Dainya Watson is relieved that her three-year battle with the Insurance Corporation of B.C. is over.
“I got the phone call and I burst into tears,” said Watson, describing her reaction after she learned that a jury had ruled in her favour.
“I sat down and cried for about 15 minutes… it was like the world had kind of lifted off my shoulders.”
After three days of deliberations in B.C. Supreme Court, a jury awarded the 26-year-old single mother more than $216,000 in damages for a hit-and-run that occurred while she was riding a horse, an accident ICBC maintains never happened.
The veteran rider said she suffered permanent nerve damage after she and her horse, Tornado, were sideswiped by a van and knocked over in 2013.
Watson is still unable to ride a horse. She receives 50 injections every three weeks to cope with the pain.
Her lawyer, Eric Goodman, said all drivers should pay attention to her case.
“I think they should care because, you know, it could happen to them,” he said.
Goodman said ICBC is not working fairly for the public and the insurance corporation’s current media blitz, which says 20 per cent of claims are a scam, can’t be accurate. In his opinion, the number of fake claims is closer to 2 per cent.
“These people who are advancing fraudulent claims, they should be exposed and they should be publicly shamed,” he said. “But you need to have a reasonable basis to claim that somebody is lying.”
ICBC declined an interview request from Global News. In a statement, spokesperson Adam Grossman said, “ICBC has a duty — a statutory obligation — to defend its customers from action taken against them.”
Was the lengthy battle with the insurance corporation worth it? Absolutely, said Watson.
“You can win. You can fight ICBC. Tell the truth — just don’t give up.”
– With files from Rumina Daya