Any party to a lawsuit may decide to have a Jury Trial. In many, if not most, cases it is ICBC on behalf of the Defendant who choses to have a Jury Trial.  Jury trials are very different than trials with Judges alone. In BC juries are not allowed to be referred to previous court decisions. The Plaintiff is not allowed to suggest a number for general damages. It is entirely up to the Jury members to decide how much someone should receive for their loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering. ICBC believes that Juries, without the benefit of previous court decisions and without the Plaintiff being able suggest a number for general damages, will award less money than a Judge would. This is true in some cases. Experienced counsel can overcome these restrictions in the way they present their case.

What this means is that in almost every case ICBC files a Jury Notice. Even in the smallest of cases, ICBC wants a 5 day Jury Trial. So if you have been injured and your case is going to trial, you will need experienced counsel to present your case to the Jury. A Plaintiff who tries to do their own Jury trial is not likely to achieve a fair result.

Don't forget as of January 1, 2010 no more handheld cell phone use is allowed while driving. No dialing, no texting. You cannot dial, type or talk on a handheld device while driving.

All drivers

The Proposed changes to the B.C. Motor Vehicle Act will prohibit:

-operating or holding hand-held cellphones or other electronic devices
-sending or reading emails and/or texting - BlackBerry, IPhone, PDA, cellphone
-operating or holding hand-held music or portable gaming devices
-manual programming or adjusting GPS systems, for both factory and aftermarket systems.

You can do all of the above while legally parked and not impeding trafficc

You will be able to use the following:

-Hands-free devices or phones that are built in or securely fixed to the vehicle, and used by pressing a single -button ' once only ' in order to activate a hands-free device for incoming or outgoing calls.
-Pre-programmed and voice-activated GPS devices.
-Two-way radios for industry (e.g., trucking, logging, oil and gas).
-911 calls to report an emergency.

Graduated licence program (new) drivers (GLP):

In addition to the above restrictions and permitted actions, new drivers will be prohibited from using hands-free devices (cellphones on speaker mode or bluetooth) while driving. 

Exemptions to the legislation include police, fire and ambulance personnel who may need to make calls in the performance of their duties.

Source: Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General

In my book I talk about the importance of recording all of your injuries, seeing your doctor right away and advising them of all of your injuries. While you might have pain in a part of your body, if you don't report it to your doctor, then the defence will say it is not related to the crash; and they will argue that if it is not in the clinical records of your doctor, you did not have it. That is shown in the following case. You can click on the case name for the full text of the case.


Winkelmans v. Stoffels
2009 BCSC 572


[25]  The position of the defence is that Ms. Winkelmans has failed to prove any injury was caused to her lumbar spine in the collision.  Central to this position is the submission that she did not complain of lumbar pain at the outset and there was little documentation of lumbar complaints.


[28] Dr. Schweigel gave evidence at trial that in his opinion where there is an injury to the lumbar spine, he would expect the pain to start within the first two, three or four days.  He went on to say, "All I am trying to say - if it isn't in his notes in the first two, three or four weeks, any subsequent low back pain is unrelated."  Dr. Bishop in his evidence at trial was of the opinion that the temporal relationship of lumbar pain to the accident was not strong if it came on after three months

Nathalie Blanchard, 29, of Quebec was off on long term disability from her job at IBM because of depression. After 18 months she was cut off by Manulife right after she posted some photos on her Facebook page. The photos were of her on vacation and out socializing. She says that based on this they terminated her benefits saying that she could not longer be depressed. Manulife, in a press release, denied that they would cut off benefits based solely on Facebook, but did admit that it does use Facebook to investigate clients.  Click the link to the original blog posting.

Source: ILS Blog

The reality is that insurance companies use Facebook, and other social networking sites, to investigate claimants. If you have a claim, an employee of the insurance company involved will be searching the internet looking for information about you. Take a good look at what's on your Facebook page. And if you think you have security, you don't. If it's posted on the internet, its accessible. There are programs available that will defeat security settings, and also all of your Friends have those photos on their walls too.


Tags: Facebook

On September 25, 2009, after a 4 week Jury Trial, Nanaimo Lawyers Ben Falkenberg and Adam DeTurberville obtained a verdict of over $4 million dollars for an injured motorcyclist who suffered catastrophic injuries. The 18 year old female driver, who had an N License and 3 passengers, denied fault for the collision.  Nanaimo lawyer Ben Falkenberg, an experienced motorcycle rider, agreed to take the case and went to trial against the insurance company which was adamant  that the collision was the fault of the injured motorcyclist. The Jury found the 18 year old female driver 85% at fault for the collision and awarded damages of over $4 million dollars.

BC Truck Accident Lawyer Ben Falkenberg agreed to help the driver of a car that was run over by a fully loaded tractor trailer truck. The young man was driving his friend's car. The friend was in the front passenger seat. As they drove down the highway, the front wheel came off of the car, causing the car to go across the center line and under the wheels of an oncoming fully loaded tractor trailer truck. The car was run over and crushed, but miraculously the occupants of the car survived. Some had only minor injuries. The young driver had a serious brain injury. The insurance company blamed the young driver for the collision. The insurance company refused to settle the case. BC Tractor Trailer Accident Lawyer Ben Falkenberg agreed to help the young brain injured driver. By investigating the case we found out that the friend had put his car in the ditch earlier that day and that was the likely cause of the wheel coming off on the highway. Even faced with these facts the insurance company refused to settle the case.  We commenced a law suit against the friend and set a trial date with a jury. At mediation shortly before the trial date the insurance company settled the case when faced with the fact that we were going to take the case before a jury and the true facts would come out about the friend putting his car in the ditch earlier that day.

Welcome to Ben Falkenberg's Blog and the launch of Ben's new website.  Ben will be regularly posting interesting items to help consumers with their questions about personal injury cases in BC.
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*I certify that I am not a lawyer, I am not an insurance adjuster, I do not work for ICBC or any other insurance company and I am not obtaining this information on behalf of ICBC or any other insurance company.