Vernon woman not insured as passenger in crash, left with life-altering injuries

Loses ICBC appeal in crash

A Vernon woman has lost her appeal of an arbitrator's decision on a 2019 accident she was involved in.

BC Court of Appeal Justice Karen Horsman dismissed Sebrina Mazzei's claim that she be considered an insured party under ICBC's underinsured motorist protection provisions.

Mazzei suffered serious injuries on Dec. 7, 2019, when she and three others were passengers in a crash that saw the driver's vehicle go down an embankment near Oyama.

The driver was deemed at fault but did not have third-party liability coverage, so Mazzei was not covered.

ICBC agreed to a $50,000 claim with Mazzei, who then sought arbitration for her "life-altering injuries and substantial past and future losses."

Mazzei argued she met the definition of insured for the purpose of underinsured motorist protection, as a result of being a member of the household of the driver.

The issue in arbitration was whether Mazzei, her father and her boyfriend formed a "household" and that she "ordinarily resided" at the one-bedroom apartment in Vernon at the time of the accident.

Mazzei claimed they lived as a family unit, but ICBC argued that her evidence "was neither credible nor reliable," evidenced by social assistance and clinical records suggesting she was living alone in the three months leading up to the incident.

Mazzei sought a stay of proceedings and appeal in relation to the arbitration award, which found she was not a member of a household with her father and boyfriend, and therefore was not an "insured" within the meaning of the regulations.

The arbitrator concluded the relationship was in its early stages and that their residing together was only temporary.

In a Sept. 20 decision in Vancouver, Horsman ruled that Mazzei's "real complaint is that the arbitrator's application of the test (of law) should have led to a different outcome."

"In sum, the applicant's proposed grounds of appeal are all, at best, questions of mixed fact and law. The applicant has not identified a question of law arising out of the award. As such, this court has no jurisdiction to entertain the appeal."

Horsman ruled that ICBC is entitled to court costs.

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