B.C. man says ICBC tried to ‘bully’ him after assigning 50/50 responsibility in rear-ender

Click to play video: 'Driver takes on ICBC over 50/50 fault decision'
Driver takes on ICBC over 50/50 fault decision
WATCH: Driver takes on ICBC over 50/50 fault decision – May 29, 2019

The damage to Willis Clarke’s Toyota Tacoma is significant.

The rear bumper is pushed in and the rear left panel has a manhole-sized dent. It could easily be tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

The Sechelt man says all of it was caused when a cabbie driving on Highway 1 ploughed into him when he had to slow down.

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It was the tail end of rush hour and Clarke noticed the taxi weaving in and out of traffic.

“It looked as if he was trying to get into the HOV lane. We were doing about 60 kilometres an hour when I suddenly had to jam on the brakes because the people in front of me slowed down. The cab hit my truck from behind,” Clarke told Global News.

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WATCH: ICBC documents containing personal information abandoned in Burnaby

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ICBC documents containing personal information abandoned in Burnaby

The two drivers exchanged information and left the scene, with Clarke assuming it would be 100 per cent the cab driver’s fault.

But when the adjuster called a couple of weeks later, Clarke was stunned to learn ICBC had assigned the blame 50/50 saying there was no clear evidence of what happened.

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Clarke was given the right to appeal the decision. He decided to take it one step further, hiring a private forensic engineer to look at the damage.

The engineer found clear evidence the cab driver had caused the collision. But ICBC still didn’t seem like it was going to change its mind about who was at fault.

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Engineer Craig Luker said it was fortunate that Clarke did not repair his vehicle before having it independently appraised.

“I would like to see any insurance company do a better job of documenting the damage, do a better job of capturing the evidence that’s available,” Luker said.

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“So that means taking higher quality photographs and ensuring vehicles aren’t disposed of before I get a chance to look at them. Whatever can be done to improve data collection I think is a good thing.”

Several weeks later, ICBC did agree to look at the report and compensate Clarke if it proved what he claimed. ICBC sent Global News a statement saying that in 95 per cent of all accidents one driver is given all the blame.

“Sometimes disagreements happen about responsibility decisions and this is a normal part of the claims process. Because ICBC is never present at the time of the crash, we rely on evidence and other information submitted,” said the insurer.

“This can be especially difficult when the statements about what happened are in conflict – both are sure the other driver is at-fault – and the physical evidence could support either version.”

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In this case, the evidence did allow the adjusters to change the assignment of blame, it said.

Now Clarke can get his truck repaired and he won’t be out of pocket any money. But he is still upset at the treatment he received from the public insurer.

“I want other drivers to know about this case and warn people not to let ICBC bully them around,” says Clarke.

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