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Court Orders ICBC Pay Interest on Special Damages

If I incur interest on treatment expenses I need as a result of my injuries, will ICBC have to pay for the interest?

In the 2013 BC Supreme Court decision of Thibeault v. MacGregor, 2013 BCSC 808, the plaintiff had unpaid physiotherapy expenses that had been provided on credit – to be paid when she received compensation for her lawsuit. The treatment loan was subject to interest. Mr. Justice Weatherill ordered that ICBC pay for the interest that incurred on this debt, providing the following reasons:

[134]     I agree with Mr. Walton that the plaintiff is entitled to interest pursuant to the Court Order Interest Act (COIA) on the special damages I have awarded, even though the charges for physiotherapy have not yet been paid.  The relevant section of the COIA provides:

(1) Subject to section 2, a court must add to a pecuniary judgment an amount of interest calculated on the amount ordered to be paid at a rate the court considers appropriate in the circumstances from the date on which the cause of action arose to the date of the order.

(2) Despite subsection (1), if the order consists in whole or part of special damages, the interest on those damages must be calculated from the end of each 6 month period in which the special damages were incurred to the date of the order on the total of the special damages incurred

(a) in the 6 month period immediately following the date on which the cause of action arose, and

(b) in any subsequent 6 month period.

[emphasis added]

[135]     Black’s Law Dictionary, 9th ed. defines “incur” as “[to] suffer or bring on oneself (a liability or expense)”.  The plaintiff became liable for the cost of her physiotherapy payments when she either attended or missed her appointments.

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