Wow, ok lots to unpack here.
... From yesterday's headlines we see ICBC lawyers interjecting as an unscrupulous third party in the tragic death of the cyclists in Pemberton. ...
KC is of course referring to this: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/britis...suit-1.3292392
While we are getting far off topic, there is a lot of misunderstanding on display here and in the media that's worth clearing up so people don't get an incorrect view of what is happening. I don't have any personal knowledge of the situation here, but from I've read and my experience, I think I've got a pretty good idea of the context.
-The driver in this accident was allegedly drunk. As a result, ICBC (the driver's insurer) denied him coverage. In other words, they said 'because you were drunk you breached a term of your insurance and we are not going to cover you as a result'. (Of course, this is all 'allegedly' - the driver has not been convicted of drinking and driving or any other criminal offense, yet.)
-In ordinary circumstances, that would be bad news for the party suing ('Plaintiff'). If the person being sued ('Defendant') doesn't have insurance, the only thing the Defendant would have to satisfy any court judgement against them is their own personal assets. If the Defendant has lots of assets, then no problem for the Plaintiff. If they do not (and how many of us have cash/assets on hand to pay for a judgement that could exceed $1million?) then the Plaintiff would be tough out of luck. (They would have a 'dry judgement' - the Court would say they are entitled to $X in compensation, but what good is that if you can't collect on it because the Defendant has no money?)
-A somewhat unique feature of ICBC (specifically the legislation that creates it) is the Third Party proceeding that KC is speaking about. In circumstances like this where ICBC denies coverage to a Defendant, they Third Party themselves into the lawsuit (basically they bring themselves in as a party, even though they were not a party to or personally involved with the accident in question). When they Third Party themselves in, they kind of 'step into the shoes' of the Defendant. By this I mean that the lawyer hired by/representing ICBC is not the Defendant's lawyer, but they are taking essentially the same positions/making the same arguments that the Defendant's lawyer would be doing - they defend the case to ensure that if the Plaintiff is successful, the Plaintiff will receive appropriate/judicially fair compensation. That is the whole basis behind our ("adversarial") justice system: ensure that both sides of a point are fully explored and argued so that an impartial trier of fact can consider all issues and come to a just result (as best as humanly possible, at least).
-ICBC Third Parties themselves into the lawsuit because they will assume the responsibility of paying out any settlement/judgement to the Plaintiff. Think about it for a minute - if ICBC didn't do this, you risk suing a Defendant who has no money to pay out the judgement against them. That would suck, to say the least. With ICBC Third Partying themselves in to the case, they assume all this financial risk. In a breach case where ICBC has denied coverage to a Defendant and Third Partied themselves in, they will pay whatever the ultimate judgement/settlement is (and turn around and go after the Defendant themselves, thus bear the risk that the Defendant has no money to pay them back). In the end, isn't it far better for ICBC to risk/absorb the chance of a dry judgement than an innocently injured Plaintiff?
-ICBC is certainly not being "unscrupulous" in bringing the Third Party proceedings. Quite the opposite: their having done so ensures if there is a settlement/judgement, that settlement/judgement will be paid to the Plaintiff (vs the risk that the Plaintiff will not be able to get anything from an inpecunious Defendant, as would be the case if there was no insurance and ICBC did not Third Party themselves in).
-As for the details of what ICBC is alleging (claiming that the cyclist may have been impaired, wasn't paying attention, etc.), all I can say is that it is just that - an allegation. To be able to ask questions about it as the lawsuit unfolds, it has to be raised in the pleadings, which I assume is what has been done here and why.
In my opinion, using our justice system to try to assign blame to a slipping accident in an endeavour as inherently fraught with risk such as mountaineering is absolutely asinine, and outrageous to my sensibilities as a taxpayer.
Again, in my opinion this displays a fundamental misunderstanding of the justice situation on which our society is based. A person has been injured in a terrible accident and their life has (probably) been changed forever. Of course, we do not know if there will be a claim/lawsuit arising out of this. If there is, the injured person will be seeking damages (i.e. money) from someone who they say is the cause of their injuries. Now, it may be that someone else is entirely, or partially, responsible. It may be that the injured person themselves is solely responsible and, as KC says, something like mountaineering is so fraught with risk that only the individual can be to blame for their own misfortunes. The only way for this to be determined (barring a negotiated settlement) is for the legal system to decide it. The way that works in our society is the "adversarial" process as noted above - both sides to the question are vigorously defended and argued, all the facts are brought out and explored, and an impartial trier of fact decides based on the facts that are established in the case (and previous cases of precedence). Armchair quarterbacking (which we are all doing here, since none of us have an appreciation for the full facts of what happened, in the lead up to the trip, during the course of it, or at the critical time in question) is certainly not the way, nor is any one individual's "sensibilities".