Subjective Soft Tissue Injuries and Judicial Scrutiny

Last year I criticized the often recited judicial passage stating that ““…the Court should be exceedingly careful when there is little or no objective evidence of continuing injury and when complaints of pain persist for long periods extending beyond the normal or usual recovery…”  and pointing out that these comments should no longer be used given Supreme Court of Canada’s reasons in FH v. McDougall.
Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court (Prince v. Quinn) addressing a Court’s role when dealing with subjective injuries.  Mr. Justice Williams provided the following comments which, in my view, would do well to substitute the above passage in the context of a chronic soft tissue injury case:
[25]         With respect, as regards this latter point, it seems to me that this is an approach that must be considered with care. Taken to its ultimate conclusion, it would, in many cases, quite unfairly put a plaintiff in a position where proving a claim would be exceedingly difficult and verging on impossible.
[26]         In my view, the point to be observed is this: where a plaintiff’s claim is founded quite substantially on self-reported evidence, it is necessary for the trier of fact to scrutinize the plaintiff’s evidence carefully and evaluate it in the light of other evidence, such as the circumstances of the collision, other relevant information concerning the plaintiff’s activities and statements made by the plaintiff on other occasions. However, where the evidence of physical injury is substantially based on subjective evidence – the testimony of the plaintiff – that should not constitute an effective barrier to proof of a claim.
[27]         In the final analysis, it is the court’s duty to examine the evidence carefully and critically. That is what I have done in this case.

bc injury law, Civil Burden of Proof, credibility, Mr. Justice Williams, Prince v. Quinn, subjective injuries

Contact

If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy

Disclaimer