BC Court of Appeal upholds fraud finding in relation to three vehicle collisions

Accused was connected to vehicles in each incident

BC Court of Appeal upholds fraud finding in relation to three vehicle collisions
Staged collisions can mean insurance fraud

The British Columbia Court of Appeal has upheld a finding that three collisions claimed as accidents for insurance purposes were actually staged and constituted fraud.

In Singh v. Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, 2022 BCCA 320, Inderjit Singh was involved in three rear-end car collisions, several weeks apart. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) paid the vehicle damage claims after each collision and Each one also gave rise to personal injury claims.

Evidence at trial revealed that the collisions were staged, as Singh had connections with the drivers and passengers of each vehicle involved. On these grounds, ICBC sued Singh and the other parties for civil fraud, conspiracy, and fraudulent misrepresentation.

The trial judge concluded that the collisions were staged and awarded ICBC damages. The trial judge also rejected Singh’s and his co-appellants’ explanations of their connection as they were inconsistent.

On appeal, Singh argued that the judge failed to apply the proper test for civil fraud and reversed the burden of proof.

The appellate court disagreed.

The trial judge correctly captured the central issue in her reasons – that ICBC questioned whether the three collisions were a series of unfortunate events or whether they were staged to make fraudulent vehicle and personal injury claims, said the court.

The appellate court found that the judge’s findings were supported by evidence and there was no ground for appellate intervention. Contrary to Singh’s assertions, the trial judge did not err in her summary of the legal principles in civil fraud claims, said the court.

Further, the trial judge correctly stated the burden of proof that ICBC bore  was on the balance of probabilities. While the judge rejected Singh’s evidence, she had good reason for doing so as it was fraught with inconsistencies, both internal and external, to the respective testimonies, said the court.

The appellate court dismissed the appeal.

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