ICBC’s Low Velocity Impact Policy has been previously discussed in the December 8, 2012 article on the Einfeld Law Blog, which can be viewed here. The Low Velocity Impact Policy is based upon the belief that an injury cannot occur in a minor motor vehicle accident. Despite the fact this conclusion has been rejected by the medical literature, the engineering science, and the courts, ICBC continues to raise this defence to try to deny legitimate injury claims.
One way ICBC raises this defence at trial is by trying to put pictures of the damage to the cars involved in the accident in front of a jury in an attempt to discredit the claimant or minimize the injury. The problem with this is that the damage to a car in a low velocity impact has little connection to the force an occupant of the car is subjected to as a result of the collision. It is that force which can cause injury, and the damage to the car is just that: damage to the car.
In Sloane v. Hill, 2008 BCSC 1931, Mr. Justice Grist excluded such pictures from the trial evidence on that basis, stating at paragraph 20:
… the no, or as here, minimal damage philosophy of the insurer has no application in court. The only purpose in leaving the evidence with the jury would be to have them speculate on matters often counterintuitive.
In other words, while it may be counterintuitive that an occupant of a car can be injured in circumstances where there is minimal or no noticeable damage to the car, it is nonetheless true.
There is no rule of law or legal principle that a victim of a low velocity impact does not suffer an injury compensable in law. In each case, it is a question of fact.
The law is clear however, that ICBC’s Low Velocity Impact Policy is not a legal principle, nor is it a valid legal defence.
We have all heard the adage a picture is worth a thousand words. While pictures can be of great assistance to the court in a lawsuit, that is not necessarily true in a case involving a Low Velocity Impact Policy defence.
Sometimes, a picture is just a picture.
Einfeld Law is a highly knowledgeable and experienced BC personal injury law firm specializing in motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other negligence claims involving bodily injury. We have successfully litigated many ICBC and other insurance claims, including out of province, wrongful death, brain injury, spinal cord injury, whiplash, soft tissue injury, and all other bodily injury claims. We have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. We never act for ICBC or other insurance companies.