A Kelowna man says he's so frustrated with ICBC after suffering an injury in a collision in 2021 that he has considered ending his own life.
Don Morgan tells Castanet he was struck at the intersection of Bernard Avenue and Ethel Street in September while riding his electric unicycle. The crash was caught on video (embedded at bottom of story).
"The damage is very bad. I spent seven hours in surgery and have limited use of my left arm. I also had a fractured right arm, a fractured right leg, and a fractured finger."
"As a result, I have lost my job, my benefits, and at this time of writing, the will to live," Morgan said in a message to Castanet.
Morgan says he was working at a cabinetry factory before the crash.
"I was happy, not the best pay I've had, but I was happy and that's important."
"It is amazing that one day, I was just on my way to get groceries I get hit by a driver that fails to yield and a year later I'm a victim of endless suffering (that) is begging for death."
Morgan says he has grown frustrated with what he describes as delays and poor communication from ICBC over his treatment plan and settlement.
ICBC moved to no-fault “enhanced care” auto insurance in May 2021. Since then, most crashes don’t go to court to sort out costly lawsuits. Instead, ICBC pays victims money directly, reimbursing them for the cost of rehabilitation and lost income.
Morgan suggested the system can put the onus on the victim to find a way to cover the cost of living.
"I am lost and confused. I didn't have financial problems or mental health issues before ICBC came into my life. I was forced to get a credit card that I never wanted and a small loan just to live. Now ICBC does not pay me and I am left in the dark. I am currently starving and will be homeless in a few weeks time."
"I have had no communication with ICBC since October," Morgan continued. "I had a scheduled physical assessment appointment and was told it would be in mid-November. It is now February and I have to chase ICBC for payments every 2 weeks."
"I am currently waiting for a doctor's appointment to seek medical assistance in dying (MAID). The suffering and lack of support is unbelievable. I have contacted lawyers multiple times with zero chance of correcting this situation," he continued.
Castanet contacted ICBC about the file and has been told a meeting with Morgan has now been scheduled and they recognize that serious injuries can be life-changing and challenging.
"However, he hasn’t attended any treatments since October 2022. Mr. Morgan’s current care plan recommends ongoing physiotherapy and kinesiology treatments," said an ICBC spokesperson.
Since Castanet began inquiries Morgan says he has received a wellness check from RCMP and has now re-connected with his initial care provider, which ICBC confirmed.
"ICBC has initiated a meeting with Mr. Morgan’s doctor to ensure that his care plan, led by his care team, is meeting his needs and helping him progress in his recovery."
ICBC said in a statement that since the collision occurred in September 2021, they have been working with Morgan to support his recovery and he’s been receiving benefits including 90% of net income replacement and $31,742 in medical costs that include 165 treatment sessions.
All travel and taxi costs, and rehabilitation equipment have been paid for, the insurer added.
"We’ve requested medical records to determine compensation for Mr. Morgan under the permanent impairment benefit. He may qualify for additional compensation which will be assessed when he has recovered to his maximum capacity. The permanent impairment benefit is a form of cash compensation in addition to other benefits received," ICBC said.
Morgan told Castanet he has indeed reconnected with his care team, but he is still confused.
"Oddly enough, after you started communicating with me, the caseworker that I had this whole time, suddenly appeared back in the office. I haven't heard from anybody since October. Just basically been sitting here. No answers, no direction, no, nothing. And then you contact them. And suddenly this guy's back? Like, what is that," said Morgan.
One of Morgan's biggest frustrations is around his ability to return to work, which he says is important to him. He has already tried returning to work at his old job but says he just not capable of operating in a production environment.
"I couldn't wait to get back to work (but) I was like, geez, this is too soon. I just really want to see where can I go forward from here. What kind of work can I do? I like to be physical with work and stuff and keep my hands busy. But the reality is, that might not be in my future," Morgan said.
ICBC acknowledges challenges with some files of this nature but say they are committed to assisting with his recovery and getting him back into the workforce.
"Under the former litigation-based model, there is no certainty Mr. Morgan would be receiving the care and recovery he needs now and over his lifetime. If he were to sue under the former model, a trial would have likely taken years and his lawyer would take up to one-third of any settlement as fees – a settlement which would need to last for his lifetime," ICBC said.