Skip to main content

Timing of Plaintiff Testimony in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

While BC has no formal requirement addressing when (or even if) a Plaintiff needs to take the stand in the prosecution of a personal injury claim, the prevailing practice is for the Plaintiff to testify first.  Deviating from this practice comes with a downside as explained in reasons for judgement released last week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In last week’s case (Yeung v. Dowbiggin) the Plaintiff was involved in four separate motor vehicle collisions.  The Plaintiff’s trial lasted over two weeks.  She was one of the last witnesses to testify.  Madam Justice Humphries highlighted the following practical difficulty which arose due to this decision:
[27] Since the plaintiff was one of the last witnesses called and was in the courtroom very rarely prior to her testimony, it was difficult to assess the evidence about the effects of the accidents as I listened to the various witnesses.  I had no idea who the plaintiff was, had no sense of her, and had heard no evidence about the accidents as I listened to all these witnesses.  I do not know if this was a tactical decision or whether it was necessitated by schedules, but it meant the evidence I heard was all without context.

bc injury law, Madam Justice Humphries, Witness Order, Yeung v. Dowbiggin