Filing inconsistent pleadings is an “abuse of process”.

On August 31, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court criticized a long-standing ICBC tactic and declared a mistrial. Madam Justice Gropper found that is is an abuse of process for a defendant sued by multiple parties from a single motor vehicle accident to admit liability in one lawsuit but deny in the other “where there are no facts to distinguish the two”. In Glover v. Leakey, 2016 BCSC 1624, the defendant was involved in an accident which injured two passengers. One passenger sued, liability was admitted by ICBC, and the case settled. The second passenger sued and liability was denied....

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Insurer’s claims handling to stand trial.

On August 31, 2016, an Ontario judge ordered that a law suit against an insurance company, based on alleged mishandling of the insured’s mother’s accident benefit claim, is allowed to proceed. The judge found that it was not “plain and obvious” that the law suit was certain to fail. In Watkins v. Western Assurance Co., 2016 ONSC 2574,  the insured’s mother was involved in a car accident when the insured was 15 years old. The insured was not present at the accident. The insured’s first law suit claimed damages arising out of the insurance company’s handling of his...

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The insurer contacted my doctor directly.

Your disability insurance company has asked your treating physician to complete a questionnaire regarding your ability to work and current medical condition, what should you do? Requesting that updated questionnaires be completed by a claimant’s treating physicians seems to be standard in the review process. Usually, these forms consist of yes or no questions, check boxes and requests for comments on restrictions and limitations. If you know the insurance company has requested such questionnaires from your physicians it is a good idea for you to make an appointment with your physician...

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Insurer must produce internal manuals in bad faith claim.

On August 12, 2016, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench confirmed that in an action for bad faith denial of disability benefits the insurer must produce details of its internal claims handling procedures to the plaintiff. In Alexander v Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2016 ABQB 445, the plaintiff conducted an examination for discovery of a representative of Sun Life who explained that Sun Life makes an online databank of reference material available to its case managers to assist them in performing their job duties. She further explained that the reference material is broken down...

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ICBC loses claim of privilege over surveillance.

On August 2, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court reversed a master’s order as “an error in law” and ordered ICBC to provide an investigative report and video to the plaintiff, Desiree Nadine Oates. In Oates v. Burton, 2016 BCSC 1428, Ms. Oates was injured in a motor vehicle accident and sued for damages. After retaining a lawyer she applied for disability benefits from ICBC, following which ICBC ordered surveillance. In the context of her injury lawsuit, Ms. Oates sought production of the surveillance and the investigator’s report but ICBC refused, arguing that the...

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