A designated driver who was badly injured in a crash caused by her drunken passenger has been denied ICBC compensation, following a B.C. Supreme Court ruling on Monday.
In 2006, Marnetta Felix was driving her intoxicated boyfriend Kevin Hearne home from a soccer tournament when he grabbed the steering wheel from the passenger seat. The move caused the couple to crash on Highway 1 near the Peardonville Road overpass in Abbotsford. Hearne was killed and Felix was badly injured.
Five years later, Felix went to court and won $800,000 from Hearne's estate, which she argued ICBC was required to pay. And she's been fighting them ever since.
"A person whose inhibitions are lower, may do something silly, something stupid, something dangerous. The risk of the injuries that might happen falls on you as the designated driver and not the person who is the passenger," said Felix's lawyer Douglas MacAdams.
On Monday, a B.C. Supreme Court justice ruled in favour of the insurance firm because Felix was not covered by third party insurance. Unless she appeals and wins, she will receive nothing.
"We want people to be designated drivers, but you don't want to put yourself in a dangerous situation," said B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton.
Meanwhile, Felix still suffers from the injuries she endured in the accident.
"She's able to function in the sense of she's not bedridden, but the critical issue is that she's not able to work and this is an ongoing source of difficulty in her life," said MacAdams.
It is unclear how Monday's ruling — which was made available online Wednesday — will impact organizations that offer rides to people who have been drinking. Operation Red Nose said it is reviewing the decision, as are Mothers Against Drunk Driving and ICBC's legal team.