Costs and Disbursements
In addition to receiving an award or settlement of damages for such things as pain and suffering, wage loss, out-of-pocket expenses, future care and future loss capacity, there is also a claim available to a successful party in a lawsuit called “taxable costs and disbursements”.
Taxable costs are not available unless you have started a lawsuit. Taxable costs are the amount you can receive based on a tariff scale, which is established by the Rules of Court. For each unit of work that is done on your file, you receive a credit of around $110. The longer your case continues and the more steps taken on the file, the more units you will receive.
The expectation is that the taxable costs you will receive are only a partial indemnity for the true legal fees that you actually pay your lawyer.
In terms the disbursements, those are the out-of-pocket expenses you pay or your lawyer pays to pursue the ICBC claim. Examples of disbursements include court-filing fees, expenses for medical legal reports, photocopies, faxes, etc. ICBC will usually compensate you for your reasonable disbursements regardless of whether or not a lawsuit has been commenced.
Please note that costs and disbursements are not available if you are found at fault for the accident. In fact, ICBC may be entitled to their costs and disbursements from you.
If you are partly responsible for the accident you may only receive a portion of the costs and disbursements based on your level of success. As an example, if you are only 50% successful, you only get 50% of your costs and disbursements.
Another way you may not be entitled to certain costs and disbursements is if ICBC has made a formal Offer to Settle after litigation commences. Then, if your case goes to trial and you receive an award from the Court less than the Offer to Settle, ICBC gets their costs and disbursements after the date of the Offer to Settle and you receive your costs and disbursements before the Offer to Settle date.
The same rule applies if you accept ICBC’s Offer to Settles months after they issued it.
There are many other exceptions to the rules on costs and disbursements that are better discussed with your lawyer, but the above gives you a general idea of costs and disbursements.