Court Refuses To Allow ICBC To Withdraw Admission Of Fault In Late Stages Of Litigation

In Bodnar v. Sobolik, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and subsequently commenced formal legal proceedings.


In the Response to the Plaintiff’s Notice of Civil Claim, ICBC’S lawyer admitted fault on behalf of the Defendant. There was video footage of the accident which the decision to admit fault was based on. Successive adjusters also shared a similar viewpoint with respect to admitting liability.


Well into the litigation stages, ICBC’S lawyer hired an engineer to review the video footage. Based on the engineer’s opinion regarding the speed of the Plaintiff’s vehicle, ICBC’S lawyer tried to withdraw the earlier admission of fault.


With respect to a withdrawal of an admission, Rule 7-7(5) of the Supreme Court Civil Rules of British Columbia states that :


A party is not entitled to withdraw

(a) an admission made in response to a notice to admit,
(b) a deemed admission under subrule (2), or
(c) an admission made in a pleading, petition or response to petition

except by consent or with leave of the court.


The Court was to determine whether or not it would be in the interests of justice to allow the withdrawal of the admission. In ruling that it would not be, the Court commented:


[14] ICBC clearly understood the material contained on the video footage. The admission was not made hastily, inadvertently and without knowledge of the facts. Successive adjusters worked on the file and gave instructions to admit liability with full knowledge of the video footage. At the time liability was admitted ICBC had the video footage. The defendants had been aware of the existence of video footage when they were provided with a copy. The preparation of a report on September 28, 2018 was well after ICBC and defence counsel had both received a copy of the video footage.


[15] At this late stage both cars have been written off and are no longer available for inspection.


[16] It is not in the interests of justice to allow a withdrawal of the admission of liability because there is now a difference of opinion about the cause of the accident.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *