is to not collide - sometimes that means actively taking your vehicle out of the path of travel of another. Bonus points if you can make it look like nothing out of the ordinary has happened.

I've had a driver pull a left turn in-front of me - like I'm not even there - well I did a counter left-turn, to everyone else it looked like we were both planning to turn left, although my signal came a little late ;). Another time I've had a driver switch right into my lane on the highway - I went on the shoulder, driving like nothing had happened - when the driver noticed me right there beside them 2 seconds after switching into what would have been me - they got pretty embarrassed. Another time I've had a parked car pull out in-front of me - no shoulder-check - I just switched lanes as if I was planning to do it all along, and no one knew that anything was wrong - not even the guy who pulled out.

When doing something irregular, like being perpendicular on a road - the best thing to do it to bring your vehicle to "regularity" asap.

From what you describe - you made a u-turn into a position that would ordinarily not be taken up by a following vehicle. When someone is about to parallel park - the courteous thing to do is to stop allowing them sufficient space to back-up and wait until they are so-far in as to allow you to pass them with-out crossing into the on-coming lane. And if there isn't a sufficient space, the alternative would is to pass them in the on-coming lane (provided that its safe). What it sounds like you did was place yourself and another driver in a mutual lock-up: you couldn't back up - that would take you into the on-coming lane and the other driver would have to "give up" their spot in-order to resolve the situation amicably. I think you should have waited for a better opportunity before making a u-turn, or kept moving instead of riding up to a vehicle that was just about to park.

If you do everything right, no one will know you did anything at all.

"the best way to avoid a

"the best way to avoid a collision is to not collide"

Really?

Anyway, I really want to see constructive feedback here. ICBC have explained to me that the reason I was at fault is NOT because I didn't get out of the way quickly enough. Rather it was because the other vehicle had the right of way, specifically because my 3-point turn was illegal on that street. If the identical incident happened on another street, where u-turns are allowed, then she would be at fault.

Moreover, if I had an impartial witness to confirm the fact that the other driver was negligent (she didn't see me), again the verdict would be different.

Constructive feedback?

Hi again, I'm sure your realize that all of the information you've provided is your own version of events, perhaps even your own conclusions about what the other driver did - or didn't - do (or should have done).

Anyway, I really want to see constructive feedback here. ICBC have explained to me that the reason I was at fault is NOT because I didn't get out of the way quickly enough. Rather it was because the other vehicle had the right of way, specifically because my 3-point turn was illegal on that street. If the identical incident happened on another street, where u-turns are allowed, then she would be at fault

For what it's worth, and I hope this helps, this is my viewpoint.

First off, who is this ICBC you're referring to. I'm not trying to be clever, here - do you have something in writing from them, explaining their judgment on the situation? Or is this your interpretation of what one of their employees told you, perhaps?

Second off, NOBODY ever 'has the right of way' under law, no matter how often somebody may say this, or use the term. Read the Motor Vehicle Act & Regulations, and you don't have to be a genius, or a lawyer or whatever to realize that this is so. (That said, there are numerous rules, under law, where road users should give the right of way to other road users.)

The driver who reversed into their vehicle did not have the 'right' to do this, any more than you had the 'right' to put your vehicle behind her vehicle.

But I think we can assume she had elected to parallel park into that space, due to the fact that it was in fact a space, when she pulled up adjacent to the parked vehicle in front of that space.

I don't accept your supposition that if this crash had occurred elsewhere (given the other information you have provided) the fault would suddenly have been the other driver's, rather than your own.

168  Except as provided by the bylaws of a municipality or the laws of a treaty first nation, a driver must not turn a vehicle so as to proceed in the opposite direction

(a) unless the driver can do so without interfering with other traffic.

When all is said and done, it seems apparent that the other driver would have safely accomplished her maneuver - in any district - if you hadn't suddenly stuck your vehicle into that space behind her vehicle, which was also 'traffic' on the road, if you think about it.

You have asserted, in this Thread - without any evidence other than your own hearsay - that this other driver didn't look where she was going. You have claimed that she hadn't engaged reverse gear prior to your zipping into the space behind her vehicle (heaven knows why you thought she had stopped in that position) and advised us that you honked your horn when you discovered that she was making her next logical move, in the direction of the parking spot. You have claimed that she didn't see you - this I believe, because obviously she would have stopped in order to prevent a collision.

An independent witness wouldn't be able to prove whether or not she didn't see you, or where she was looking. Nor would they be able to advise us on what she saw, or didn't see - or hear, due to your horn honking.

It's my guess that in the future, that other driver will pay more visual attention to the area behind her vehicle prior to reversing.

Likewise, I optimistically hope that the next time you decide to suddenly change direction on the roadway, you'll give it sufficient thought before attempting your maneuver, given the prevailing traffic conditions. This might prevent an unfortunate accident in the future.

 

who is this ICBC you're

who is this ICBC you're referring to

Well yes of course, they explained in an email, here's a quote: "you are not able to make a reverse turn (u-turn) in a business district, therefore we must find your policy 100% responsible for this collision". After I challenged that verdict, they further explained about the other vehicle having the right of way: "the other motorist has the right of way over a vehicle making an illegal u-turn". Also about how the onus is on me to prove that she was negligent.

Perhaps you're right and I still would be at least partially at fault, due to the clause about interfering with other traffic. But you have to admit that it would be a weaker case against me.

I find it interesting that you agree that the other driver didn't see me, yet you don't agree that she wasn't looking where she was going.

"it seems apparent that the other driver would have safely accomplished her maneuver"

You're using the word "safely", yet you agree that she didn't see me - is that really safe? What I did was safe, even if illegal and disruptive to the other traffic. Safe in a sense that nobody was going to get hurt due to my actions, no matter what happened. Whereas she could have killed a toddler if one happened to be behind her.

And the witness would testify that there was plenty of time for the other driver to avoid the collision, which would strengthen my case that she was negligent.

You're right that I will be more careful about turning my car around, now that I know that someone could t-bone me and it would still be my fault. Will the other driver be more careful when reversing? I'm not sure, I mean she got away unscathed - there was no punishment for her negligence. I have learned a lesson from all this, but has she? Hopefully!

Thanks for your thorough reply!

I find it interesting that you agree that the other driver didn't see me, yet you don't agree that she wasn't looking where she was going.

Well, it's hard to know where she was looking (though it obviously wasn't at you, he said with a note of irony); but a lot of drivers (and I'm not saying this is the right thing to do, necessarily) will use the right hand mirror at least to commence a parallel park. Heck, some cars automatically angle that mirror downward when reverse gear is engaged, to assist in seeing where the curb is.

When it comes to the potential toddler scenario, this is the sort of risk that I find myself having to deal with - and teach about - all the time; my own vehicle is an extended wheebase Ford E-350 14 passenger bus and I use it for Class 4 training as well as transportation. Can't see a damn thing behind that vehicle. Plus, much of my time is spent teaching on, or driving, larger (24 passenger size) buses; you can see even less behind one of those suckers! I was delighted recently when training on a brand new bus for a brand new senior's residence to find that they had ordered it with a backup camera - should be mandatory in that type of vehicle, in my opinion.

Well yes of course, they explained in an email, here's a quote: "you are not able to make a reverse turn (u-turn) in a business district, therefore we must find your policy 100% responsible for this collision". After I challenged that verdict, they further explained about the other vehicle having the right of way: "the other motorist has the right of way over a vehicle making an illegal u-turn". Also about how the onus is on me to prove that she was negligent.

Perhaps you're right and I still would be at least partially at fault, due to the clause about interfering with other traffic. But you have to admit that it would be a weaker case against me.

Well, my best guess is that you could hire a lawyer, and you could get the verdict altered. Frankly, I'm surprised that ICBC didn't call this one a 75/25 decision, though still holding you predominantly responsible.

But - and again, it's my best guess - I think the best you could hope for after all the trouble and expense would be to get the assignment of fault down to 50/50 and this wouldn't make any sort of substantive difference to your situation, it would merely have a negative influence on the other driver's insurance status. You would have to achieve a decision from a judge of 25% (or less) blame against you in order to be ahead of the game, and how likely is that to happen?

One of the subjects that I've always taught every driver that I've trained is how to deal with a 'Reverse Turn' scenario; the necessity to be going the other way than where you're headed. Every time a vehicle is put in reverse, the risk factor skyrockets. (Do you know what Translink's rule is for drivers regarding backing up? DON'T!!!) So a U-turn is a good choice if it can be made safely, or making three right turns and a left, or three left turns and a right. If a driver decides to use reverse as part of the maneuver, then choosing to reverse into a driveway or laneway (a.k.a. a 2-point turn) on the right, then turning left from that position once traffic has cleared is way safer than a 3-point turn, far less likely to put you into a conflict with other traffic. And if the only choice is a 3-point turn, then mid-block in a quiet residential area with excellent visibility ahead and behind is the only way to do it.

All of this said, what happened to you is in fact pretty weird and unusual, so you do have my sympathy - for whatever that's worth!

 

Well thank you for that, it's

Well thank you for that, it's worth a lot to me - to see other people express support. I am thinking about talking to a lawyer, but still not sure if I want the trouble. I wonder what the hit is going to be on my insurance rate due to this.

Was there really no punishment?

Well gee, let me see, what would I rather do today - go to work, make a paycheck, go home eat dinner, watch TV or
Find a repair shop, see if they have a loaner, go to rental agency, rent a car, not go to work, not make paycheck, eat fast food, come back home late and fall asleep worried that my resale value will suffer and how embarrassed I'd be in-front of the next buyer explaining how this $4k damage claim is only a result of a guy who u-turned into me while I was carefully parallel parking my car, and that everything was repaired well and its better than new - then taking off $2k from the sale price just so that the buyer doesn't walk away. I know some people are gluttons for punishment, but I highly disagree that anyone who is involved in a car crash walks away unscathed or unpunished.

Constructive feedback starts at the source, now that you've spoken to ICBC and probably have made a sworn/affirmed statement (affidavit), the only constructivism is forward-thinking:

- Don't do illegal maneuvers
- Don't come too close to other vehicles
- Don't trust other people to see you

And probably a good idea to never talk to ICBC before you talk to a lawyer. Who knows what else you've admitted to them, but I know with a high degree of certainty that they almost never  exonerate a reversing driver - going in-reverse switches all onuses onto the reversing driver, so unless you turned and positioned your vehicles directly in the path necessary to complete the parallel parking maneuver - you would've been all clear. A standing vehicle getting hit by a reversing one is almost never at fault.

You could try to approach ICBC to correct your statement and try to distance the illegal u-turn as something completely separate it from the incident: i.e. the u-turn happened 100 meters away from the other vehicle, and then you drove 80 meters and because you weren't clear what the other driver was doing, maybe they didn't signal their intentions, so you stopped close behind them because they were obstructing traffic and they started reversing into you.

Were you parallel or perpendicular to the street/lines/flow of traffic when the hit occurred?

Google Ads