Couple to Pay ICBC Over $200,000 for Willfully False Statements

Couple to Pay ICBC Over $200,000 for Willfully False Statements

In a recent decision by Mr. Justice Grauer, a couple was ordered to pay over $200,000 in damages to ICBC for making wilfully false statements following a motor vehicle accident.

In ICBC v. Panag, the Defendants were involved in a collision in 2006.  The Defendants and the other driver disagreed about how the accident happened.  The Defendant claimed to have found an independent witness to the accident who supported the Defendants’ version of events; however, the witness turned out to be a friend of the Defendants.  ICBC conducted an investigation and claimed that the Defendants had made two wilfully false statements to ICBC about how the accident happened, and had conspired to deceive ICBC about the status of the “witness” to the accident.

The court agreed with ICBC and found that the Defendants had forfeited their right to their insurance coverage, and ordered the Defendants to pay $188,722, plus pre-judgement interest of $8,460, and punitive damages of $10,000.

In his reasons for judgement, Mr. Justice Grauer noted as follows:

[70] In providing ICBC with willfully false statements and in conspiring to commit fraud, the Panags undoubtedly engaged in conduct that was reprehensible.  In the particular circumstances of this case, however, I note that the consequences of their actions have exposed them to statutory liability far beyond the actual financial consequences of their actions.  Had they succeeded in their deception, they would have saved a mere $801 plus whatever might have been gained through a potential personal injury claim.  Now they must pay over $188,000 plus interest.

[72] Taking all of the relevant factors into account, I consider that ICBC’s position is reasonable and I award punitive damages of $10,000 each against Mr. and Mrs. Panag.

This case highlights the importance of ensuring the accuracy of statements made to ICBC following a motor vehicle accident.