Deductions After an ICBC Trial

If a person with an ICBC claim goes to trial and is awarded damages, ICBC can apply to deduct from the judgment any no-fault benefits paid or payable in the future. The purpose of such deductions is to avoid double recovery ie. making sure the person does not receive more than what they are entitled to.

Deductions for past benefits aren’t usually contentious. For instance, if ICBC paid a person temporary total disability (TTDs) benefits before trial, the amount of those benefits will be deducted from the person’s past wage loss award without question. The same goes for treatment paid for by ICBC before trial. The plaintiff generally has no problem with such amounts being deducted from their award for out-of-pocket expenses.

The more contentious deductions are the ones ICBC wants to make for benefits they say they’ll pay in the future. For instance, ICBC may want a person’s future wage loss award reduced by the amount of TTDs they say they’ll pay the person in the future. They also may seek to deduct amounts from a cost of future care award on account of treatment benefits they say they’ll pay as and when the plaintiff accesses treatment. Regardless of the type of benefit at issue, because those benefits haven’t been paid yet and ICBC is notorious for not paying people the benefits to which they are entitled, applications for such deductions are commonly challenged by plaintiffs.

Any uncertainty as to whether a benefit will be paid must be resolved in favour of the plaintiff. Where benefits must be paid or ICBC unquestionably and irrevocably promises to pay those benefits in the future, the Court may be satisfied that the value of those benefits should be deducted. Specifically as regards future treatment benefits, if ICBC accepts the trier of fact’s findings and agrees that future treatment is necessary, waives the requirement for continued medical certification, and without question agrees to pay for that treatment, that should provide enough assurance to the plaintiff that such benefits will be available in the future.