A Vancouver cyclist speaks out about a $3,700 bill he says he received from ICBC after he was hit by a vehicle while riding on a bike trail last summer.
Ben Bollinger told Global News that in July he was hit by a driver who passed a stop sign while cycling for lunch on Granville Island.
The collision caused him to fly 14 meters high and suffered multiple injuries.
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“My foot was broken, my hand was broken; I now have a metal plate here,” he told Global News.
He said he was shocked when eight months after his recovery he received a letter from ICBC demanding $3,752.01.
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The letter states that Bollinger was driving an uninsured vehicle at the time of the collision, meaning he must pay the insured driver’s claim for damages.
“It’s a blow to my stomach. It really is a punch in the stomach,” said Bollinger. “What about being hit by a car?”
Erik Magraken, an injury attorney and managing partner at MacIsaac and Company, said that even under BC’s new no-fault style insurance, debt still matters when it comes to determining who pays the deductible for property and vehicle damage.
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“If ICBC claims that someone owes them money, they are not the judge, jury or executioner,” he said.
“And the cyclist who was hit by a vehicle with a stop sign — if that’s what happened — is not responsible for the property damage.”
ICBC would not cover the specific case, but said in a statement that the handling of these types of cases had not changed under the new “Enhanced Care” insurance model.
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“If a party is judged to be partially responsible for a claim, they may be responsible for some of the damage to the vehicle,” the public insurer said.
“This process has not changed with the introduction of Enhanced Care.”
But Vancouver’s attorney Kyla Lee said cases like Bollinger’s are becoming more common as cyclists and other uninsured individuals don’t have the option to sue ICBC or insured drivers under the new insurance model.
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“It gives ICBC all the power, and what we see when ICBC has the power is they try to get as much money from people as possible and save themselves from paying as much money as possible when it comes to a claim,” he said. Lee.
Attorney General and Secretary of Public Safety Mike Farnworth said on Wednesday he will ensure the case is reviewed.
“I have asked ICBC to investigate this particular case,” he said.
“I do know that in all of these situations, the health care and recovery costs of the individual are all covered.”
Meanwhile, Bollinger, who will never be able to move fully in his right hand again, said he thinks he has already paid enough.
“It makes the injury worse,” he said. “Literally offensive to injury.”
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