Mussio Goodman Wins Third Consecutive WCB Tribunal Decision Against ICBC

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

Mussio Goodman Wins Against ICBC in Court

As previously discussed, when an injured motorist first informs ICBC of the accident, one of the questions they may be asked is whether they were working at the time of the collision. The reason is, if both drivers involved in the accident were “workers” as defined by the Workers Compensation Act, there can be no injury claim against ICBC; rather, any compensation must be sought through WCB instead.

This is an unfavorable situation to the injured person, as the WCB regime does not provide any compensation for pain and suffering, and only limited reimbursement for lost wages.

Naturally, given the chance, ICBC will argue that a claimant was working, or performing some sort of work related activity, to avoid having to pay out. This was the situation in our recent case of Quillen v. Linnea.

In January 2011, our client was a subcontractor working construction for the defendant, a sole proprietor who was also an old friend. On the morning of the accident, our client agreed to meet the defendant outside his personal residence so they could travel to the jobsite together in one vehicle.

Our claim alleges that in the course of transferring his personal belongings from his own vehicle into the defendant’s truck, our client was run over by the defendant.

ICBC argued that our client should be prohibited from pursuing an injury claim because both he and the defendant were working at the time of the accident. In particular, ICBC submitted that our client attended the defendant’s residence at the direction of the employer, that the Defendant’s truck was a “crew bus”, and that transportation to the worksite was within the scope of our client’s employment.

On behalf of our client, Eric Goodman argued that our client’s longstanding friendship with the defendant must be considered. Our client did not rely on the defendant or his alleged “crew bus” for transportation to work, nor was it a part of the employment contract; rather, our client’s acceptance of rides in the truck was more akin to a carpooling arrangement between two friends who also happened to work together.

The WCAT tribunal agreed:

[67] In particular, I note [the defendant’s] answer to the questions about why he and the plaintiff would ride together in [the defendant’s] truck, since the plaintiff had his own vehicle. [The defendant] stated: “We were going to the same job.” This suggests an arrangement of convenience…

[68] In addition, the evidence does not support the defendants’ argument that the plaintiff reported to the meeting place at the defendant’s residence as a result of instructions from the defendant…

[69] I find that the evidence is more consistent with a ride-sharing or carpooling arrangement between workers than with the plaintiff reporting to an assembly area of the employer’s premises with the purpose of continuing to the work site in transportation provided or arranged by the employer.

With this result, our client is now entitled to pursue his ICBC claim for pain and suffering, lost wages and out-of-pocket expenses resulting from severe orthopedic injuries he sustained in the accident.