ICBC’s Use of Investigators to Interview Witnesses

ICBC often tries to talk to your employer or past employer(s) to find out information

If your ICBC claim is viewed as a “large exposure” for ICBC or if the claim is getting close to going to trial, ICBC will often hire an independent investigator to review the background history of your life.

As you can imagine, this is a tremendous invasion of your privacy but unfortunately, ICBC has the right to proceed with the investigation.

Often, the investigators will do a neighborhood canvass. This involves knocking on your neighbors’ doors hoping to find out some piece of helpful information about you from an unfriendly neighbor. For example, ICBC is looking for individuals that can testify that you are doing some home renovations, yard work or sporting activities.

ICBC often tries to talk to your employer or past employer(s) to find out information that may help them in attacking your credibility or limiting your wage loss claim.

ICBC also looks for lay witnesses that knew you before and after the accident to see if they are individuals who might be sympathetic to ICBC.  The best witnesses for ICBC are the ones that say that there has been no change in your lifestyle or behavior from before the accident, to after the accident.

Although there is no restriction on interviewing witnesses, no witness is required to speak to the ICBC investigator or defense lawyer short of a Court Order compelling them to do so.  A witness who is willing to answer the questions of the ICBC investigator may wish to have the questions presented in writing and answer in writing, to avoid any misinterpretation. This type of request also tends to discourage the ICBC investigator as they seldom wish to conduct interviews in writing.

The defense lawyer often asks for a list of witnesses at the Discovery. While you may not like to give out the personal information, it is relevant and a fair request of the defense counsel. If you are asked to give the list, you should give the witnesses a heads up they may be contacted and are not obliged to full cooperate with the defense counsel or the ICBC investigator. You have no legal right to tell them not to speak to the defense counsel or ICBC investigator, but you can state your preference.

Often ICBC looks to have you sign an authorization to speak to a doctor and/or employer when trial approaches. From your perspective, you do not have to provide any authorization to allow ICBC to do their investigation.  Therefore, if you are asked to provide an authorization to allow ICBC to interview a witness, the best thing to do is say NO. The ICBC investigator is not trying to help you or discover the truth. He/she is looking to find evidence to undermine your case.

In summary, ICBC has a right to investigate backgrounds and often does so in larger cases or cases heading towards trial.  There is no obligation on the part of any witness to speak to the ICBC investigator but at the same time, you cannot restrict ICBC from conducting their investigation. However, you do not have to cooperate or authorize the interviews to make it easier for ICBC to find evidence to undermine your case.