How Far Would You Go to Fight a Bogus Insurance Report?

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Toyota Tacoma rear ended

Canadian Tacoma driver had it with the runaround, so he turned to forensic science to prove he was in the right. 

Remind us never to get into a disagreement with Willis Clarke. The Toyota Tacoma driver will win an argument, even if he has to bring in a team of experts to do so. Also, he’s pretty badass.

Recently, Clarke was involved in an accident with a cab in Burnaby, British Columbia. He was driving his truck in March when he was rear-ended by a cab. At the time of the accident the cabbie admitted fault and was generally cool about taking culpability for the damage to both vehicles.

“He was super apologetic,” Clarke told the Vancouver Courier. Unfortunately, that mood changed. Two weeks after the accident, he received word from The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) that the taxi driver now claimed the accident was Clarke’s fault. And the ICBC agreed, deciding that Clarke would take 50% of the blame, and the cost. He tried to appeal, but it was denied.

Typical insurance headache, right? Wrong. Clarke was going to prove he was innocent.

He asked the ICBC if they could have a forensic engineer assess the vehicle damage, and determine fault. The insurance company said no, and that a forensic engineer wouldn’t be able to determine fault.

Not so fast, says Craig Luker, of Luker Forensic Engineering. Luker is a court-qualified forensic engineer who has experience with over 2,000 crash investigations. “The reality is, when you look at the nuance of the damage, sometimes you can tell things that you wouldn’t have foreseen being able to determine,” Luker says.

So Clarke and his father Brad paid $3,000 of their own money to hire Luker’s company to examine the damage.

The result? Clarke was right.

Tacoma rear end reenactment

“The physical evidence is consistent with the version of events that the taxi struck the rear of the pickup truck while the pickup was travelling straight and while the taxi was overtaking it and performing a lane change to the left,” the report stated.

So the insurance company paid up and everything was made right, right? Um, well….

“We were cautioned that ICBC, after looking at the report, could change fault, and we would still be left with the bill,” said Brad.

In a surprise to no one, the insurance company still tried to get out of paying. The case was passed around to various managers, and the Clarkes received a series of headache-inducing deferrals. Finally, after the Clarkes made it clear that they would happily go to the media, ICBC finally agreed to pay, both for the report and the damage.

So why did Clarke go through so much?

“It’s principle. I’m not a liar. I don’t think this taxi driver should get away with lying,” said Clarke. Nor did he think it was right for the insurance company to dismiss and intimidate him. “Don’t let ICBC bully you,” he said.

We applaud the Clarkes! We’ve all dealt with the seemingly never ending frustration of insurance companies giving the runaround. And when you know you’re in the right, why not take a stand?

Not all heroes wear capes, but some definitely drive Tacomas!

Photos: Vancouver Courier

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Longtime automotive journalist S.J. Bryan has been covering the automotive industry for over five years and is an editor with Ford Truck Enthusiasts and regular contributor to F-150 Online, Harley-Davidson Forums, and The Mustang Source, among other popular auto sites.

Bryan first discovered her passion for all things automotive while riding in her parent's 1968 Ford Mustang. The automotive expert cut her teeth growing up riding on Harleys, and her first car was a Chevy Nova. Despite her lead foot, Bryan has yet to receive a speeding ticket.

The award-winning former playwright was first published at age 18. She has worked extensively as a writer and editor for a number of lifestyle and pop culture publications. The diehard gearhead is a big fan of American muscle cars, sixth-gen Ford trucks, and Oxford commas.

S.J. can be reached at [email protected].

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