ICBC found liable for Surrey hit-and-run crash

Judge found the driver whose vehicle was struck did everything reasonable to find the culprit

The Insurance Corporation of B.C. is on the hook for damages caused by a Surrey hit-and-run traffic crash after a judge decided Jaspal Ghuman, the driver whose vehicle was struck, did everything he reasonably could to identify the culprit.

“In the end, Mr. Ghuman is not to be held to the standard of perfection,” Justice Sheri Ann Donegan said in her reasons for judgment delivered Jan. 2. “He was proactive from the outset. That he was unsuccessful is of no consequence.”

ICBC tried to have his case, which was heard in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, dismissed.

The crash happened in west Newton on Nov. 14, 2014

Ghuman, 37, was unable to find out the identify of the offending driver and owner of the vehicle that hit his black Chevrolet Cobalt at the Strawberry Hill commercial complex, near the corner of 120th Street and 72nd Avenue.

He and his wife had been doing some banking at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in the complex, after arriving in separate cars. He was leaving the parking lot in his car, the court heard, when he was struck by a black or otherwise dark-coloured SUV he believes was a 1990s Chevrolet Jimmy. It reversed into him, with a “bang” and screeching tires, while he was waiting for a light to change, and then sped away.

READ ALSO: ICBC posts net loss of $582 million

READ ALSO: ICBC’s interim 6.3% rate hike approved

READ ALSO: Gordon Wilson $5M libel lawsuit against Surrey MLA, premier to be heard in April 2020

READ ALSO: Peace bond hearing withdrawn for B.C. couple cleared in legislature bomb plot

READ ALSO: Proposed coal project for Fraser Surrey Docks back in court

The court heard Ghuman was confused, as this all happened very quickly, and that he couldn’t find witnesses. He drove home and reported the hit-and-run to police the next day, providing a general description of the SUV but he did not get a licence plate number. Ghuman also reported the crash to ICBC the next day and submitted a form claim four days later. Within a week of the crash, he posted flyers in the area, seeking witnesses but got no bites. In December 2014 he hired a lawyer, who arranged for more signs seeking witnesses to be posted and an ad in the Surrey-North Delta Leader, which ran for a week, but still no witnesses came forward.

Ghuman argued at court that he’d done his due diligence and ICBC should compensate him for the damage to his car. But ICBC submitted he failed to canvass for any witnesses at the scene, failed to call police from the scene or at least on the same day it happened, and that he didn’t seek out video surveillance footage from local businesses.

“I am satisfied this is not a case where there is a risk of fraud,” Donegan decided. “In the absence of such a risk, the test for ‘all reasonable efforts’ should not be made so exacting that it cannot be met by a plaintiff.”

The judge added that in the “particular circumstances” of this case, it was reasonable for Ghuman to have called police the day after the crash.

“Mr. Ghuman reasonably believed that because he was unable to obtain the licence plate or specific details of the SUV’s make and model and had no information to provide about any potential witnesses, that it was unlikely that Surrey RCMP would take any steps to investigate this low impact hit-and-run collision,” she said.

“It is highly unlikely that calling police at the scene or later that evening would have produced any results,” Donegan said.

“I find the plaintiff has met the onus upon him to establish that he made all reasonable efforts to ascertain the identity of the SUV’s owner and driver,” she said, “and that the identity of the unknown owner and driver of the SUV is not ascertainable. Accordingly, ICBC is appropriately named as the nominal defendant to this action and liability is found against ICBC.”



tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram  and follow Tom on Twitter

Just Posted

Surrey public event to explore transition from RCMP to city police force

Surrey Board of Trade continuing its ‘Hot Topic Dialogue Series’ with this issue, on Tuesday Jan. 29

Surrey’s new Age-Well hub receives $3.5M in government funding

Hub is meant to drive development of healthy tech solutions to support healthy aging: SFU

Dancer gives props to Surrey school program for allowing him to leap to world stage

North Surrey grad Bynh Ho in ‘Loop, Lull’ show at Vancouver’s PuSh festival

KidSport’s Nite of Champions to honour championship Coastal FC squad

Annual South Surrey event will feature Vancouver Canucks coach Travis Green as keynote speaker

LISTEN: First responders share struggles with adversity in new Delta Police podcast

Bend Don’t Break allows police, firefighters and paramedics an opportunity so tell their stories

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Olympian snowboarder Max Parrot diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Each year in Canada, approximately 900 people are diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery accused of sexual assault, harassment

Emery denied the allegations, but a Toronto woman says she is not the only one speaking out

Vancouver Island photographer makes National Geographic’s 2018 elite

Rare double honour for Marston from the 36 best Your Shots out of nearly 19,000 photos

Ex-Liberal candidate in Burnaby, B.C., says volunteer wrote controversial post

Karen Wang dropped out following online post singling out NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh’s ethnicity

Asteroids are smacking Earth twice as often as before

The team counted 29 craters that were no older than 290 million years

Canada’s arrest of Huawei exec an act of ‘backstabbing,’ Chinese ambassador says

China has called Canada’s arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou ‘politically motivated’

Manure company causing ‘toxic’ stink at Abbotsford school seeks permit

Property across from King Traditional Elementary cannot operate manure facility without permit

North Delta happening: week of Jan. 17

Events, courses and clubs listings for North Delta

Most Read