Hergott: Drive responsibly and obtain adequate insurance

…the higher the vehicle occupancy, the more people are susceptible to injury [if an accident occurs].

A cube-shaped Nissan, parked in front of a neighbour’s house caught my attention as I was on my way home the other day.

My neighbour was chatting with the driver, so I pulled up to ask about it.

The vehicle, which doesn’t look much different than a large SUV, boasts a 12-person seating capacity.

As a parent of three school-aged children, seating capacity is important to me.

When shopping for our most recent vehicle, our choice hinged in large part on the eight-person seating capacity of our chosen vehicle.

But what are the legal implications, though, of having so many “bums in seats,” if there is a crash?

The obvious practical implication is the higher the vehicle occupancy, the more people are susceptible to injury.

When high capacity vehicles are being used to ferry children around, those extra people are likely to be children.

These practical implications weigh in favour of taking extra special care to ensure there isn’t a crash.

As I type those words, though, I find them somewhat repugnant—would you really drive less carefully with two children passengers versus eight?

What if you are driving with zero passengers. Are you driving with the least level of care because it’s “just you?” What if you crash into another vehicle loaded with children?

The legal implications flow from the practical implications.

More injured victims mean more people who suffer injuries and losses. Losses suffered by children, with their entire lives/careers ahead of them, can be significantly greater than for adults.

The greater the losses flowing from a crash, the more money is required to provide fair, financial compensation for those losses.

Where does that compensation come from? In our province,  where the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia has a monopoly over liability insurance, it comes from ICBC.

An important thing to recognize, however, is that ICBC’s obligation to step in and pay fair compensation to those you injure extends only to the limit of your liability insurance.

Whatever level of liability insurance you choose to purchase for your vehicle, you will be personally responsible to pay any amount of fair compensation that exceeds that level.

Did you know that if you let someone else drive your car, you join the driver in sharing that personal responsibility?

The law allows you to carry as little as $200,000 of liability insurance in British Columbia.

Will that be enough to fairly compensate the occupants of an eight-seater vehicle loaded with children who have suffered significant injuries and losses?

Fair compensation for injuries and losses is regularly assessed by our courts, and assessments for only one injured victim regularly exceed that.

Often the assessments approach or exceed $1 million.

If you carry insufficient liability insurance, it is not only you who suffer direct consequences.

Unless you are in the top one per cent of independently wealthy Canadians, you will be unlikely to come up with the shortfall which will leave your victims under-compensated.

It would be quite bad enough that you caused a crash resulting in a vehicle-load of children being injured.

Leaving those children with less than fair financial compensation for their lifetimes of losses adds horrible insult to injury.

Go to your insurance broker and inquire about increasing the liability insurance you carry on your vehicle.

You will find that an increase to $5 million is not terribly expensive.

I am hopeful that this column might assist you and others in understanding the magnitude of losses that can arise from road traffic incidents, thereby resulting in a greater level of driving care and reduction of crashes in the first place.

If a crash does occur,  please ensure that both you and your victims are protected by adequate insurance.

 

Kelowna Capital News

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

(BC Conservation Service)
Hunter charged, fined for poaching immature moose in West Kelowna

Richard Fischer pled guilty to two charges under the BC Wildlife Act

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read