Talk about a one-two punch. Last July, Ben Bolliger, a resident of Vancouver, BC, was hit by a driver while riding his bike who, he says, ran through a stop sign. Since then, he has had surgery, a CT scan, seven X-ray follow-ups, 26 physical therapy sessions, 10 rehabilitation sessions, and two splints.
Last week he received a letter from the public insurance company ICBC. It stated, according to the Vancouver sun, that Bolliger was responsible for damage to the car. The bill totaled $3,752.01 CAD for windshield and hood repairs.
“Our customer reported this accident, and as stated in our previous correspondence, you are responsible for any damage or injury suffered by our insured,” the letter read. “You were driving an uninsured vehicle at the time of the loss. This means you will not have insurance cover for this loss and will have to reimburse the cost of our insured’s claim.”
Last July I was hit by a car while cycling to pick up lunch by a driver who drove a stop sign on a bike route. Last week @ICBC sent me a $3700 bill for hood and windshield repairs. pic.twitter.com/2MToIrGM5z
— Ben Bolliger (@benbolliger)
March 29, 2022
Bolliger says the accident broke his bike in half and threw him on a rocky surface 45 feet away. “My right arm was completely broken and I will never have full range of motion in that arm again,” he told the… Sun† “My foot was broken. They ripped about 10 pieces of his windshield out of my back, and that took nearly 100 stitches and staples.”
Bolliger adds that he missed four months of work, and although he also filed a claim with ICBC, the insurance company let him use up all his sick days and vacation days, apply for employment insurance, and even then he only covered 80 percent of his wage.
“It’s a blow to my stomach. It really is a punch in the stomach,” said Bolliger. “What about being hit by a car?”
The source of the problem is a new, confusingly named “no-fault” auto insurance law passed in Canada in 2020. Driving.ca explains the details, but in practice drivers can pay a lower rate while pedestrians and cyclists lose. power in such situations. In a dystopian twist, ICBC calls their flawless coverage “enhanced care.”
Vancouver attorney Kyla Lee said cases like Bolliger’s are becoming more common because cyclists and other uninsured individuals cannot rely on ICBC. The new model, she says, “gives ICBC all the power.”
Although another lawyer who spoke to the Sun believes ICBC’s demands will be withdrawn and ordered the Provincial Attorney General to investigate the situation, still gives Bolliger an unnecessary headache as the insurer should make his life easier.