Tag: credibility

BC Personal Injury Claims Round Up

On Friday two more cases were released by the BC Supreme Court dealing with non-pecuniary damages which  I summarize below to add to this Pain and Suffering database.
The first case (Macki v. Gruber) dealt with a bus accident.   The Plaintiff’s vehicle was struck by a Greyhound bus in Duncan, BC.  Liability was contested but the Greyhound bus driver was found 100% at fault for the accident.  Paragraphs 1-60 of the case deal with the issue of fault and are worth reviewing for Mr. Justice Metzger’s discussion of credibility.  In finding the Defendant at fault the Court found that he was “careless” and that he “lied” and his evidence was rejected in all areas that it was in “conflict with the testimony of any other witness“.
The Plaintiff suffered various injuries, the most serious of which neck pain, headaches and upper back pain.  She was diagnosed with a chronic pain syndrome.  Mr. Justice Metzger assessed her non-pecuniary damages at $75,000 and in doing summarized the Plaintiff’s injuries and their effect on her life as follows:

[144] I find the chronic pain has made Ms. Mackie reclusive and morose. She has gone from a “bubbly, fun-loving, outgoing, social, interesting” person, to someone who is  anti-social, with bouts of depression and sadness. From the evidence of the plaintiff and Ms. Garnett, I find that the plaintiff defines herself as a very hardworking woman, but that the chronic pain prevents her exhibiting her previous commitment to work.

[145] This loss of enjoyment of life and identity is given considerable weight.

[146] I am satisfied the plaintiff is resilient and stoic by nature, and I do not doubt the extent of her pain and suffering. She has endured a regime of injections in order to retain some of her employment capacity. Plaintiffs are not to receive a lesser damage award because of their stoicism.

[147] I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s injuries and ongoing limitations are more like those cited in the plaintiff’s authorities and therefore I award her $75,000 in non-pecuniary damages.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

In the second case released on Friday (Dhillon v. Ashton) the Plaintiff was involved in 2 separate rear-end collisions.  Both claims were heard at the same time and fault was admitted leaving the court to deal with the sole issue of damages.

Madam Justice Ross found that the Plaintiff suffered various soft tissue injuries in each of the 2 accidents.  She awarded non-pecuniary damages in total of $25,000 for both collisions.

In assessing an award of $15,000 for non-pecuniary damages for the first accident the Court summarized the Plaintiff’s injuries as follows:

[60]         I find that Mr. Dhillon suffered soft tissue injury to his neck, right shoulder and low back in the First MVA. He suffered from headaches arising from this injury, but these resolved in a relatively short period of time. The injury to the right shoulder had essentially resolved by mid-May 2005. I find, consistent with Dr. Sandhu’s report that Mr. Dhillon was unable to work as a result of his injuries from the time of the First MVA to mid-May 2005 and then continued to suffer partial disability at work until July 2005. By July 2005 he was able to return to work without limitation. I find that his injuries from the First MVA were essentially resolved by October 2005, except for intermittent pain, consistent with Dr. Sandhu’s report. From October 2005 until the time of the First Workplace Accident, Mr. Dhillon required the use of pain medication for low back pain that was the consequence of both his prior condition and lingering consequences of the First MVA.

[61]         In the result, I find that Mr. Dhillon suffered mild to moderate soft tissue injury from the First MVA with the symptoms most significant in the first three months following the injury; with some ongoing problems for the next five months and intermittent pain thereafter. I find the appropriate amount for non-pecuniary damages for the First MVA to be $15,000.00.

In assessing non-pecuniary damages of $10,000 for the second accident Madam Justice Ross summarized the injuries it caused as follows:

[64]         I find that Mr. Dhillon suffered soft tissue injuries in the Second MVA that resulted in an exacerbation of his injuries to his neck, shoulder, and low back. He had returned to work following the Second Workplace Accident before the Second MVA, but was not able to work after this accident. He required physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment and pain medication for both the continuing injuries from the Workplace Accidents, an apparent recurrence or continuation of the right side back problem first noted in 2000, and the Second MVA. Mr. Dhillon was able to return to work part-time in November 2006 and full-time in January 2007. He requires some accommodation from his employer in terms of his duties. He continues to experience pain and requires medication to control his pain. I find that the Second MVA plays some role, albeit a minimal one, in Mr. Dhillon’s continuing symptoms, the other more significant contributors being the original complaint of low back pain, and the two Workplace Accidents.

[65]         In the circumstances, I find that $10,000.00 is an appropriate award for non-pecuniary loss for the Second MVA

ICBC Injury Claims and Credibility

Reasons for judgment were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Prince George Registry, dealing extensively with Plaintiff credibility in ICBC Injury Claims.
In today’s case (Willing v. Ayles) 2 Plaintiffs were involved in a 2005 crash that was described as a ‘significant rear end collision causing some significant physical damage to the vehicle occupied by the plaintiffs
The court found that both Plaintiffs sustained injuries and non-pecuniary damages of $20,000 and $35,000 were made for various soft tissue injuries.
The lion’s share of this 43 page judgement focuses on the Plaintiff’s credibility.  I reproduce some highlights of the courts discussion on this topic below.   Anyone interested in seeing how BC Courts deal with Plaintiff credibility in ICBC injury claims in encouraged to read this judgment in full:
[75] For reasons which will become apparent these statements are demonstrably inaccurate and untrue.  Of more concern, they appear to be repeated consistently to create a particular impression, namely that she was far more active before the accident and that her injuries had restricted her activities and resulted in a major weight gain…

[153] I am satisfied that both Dr. Haskins and Dr. McKenzie suffered in the preparation of their reports and opinions from information that was, at best, exaggerated and inaccurate.

[154] This factor alone diminishes the value of their reports and opinions but when it is combined with the absence of evidence from either family doctor the difficulties become even greater.

[155] Ms. Willing struggled to fill the void created by the absence of her family doctor by repeatedly offering her own opinions on a wide variety of topics ranging from the reason for notes found in Dr. Scott’s clinical records to the cause of her weight gain after the accident.  These opinions, though revealing, are of extremely limited evidentiary value and do not supplement the actual medical evidence before the court.

[156] In the absence of medical evidence based on a proper foundation I am not prepared to accept Ms. Willing’s opinions as to causation.  To be clear, I am satisfied that, above all, Ms. Willing demonstrated a remarkable capacity to blame the collision in question for virtually everything which crossed her path.  This included attributing her weight gain to the accident, her move to Smithers, and complaints of headaches with orgasm which appears to have surfaced on March 21, 2007, approaching two years post-accident, and that of lower back and hip pain after sex which appears to have been reported to Dr. Haskins on February 11, 2008.

[157] This penchant for exaggeration and attribution appears to have been passed on to her husband who, at least in the reports of Dr. Haskins, attributes the change from his job as a mechanic to a salesman to the after effects of his injuries.

[158] Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the evidence in this case arises again in the reports and the opinion of Dr. McKenzie about the plaintiff, Kristina Willing.

[159] This report is replete with qualifications which make it clear that Dr. McKenzie’s opinion that her reported complaints were caused by the collision in question were based on the fact that she had recovered completely from previous injuries and she was asymptomatic from the degenerative disc condition prior to the accident.

[160] Those qualifications include the following –

(a)      For approximately 10 years following her last pregnancy however she had no significant back pain;

(b)      She was involved in a previous motor vehicle accident with some neck and right shoulder pain.  By her history the neck pain completely resolved although she had some mild residual shoulder pain;

(c)      The degenerative disc disease almost assuredly pre-existed but was minimally or completely asymptomatic.

[161] It seems clear that Dr. McKenzie’s opinion as to causation, even couched as it is on the various contributing factors, is based on his acceptance of her evidence of her health and condition prior to the accident.

[162] Clinical records produced apparently from the Glover Physiotherapist Corporation (Exhibit 3, Tab 10) contain an intake form dated April 9, 2002.  The symptoms recorded include neck problems, headache and problems with her right shoulder area.  After the initial assessment Ms. Willing is recorded as attending for three treatments – April 16, 2002; April 18, 2002; and April 25, 2002, before apparently discontinuing physiotherapy.

[163] A second intake form on February 17, 2004 references an “old mva” and contains a similar pain diagram to that found in the earlier intake form.  This assessment goes on to record constant pain and a series of difficulties mainly centred on her right shoulder.

[164] On this occasion Ms. Willing apparently attended four physiotherapy treatments over a period of some 16 days from February 21, 2004 to March 9, 2004 before discontinuing her attendances.

[165] During the course of her evidence Ms. Willing was insistent that she recovered completely from these symptoms and that they had completely resolved after March 9, 2004.

[166] Coincidently her claim arising from the 2002 motor vehicle collision was settled on February 27, 2004.

[167] The third intake form is dated August 19, 2005 and follows the present collision.  The pain diagram in this case covers a somewhat larger area of the neck and upper back and includes the lower back.

[168] On this occasion Ms. Willing apparently attended on some 26 occasions from August 29, 2005 until April 7, 2006 before apparently discontinuing the treatments.

[169] Upon arriving in Smithers Ms. Willing began attending at the Bulkley Valley Chiropractic Clinic.  These attendances began on August 9, 2006 and concluded on October 18, 2006 after some 16 visits which apparently included two acupuncture sessions.

[170] On July 27, 2007 Alpine Physiotherapy in Smithers completed an initial assessment form which records, amongst other information, that she had just returned from a trip to France.

[171] The physiotherapist, Graham Pollard, notes in a letter dated July 14, 2008 that he has treated her on five occasions since her initial assessment.

[172] What is interesting about this entire sequence of events in Smithers, I hesitate to describe it as a pattern, is the gaps in what she now claims are necessary therapy treatments.

[173] When Mr. Pollard refers to five treatments after her initial assessment he is not speaking about the July 27, 2007 initial assessment, because after that assessment she did not attend a single physiotherapy treatment until she returned for another initial assessment on June 3, 2008, some eleven months later.

[174] Dealing initially with the initial assessment on July 27, 2007, this appointment took place immediately after the plaintiffs retained counsel to pursue the present claims.  The writs were prepared and signed on July 25, 2007, and they were filed and these actions commenced on July 26, 2007.  The next day she attended Alpine Physiotherapy.

[175] On June 3, 2008 she returned, was assessed and began a series of five treatments.  This followed her attendance at her examination for discovery some weeks before.

[176] Once again I am forced to conclude that this is not a pattern that supports the recital of symptoms and problems presented by Ms. Willing in her evidence.

[177] The adverse credibility findings in this case go to the heart of the factual underpinnings of Dr. McKenzie’s opinion.

[178] The absence of evidence from Dr. Scott and, indeed, from the time of the accident until Ms. Willing first saw Dr. Haskins leaves the court without any medical assessment from the time of the accident until nearly two years later.  More importantly, it leaves the court without any evidence from her doctor concerning the extent of her recovery at the time of the present accident.

[179] There is, in the body of evidence before the court, little in the way of objective evidence let alone convincing evidence of any significant injury.

[180] A medical/legal report or evidence from Dr. Scott may have provided a clearer picture and the basis for a factual finding of continuing pain and discomfort related to the accident; but we do not have the benefit of any such evidence.

[181] A decision must not be based on speculation, supposition or facts not placed in evidence.  While this may possibly result in Kristina Willing being under-compensated she has only herself to blame.

[182] The absence of evidence from Dr. Scott in this case fulfills the circumstances necessary for the drawing of an adverse inference.  The inference in this case is, that if his evidence had been called, Dr. Scott’s evidence would not have supported the ‘complete recovery’ scenario found in Ms. Willing’s evidence and on which, to a significant extent, Dr. McKenzie’s opinion is based.

Can Injuries in an ICBC Claim be Worth Less for Failing to Lose Weight?

The short answer is yes.  In BC, if a Defendant who negligently injures you can prove that the extent of your injuries would have been less if you took reasonable steps to ‘mitigate’ your loss then the value of your damages can be reduced accordingly.  This principle of law is called ‘failure to mitigate’.
Failure to mitigate can include failing to follow a reasonable treatment or rehabilitation program such as a weight loss program.  Reasons for judgment were released today by the BC Supreme Court demonstrating the ‘failure to mitigate’ principle in action.
In today’s case (Rindero v. Nicholson) the Plaintiff was injured when seated as a rear-seat passenger in a pick up truck which struck a vehicle that ran a red light.  Fault was admitted leaving the court to deal with the issue of quantum of damages (value of the Plaintiff’s injuries and loss). In assessing the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages (money for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life) at $36,000 Mr. Justice Meiklem found that the Plaintiff suffered from Patellofemoral pain (knee pain), a slight exacerbation of pre-existing post traumatic stress disorder and recovered soft tissue injuries to the neck and shoulders with accompanying headaches.
The Court found that the Plaintiff’s knee injury was the most serious of the injuries and summarized its effect on the Plaintiff’s life as follows:
The plaintiff’s knee injury is probably chronic and not likely to fully resolve. It is troublesome and painful when he stands for long periods, sits for long periods, or overextends any vigorous physical activity….The most significant limiting effect on his activities that he mentioned in relation to his knee pain was restriction on his style of big game hunting, and fishing. He hunts only from roads as opposed to hiking off into the bush as he sometimes did, and he avoids fishing areas that involve difficult access.
In arriving at the $36,000 figure the court reduced the damages by 20% for the plaintiff’s failure to mitigate, specifically the failure to lose weight which would have reduced the extent of the knee pain.  Mr. Justice Meiklem summarized and applied the law of failure to mitigate as follows:

[30] The defendants argue that the plaintiff’s failure to significantly reduce his weight has contributed to the severity and persistence of his knee pain and amounts to a failure to mitigate, which should reduce his award. There can be no doubt that the plaintiff would suffer less with knee pain that is increased with physical activity if he lost weight. The medical evidence confirms this elementary physical principle. At an estimated 265 pounds at trial he was about 25 pounds heavier than he was when examined by Dr. McKenzie in July 2008. I note that in July 2008 his left knee pain, which is his primary injury, was less prominent than his right knee pain. I appreciate that sore knees would probably make it more difficult to engage in the vigorous exercise that is usually part of a weight loss program, but the plaintiff has demonstrated that he can lose a considerable amount of weight when he changes diet and lifestyle, and that his left knee pain was lessened when he weighed less.

[31] I note that the plaintiff told Dr. McKenzie that he experienced knee pain when riding his mountain bike more than an hour as soon after the accident as June 2005, which, apart from showing that his knee injury was not very disabling,  shows that exercise is not out of the question for him. I find that the defendant has established a failure on the part of the plaintiff to mitigate his damages.

[32] The extent to which damages should be reduced is obviously not amenable to any precise calculation on these facts, but I note that in the Collyer case cited by the plaintiff, an award of $80,000 was reduced by $10,000 for a comparable failure. In the Crichton case cited by the defendants a 30% discount was applied for failure to participate in group psychotherapy sessions recommended by a psychiatrist and a family doctor, which would address an anxiety disorder and thereby assist in dealing with chronic pain. I find that a discount of 20% to the award I would otherwise make to account for failure to mitigate is appropriate.

On another note, this case contains a useful discussion of plaintiff credibility and some of the factors courts look at when gauging this.  Additionally, this case contains a very useful discussion of the law of ‘diminished earning capacity’ (future wage loss) at paragraphs 35-39.

ICBC Soft Tissue Injury Claims Round-up

On Friday the  BC Supreme Court released reasons for judgement in 2 cases dealing with soft tissue injuries which I summarize below to continue to grow this free database of ICBC Injury Claims Judgements. Additionally, both of these cases contain a useful analysis of Plaintiff credibiilty and are worth reviewing for anyone interested in this area of the law.
In the first case, Skusek v. Gill, the Plaintiff was injured in 2 BC car crashes, the first in 2000 and the second in 2006.  Liability was admitted in both cases leaving the court to deal with quantum of damages (the value of the plaintiffs injuries and losses).
The Plaintiff was 22 years old by the time of trial.  She suffered various soft tissue injuries in both collisions which did not fully resolve.  Mr. Justice McEwan of the BC Supreme Court largely accepted the evidence of Dr. Ames who summarized the Plaintiff’s injuries as follows:

[20] The plaintiff saw Dr. Janet Ames on August 22, 2007.  Dr. Ames took a history which suggested significant ongoing pain from the first accident which was seriously aggravated by the second:

After the first accident on January 12, 2000 the symptoms included headaches, neck pain, lower back pain, pain between the shoulder blades and bilateral hip pain.  She commented her entire back hurts.  At the time of the second accident she was still going for chiropractor treatment and physiotherapy.  The patient would place her recovery at about 50 percent before the second accident.

After the second accident the patient describes becoming a lot worse in all of the previously symptomatic areas and specifically the right hip became worse.  There were bruises from the seat belt.  The left anterior ribs felt “out of place” (later resolved with chiropractor care).

[21] She note the following symptoms on her examination:

1. There is pain across the low back, left greater the right.  The pain does not consistently radiate down the legs.  There is occasional pain down both anterior thighs not going past mid thigh.  There is no tingling or numbness associated with this.  There is no history of bowel or bladder control problems.  The patient describes pain in the area of the right hip and points to the lateral aspect of the hip.

2. There is pain in the mid back area, left worse than right.  This does not radiate around the chest or through to the front.  There is no history of tingling or numbness.

3. There is a history of headaches described as frontal, temporal and from neck tension.  The frequency and severity varies.  There is no pain down the arms and no tingling or numbness.  Caffeine intake is 1 c. of coffee or tea every two or three weeks and chocolate about twice a week.  The patient will be seeing a Neurologist in February 2009, arranged by Harris Johnsen.

4. The patient comments that she has a lot of stomach aches daily.

5. Sleep varies depending on the pain level.

[22] The prognosis was as follows:

The prognosis for the various injuries is good as there are no clinical findings consistent with a serious injury.  This excludes the problem with the headaches.  The patient will be assessed by a Neurologist who will comment on the diagnosis and prognosis with regards to the headaches.

Determining when the symptoms will come under good control and/or resolve is very difficult.  The patient may benefit considerably from low dose Amitriptyline to improve sleep and a consistent core stability/strengthening program with one or one supervision.  The supervision from a Pilates instructor would continue until she was on a full program and was aware of how to progress the exercises.  This usually takes about eight sessions over eight weeks.  The patient then graduates to doing the exercises on their own or joining a small group.

Damages of $50,000 were awarded for the Plaintiffs non-pecuniary loss (money for pain and suffeirng and loss of enjoyment of life) and $60,000 was awarded for the young Plaintiff’s diminished earning capacity.

Paragraphs 41-48 of this judgement are worth reviewing for anyone interested in some of the factors courts look at when weighing a Plaintiff’s credibility in soft tissue injury cases.

In the second soft tissue injury case released on Friday (Mohamadi v. Tremblay) the Plaintiff was awarded $10,000 for non-pecuniary damages as a result of injuries sustained in a 2006 BC car crash.   In valuing the Plaintiff’s injuries at this modest figure Mr. Justice Truscott of the BC Supreme Court summarized the injuries as follows:

[91] It is extremely difficult to determine the value of the plaintiff’s claims with all of the inconsistent evidence he has given and the lack of supporting evidence from his doctors.

[92] I do accept that in the motor vehicle accident of February 14, 2006 the plaintiff sustained soft tissue injuries to his neck, back and left shoulder, accompanied by headaches.

[93] I am prepared to accept that his soft tissue injuries lingered on for a period in the order of two years on a mild basis but thereafter I conclude that he had recovered with no long term consequences.

[94] I accept that his headaches lasted for a short period of time but thereafter this complaint is not supported by his physicians and I reject his evidence that his headaches continued thereafter.

This case is also worth reviewing for the court’s discussion of plaintiff credibility in soft tissue injury claims.  Many of the Plaintiff’s claims were rejected by the Court.   Specifically in paragraphs 95-113 the court gives reasons for rejecting many of the Plaintiff’s claims and these paragraphs contain a useful discussion for anyone interested in some of the factors courts consider important when weighing credibility in ICBC Injury Claims.

ICBC Soft Tissue Injury Claims, Low Velocity Impacts and Credibility

When ICBC denies compensation for an injury claim due to their LVI Program the credibility of the Plaintiff is usually put squarely at issue. In Soft Tissue Injury Claims ICBC often challenges the veracity of the Plaintiff alleging that the injuries are being exaggerated or perhaps wholly made up.
Reasons for judgement were transcribed today by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, dealing with such a defence.
In today’s case (Jezdic v. Danielisz) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2003 BC Car Crash.  The crash occurred in a parking lot and was a low velocity impact which resulted in little vehicle damage.  The Plaintiff alleged that she suffered various injuries in this collision.  Mr. Justice Sigrudson dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim finding that she ‘has not dischared the burden on her to establish on a balance of probabilities that she was injured in the car accident’.   In reaching this conclusion the Court made the following comments on credibility, low velocity impacts and soft tissue injury claims:

[30] I should consider the circumstances of the collision.  I am mindful that persistent injuries can arise from low velocity collisions.  This was a low velocity collision.  The defendant’s pickup truck was backing out of a spot two spaces (or at least one space) over from the plaintiff’s father’s vehicle.  The parking lot was slightly higher on the side where the defendant was parked, and lower on the side where the plaintiff’s vehicle was.  The accident occurred, I find, when the defendant’s vehicle backed into the plaintiff’s vehicle at an angle.  The defendant’s bumper rode up over the plaintiff’s bumper causing it to compress and split the paint on the bumper, and then the defendant’s vehicle struck the area around the trunk with the left rear corner of the defendant’s vehicle’s bumper.  The damage to the plaintiff’s father’s vehicle was to the lower part of the trunk.  The cost of repairs was $1,122 and the trunk was still operational.  There was no misalignment of the plaintiff’s bumper.

[31] I found the defendant to be a reliable witness.  The circumstances of the accident seem to accord with his evidence.  I think he was prepared to concede things when his evidence was shown to possibly be incorrect.  I accept that he was moving slowly – he described backing up at “a snail’s pace” with his foot on the brake pedal.  The evidence indicates that there were cars parked close to him that required him to move slowly as he backed out.  However, he was careless in ensuring that he did not make contact with the vehicles behind him as he was backing up.  He testified that he did not feel the impact, but agreed on cross-examination that it was possible that the plaintiff’s car moved two to three inches.

[32] Mr. Addision points to the fact that the defendant’s bumper appears lower on the left side, and the fact that there was a “wow” in the bar that attaches the bumper to the frame, but I find it extremely unlikely that those things occurred in this accident.  The accident, I find, was a very minor one with minor damage.

[33] Given the nature of the accident, it is perhaps somewhat surprising that the plaintiff says she was thrown first into the steering wheel and then back, and had immediate pain in her neck and her back.  But as has been noted, there is no rule of law or physics that a person cannot be injured in a low speed collision.  There was no expert evidence lead as to the anticipated body movement in an accident of the type that the plaintiff described.  However, I find some merit in Mr. Addison’s submission that it is probably difficult for a person to recall with any precision exactly how her body moves when she is in a collision.

[34] Although I found that Dr. Petrovic was a reasonable witness, his evidence depended on the veracity and reliability of the symptoms that were described to him by the plaintiff from time to time.

[35] Let me turn to the evidence of the plaintiff.  I have a number of concerns about the plaintiff’s evidence.  The plaintiff’s evidence contained significant inconsistencies in the manner in which she described her symptoms at trial, to her doctor and on discovery.

(a)        She testified at trial that her neck pain got better in the first eight months and there were times that she did not have neck pain, but on discovery she said that the pain in her neck was constant.

(b)        At trial, she said that the back pain was there for two years and got better, but came back depending on the weather.  However, on discovery in December 2005, more than two years after the accident, she said that the back pain was as constant and severe and had not changed since the accident.

(c)        Her description of her symptoms and their duration is inconsistent with Dr. Petrovic’s report that on July 17, 2003, three months after the accident, the plaintiff noted no neck or lower back symptomatolgy.

(d)        Her description of the fact that her injuries had resolved by about two years after the accident was inconsistent with her description to Dr Sovio in May 2007, four years after the accident, that she had pain in the back since the time of the accident.

[36] There were other aspects of the plaintiff’s evidence which were contradictory to other evidence that she gave or inconsistent with evidence that I accepted on a balance of probabilities.

(a)        Her evidence at trial was that she had spoken to Dr Petrovic’s office rather than going in, that she received the doctor’s advice from his receptionist but did not speak to him on the telephone, but on discovery I find that she said that she had spoken with the doctor on the telephone;

(b)        Her evidence about whether she was a member of the Lady Dyna-fit health club before the accident was different at trial than on discovery.  She explained her evidence at trial that before trial she went to that club on a free pass or tickets or on a promotion before the accident but the evidence of the owner Ms. Humphries suggests that the ability to use the club on that basis was quite limited.  This evidence suggested to me that on discovery and at trial she exaggerated to a degree the amount of her physical activity prior to the accident.

(c)        The plaintiff’s evidence at trial that she saw the truck moving pretty fast towards her vehicle was inconsistent with her evidence on discovery where she said that she heard the truck and did not see it.

(d)        In a statement given by the plaintiff after the accident she said that the impact moved the car she was in one meter but at trial she professed not to know how long a meter was and held her hands up four to six inches indicating that might be the distance that the car moved

(e)        She said at trial that she was upset after the accident and told the defendant it was because of the pain that she suffered but the defendant denied that she said that.  I accept the defendant’s description of the accident and of his subsequent discussion with the plaintiff.

[37] In assessing the plaintiff’s credibility I must take into account that English is not her first language, but also that she has been in Canada for ten years and appeared to me to be able to converse easily in English.  At the end of her cross-examination, she was indicating a lack of understanding of the terms and questions used during the discovery.  The plaintiff was offered an interpreter for the discovery but did not take that offer up.  Her inability to understand questions near the end of her cross-examination I found to be disingenuous.  It appeared to become an excuse that she felt she could use to fend off questions on cross-examination that she found difficult.  She appeared to be able to use the transcript from the discovery to analyze the questions for the purpose of explaining her evidence.

[38] I think that the inconsistencies in her evidence that I described are significant and are not explained by her lack of understanding of the questions on discovery or at trial.

[39] The burden is on the plaintiff to prove on a balance of probabilities that she was injured in the accident that was caused by the admitted negligence of the defendant.  Even in the absence of any objective symptoms, the court can be and often is persuaded by the evidence of the plaintiff.

[40] What is my overall assessment?  Has the plaintiff’s evidence persuaded me that she was injured, and the extent to which she was injured in the accident?

[41] I have concluded that on all the evidence that plaintiff has not discharged the burden on her to prove that she has suffered any injury in this accident.  I find the plaintiff’s evidence to be exaggerated and significantly inconsistent both internally and with facts that I find have been established such that I have serious reservations about her credibility to the extent that I can not rely on it alone to determine whether the plaintiff has discharged the burden on her to prove that she was injured in this accident.

[42] I find no support for the plaintiff’s case in the other evidence in this trial.  Dr. Petrovic’s report depends entirely on the reliability of the plaintiff’s reporting and accordingly his report can be given little weight.  I found no evidence that provided corroboration for the plaintiff’s alleged injuries.  The circumstances of the accident I find were very minor and did not provide corroboration for the injuries of the type that the plaintiff asserts.

[43] Looking at the plaintiff’s evidence in light of all of the evidence, I have concluded that the plaintiff has not discharged the burden on her to establish on a balance of probabilities that she was injured in the car accident.

[44] The plaintiff’s action must be dismissed.

ICBC Claims, Soft Tissue Injuries and Credibility

Soft tissue injuries without objective signs are some of the most frequently litigated claims.  One of the reasons why is because credibility plays a vital role in these claims and ICBC often challenges the credibility of Plaintiff’s alleging such injuries.
Reasons for judgement were released on Friday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with just such a claim.  In Friday’s case (Tayler v. Loney) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2005 BC Car Crash.  Her injuries included soft tissue injury to her neck and back.  These injuries unfortunately continued to linger for many years.  By the time of trial the Plaintiff’s pain was ongoing.  ICBC’s response to this was that the Plaintiff was no longer injured and was simply ‘lying to the court’.
Mr. Justice Grauer rejected ICBC’s position and accepted that she indeed did suffer injuries in the car crash which continued to bother her to the time of trial.  Damages of $42,500 were awarded for the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary loss (pain and suffering).  Since ICBC put the Plaintiff’s credibility squarely in issue the court had to address this head on.  In doing so the court engaged in a thoughtful discussion about credibility in ICBC injury claims where there is no objective sign of injury.  Mr. Justice Grauer summarized and applied this area of law as follows:

[65] While I have found that the plaintiff is in fact experiencing what she says she is experiencing, I also accept the weight of the medical opinion that there is no objective evidence of ongoing soft tissue injury.  In these circumstances, it is helpful to turn for guidance to the authorities to which counsel referred me, always remembering that each case turns on its own unique facts.

[66] In Butler v. Blaylock (7 October 1980), Vancouver Reg. No. B781505 (S.C.), McEachern C.J.S.C. (as he then was) remarked as follows:

I am not stating any new principle when I say 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.

An injured person is entitled to be fully and properly compensated for any injury or disability caused by the wrongdoer.  But no one can expect his fellow citizen or citizens to compensate him in the absence of convincing evidence – which could be just his own evidence if the surrounding circumstances are consistent – that his complaints of pain are true reflections of a continuing injury.

[67] Counsel for the defendant relied in particular on the judgment of Taylor J.A. for the Court of Appeal in Maslen v. Rubenstein (8 September 1993), Victoria Reg. No. V01071 (C.A.), where the court was concerned with:

… those post-traumatic phenomena – sometimes identified with and sometimes distinguished from conditions known as “idiopathic pain disorder”, “chronic (or chronic benign) pain syndrome”, “functional overlay” and “somatoform pain disorder” – which involve continued suffering in accident victims after their physical injuries have healed.

[68] At paras. 8-12, Taylor J.A. went on to describe the basic principles applicable to these “difficult cases”:

To meet the onus which lies on the plaintiff in the case of this sort, and thereby avoid the ‘ultimate risk of non-persuasion’, the plaintiff must, in my view, establish that his or her psychological problems have their cause in the defendant’s unlawful act, rather than in any desire on the plaintiff’s part for things such as care, sympathy, relaxation or compensation, and also that the plaintiff could not be expected to overcome them by his or her own inherent resources, or ‘will-power’.

If psychological problems exist, or continue, because the plaintiff for some reason wishes  to have them, or does not wish them to end, their existence or continuation must, in my view, be said to have a subjective, or internal, cause.  To show that the cause lies in an unlawful act of the defendant, rather than the plaintiff’s own choice, the plaintiff must negative that alternative.  The resolution of this issue will not involve considerations of mitigation, or lack of mitigation.  To hold otherwise, that is to say to place on the defendant the onus of proving that a plaintiff who suffers from a psychological problem had it within his or her own ability to overcome it, would be to require that the defendant, rather than the plaintiff, bear the onus of proof on the primary issue of causation, and would impose on defendants a heavy and unjustifiable burden.  If the court could not say whether the plaintiff really desired to be free of the psychological problem, the plaintiff would not, in my view, have established his or her case on the critical issue of causation.

Any question of mitigation, or failure to mitigate, arises only after causation has thus been established.

Where the court finds that psychological injury has been suffered as a result of unlawful conduct of the defendant which the plaintiff has not the ability to overcome by his or her own inherent resources, the court must then, if mitigation issues are raised, decide whether the defendant has established that by following advice which the plaintiff received or ought to have obtained, the plaintiff could have overcome the problem, or could in future overcome it….  Where appropriate remediable measures would resolve the problem, damages can, of course, be awarded only in respect of the period up to the date when, in the estimation of the fact-finder, the problem ought to have been resolved, or ought to be resolved.

Once the principles to be applied are recognized, the rest is a matter for the fact-finder to determine on the basis of the evidence in the case, and it is for this reason that I find little guidance in many of the decisions cited.

[69] Plaintiff’s counsel relied heavily on the judgment of Spencer J. In Netter v. Baas (14 February 1995), Vancouver Reg. No. B930557 (S.C.), where the learned judge commented as follows:

Over the ensuing 33 months, no doctors save one, has been able to find a satisfactory objective cause for [the plaintiff’s] continuing pain related to this accident.  All the doctors who filed reports agree that he suffered soft tissue injury and resulting pain, but none explains why the pain should have been so severe and lasted so long.  This is the classic case of the plaintiff without objective symptoms who claims an almost total disability from his former physical occupations….

Such cases invite skepticism on the part of the defendant who is asked to pay for such an extreme result.  But this is a plaintiff who claims a formerly very physical lifestyle in the outdoors.  Although he worked in a sawmill in town for the year preceding the accident, much of his life to age 37 had been spent outdoors as a driller-blaster, a prospector and part-time farmer.  His hobbies involve the outdoors too, camping, canoeing, hiking and fishing.  Some of the doctors who examined him remarked upon his strength and build.  Would such a person willingly abandon the lifestyle he had previously embraced for the sake of the chance of an exaggerated accident claim?  There are cases where plaintiffs have done that but generally there is evidence from which that can be determined.  No evidence was called to challenge the accuracy of this evidence about his previous lifestyle.

[70] Turning to the present case, there is, as I have noted, no doubt that the plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck, shoulders, upper and lower back, causing pain, headaches and disability.  I have also found that although she genuinely continues to experience pain and disability, there is no objective evidence of continuing injury.  There is no muscle-wasting, atrophy or limitation of motion, and she has been observed to be capable of spontaneous movements inconsistent with continuing physical injury.

[71] What, then, is the explanation for the delay in the plaintiff’s recovery?  On the evidence before me, I conclude that the answer lies in a combination of factors, identified by both Dr. Yuzak and Dr. Teal, although in different ways.  Dr. Teal described it as a psychological predisposition to the effects of trauma, noting her five previous motor vehicle accidents, and her profession.  Dr. Yuzak referred to the three complicating factors of her five previous accidents, her status as a health practitioner, and an environment that was not conducive to healing.  I find that all of these have played a part, and explain why the plaintiff has not recovered as one might otherwise have expected.

[72] I do not consider that this psychological and circumstantial predisposition has a subjective, or internal, cause in the sense of being the plaintiff’s own choice, as discussed in the Maslencase.  Rather, it is the effect of the defendant’s unlawful conduct upon the plaintiff’s pre-existing state that has resulted in the circumstances in which the plaintiff now finds herself, subject to the issue of mitigation.  I do not accept that the stresses in the plaintiff’s life since the accident constitute a novus actus interveniens, as submitted by the defendant.  Those stresses are of the sort that many people experience, and but for her injuries, would not in my view have caused the plaintiff any loss.

[73] Accordingly, I find that the plaintiff has established that her ongoing state of experiencing pain and disability was caused by the defendant’s negligence.

BC Personal Injury Claims Round-Up

On Friday the BC Supreme Court released reasons for judgement dealing with awards for pain and suffering in 3 separate motor vehicle accident cases.
In my continued efforts to create an easy to access data-base of ICBC related claims for pain and suffering here are the highlights of these cases:
In the first case (Driscoll v. Desharnais) the Plaintiff suffered soft tissue injuries to his neck, back and shoulder in a 2003 BC motor vehicle collision.  In justifying an award for non-pecuniary damages (pain and suffering) of $55,000 the court summarized the injuries and their effect on the Plaintiff’s life as follows:

[101]        The trial occurred about five years following the accident.  Mr. Driscoll continues to suffer pain, significant sleep disturbance, and restrictions on his activities.  He is stoic and is inclined to push through pain until it becomes intolerable.  He has a reduced capacity to work, and despite his preference for working alone, he cannot operate his business without hiring other workers.  He is no longer able to participate in some of the activities he enjoyed, such as motorcycle riding, full-contact ball hockey, golf, and rough-housing with his children.  

[102]        The evidence demonstrated on a balance of probabilities that these problems were caused by the accident.  Although Mr. Driscoll had received physiotherapy prior to the accident, the treatments were all at least 18 months prior to the accident, and were for short periods.  All the problems had resolved prior to the accident.  The injury he suffered on the toboggan appeared to be a brief flare-up of his back symptoms, rather than a new injury.

A highlight of this decision for me was the court’s discussion of credibility.  One of the tricks of the trade for ICBC defence lawyers in ICBC Soft Tissue Injury Claims is to challenge the credibility of the Plaintiff.   That appeared to be a tactic employed in this case and the Defendant asked the court to consider the following well-known principle often cited in ICBC Soft Tissue Injury Cases:

[6]                The case of Price v. Kostryba (1982)70 B.C.L.R. 397 (S.C.), is often cited as a reminder of the approach the court must take to assessing injuries which depend on subjective reports of pain.  I quote portions of pages 397-399 of those reasons for judgment:

The assessment of damages in a moderate or moderately severe whiplash injury is always difficult because plaintiffs, as in this case, are usually genuine, decent people who honestly try to be as objective and as factual as they can. Unfortunately, every injured person has a different understanding of his own complaints and injuries, and it falls to judges to translate injuries to damages.

Perhaps no injury has been the subject of so much judicial consideration as the whiplash. Human experience tells us that these injuries normally resolve themselves within six months to a year or so. Yet every physician knows some patients whose complaint continues for years, and some apparently never recover. For this reason, it is necessary for a court to exercise caution and to examine all the evidence carefully so as to arrive at a fair and reasonable compensation. Previously decided cases are some help (but not much, because obviously every case is different). …

In Butler v. Blaylock, decided 7th October 1981, Vancouver No. B781505 (unreported), I referred to counsel’s argument that a defendant is often at the mercy of a plaintiff in actions for damages for personal injuries because complaints of pain cannot easily be disproved. I then said:

I am not stating any new principle when I say 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.

An injured person is entitled to be fully and properly compensated for any injury or disability caused by a wrongdoer. But no one can expect his fellow citizen or citizens to compensate him in the absence of convincing evidence — which could be just his own evidence if the surrounding circumstances are consistent – that his complaints of pain are true reflections of a continuing injury.

Fortunately for the Plaintiff a positive finding was made as to his reliability and damages were assessed accordingly.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

The second case released on Friday (Eccleston v. Dresen) involved a 2002 collision which took place in Salmon Arm, BC.  The injuries included chronic soft tissue injuries of moderate severity and a chronic pain syndrome.  Both liability and quantum of damages (value of the ICBC Injury Claim) were at issue.   The Plaintiff was found 60% at fault for the collision.

In assessing the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages at $108,000 Mr. Justice Barrow made the following findings:

[127]        I am satisfied that the plaintiff suffered a moderate soft tissue injury to her neck and upper back.  Further, I am satisfied that she developed and continues to suffer chronic pain as a result.  I am also satisfied that she is depressed and that the proximate cause of her depression is the pain she experiences.

[128]        I am not satisfied that her complaints of pain are motivated by any secondary gain; rather, I am satisfied that she has met the onus of establishing that, as Taylor J.A. in Maslen v. Rubenstein (1993), 83 B.C.L.R. (2d) 131, 33 B.C.A.C. 182, at para. 8 put it:

…her psychological problems have their cause in the defendant’s unlawful act, rather than in any desire on the plaintiff’s part for things such as care, sympathy, relaxation or compensation, and also that the plaintiff could not be expected to overcome them by his or her own inherent resources, or ‘will-power’.

[129]        Further, I am satisfied that the plaintiff’s condition is likely permanent; although it is more likely than not that it will moderate if she follows the advice of Dr. O’Breasail.  He is of the view that with intensive psychotherapy for at least a year, followed by two further years of less intensive therapy coupled with a review of her medications and particularly anti-depressant medication, there is some hope that she will either experience less pain or be better able to cope with the pain she does experience, or both.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

The final motor vehicle accident case addressing pain and suffering released on Friday (Murphy v. Jagerhofer) involved a Plaintiff who was injured in a 2004 rear end collision in Chilliwack, BC.   The injuries included a moderate to severe whiplash injury with associated chronic pain, disturbed sleep and headaches.  In justifying a non-pecuniary damages award of $100,000 Mr. Justice Warren made the following factual findings after a summary trial pursuant to Rule 18-A:

[112]        The issue of causation in this case is determined by applying the factors in Athey.  Here the defendants argue that there were pre-existing conditions that would have affected the plaintiff in any event.  I disagree.  I find on the evidence of both Dr. Porter and Dr. Bishop that the plaintiff was asymptomatic of the complaints he now has which have arisen from the injuries he suffered in this accident.  Using the rather macabre terms found in other cases, this plaintiff had a “thin skull” rather than a “crumbling skull” and on my reading of those medical opinions I prefer, I find there was no “measurable risk that the pre-existing condition would have detrimentally affected the plaintiff in the future. . . .” Athey, per Major, J. at para. 35. 

[113]        Accordingly, I find that the presenting complaints of the plaintiff were caused by the negligence of the defendant driver and I turn to address the issue of appropriate compensation.  In this, I am strongly influenced by the opinions of Drs. Porter and Longridge and the opinion of Mr. Koch.  The plaintiff suffered a moderate to severe whiplash type injury which had a significant physical and emotional effect upon him some of which have persisted to the day of trial and will continue into the future.  The back and neck pain caused him considerable pain and caused sleeplessness, headaches and general body pain for which he was prescribed pain medication.  Many of these symptoms continued well into 2005 despite his participation in a Work Hardening Programme in the fall of 2004.  I accept that he has tried every mode in an effort to alleviate his symptoms.  In his opinion, Dr. Bishop dismissed passive therapies, but I conclude it was understandable that the plaintiff would follow other professional advice and give these therapies every chance to help.  I say that with the exception of the later cortisone injections, which are painful and of very limited result, and also the later chiropractic attention.

[114]        Added to his back and neck pain, the plaintiff has experienced some hearing loss, tinnitus and episodes of dizziness.  These are frustrating and to some extent debilitating.  He also has jaw, or temporal mandibular joint arthralgia and myofascial pain.  He was given an oral appliance which he is to wear on a daily basis yet he continues to experience jaw stiffness and fatigue. 

[115]        It is understandable that these conditions have affected him emotionally.  The opinion of Mr. Koch corroborates the plaintiff’s evidence.  I accept the opinion of Mr. Koch that the plaintiff “downplays” the difficulties in his life and that the plaintiff has a phobia of motor vehicle travel, post-traumatic stress disorder and related repressive symptoms. 

I hope these case highlights continue to be a useful resource for my readers in helping learn about the value of non-pecuniary damages in ICBC Injury Claims.  As always, I welcome any feedback from all my visitors.

$75,000 Non-Pecuniary Damages for Chronic Neck/Back Pain and Headaches

Reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court awarding a Plaintiff just over $190,000 in damages as a result of 3 motor vehicle collisions.
The Plaintiff was 23 years old at the time of trial.  He was injured in 3 collisions, the first of which occured when he was only 10 years old.
The Plaintiff was not at fault for any of the collisions and the week long trial focussed on the issue of damages (that is, the value of the Plaintiff’s ICBC claims).
The medical evidence presented established that the plaintiff suffered from neck pain, upper back pain and headaches and that these symptoms have lasted for more than 10 years.  The court accepted that the Plaintiff’s injuries still have room for ‘considerable improvement with continued focussed and supervised exercise.’ However the court also found that the synptoms would probably never completely resolve.
Damages were awarded as follows:

Non-pecuniary damages                                            $ 75,000

Loss of Earning Capacity                                           $100,000

Cost of Future Care                                                    $  12,650

Special Damages                                                       $    3,570

Past Income Loss                                                       $       698

ICBC claims involving soft tissue injuries and headaches are often based laregely on subjective findings.  That is, often times in these cases one cannot point to an X-ray, MRI or other diagnosistic study that will prove or dis-prove the injury.  Thus the credibility of the claimiant is a vital factor in the success/failure of many of these types of cases.
Here, Mr. Justice Smith found that the Plaintiff was credible and that the injuries were genuine.  Specifically he noted that: 
[19]            The opinions of both Dr. McGraw and Dr. Watt are based primarily on the plaintiff’s description of his subjective symptoms.  There have been few objective physical findings.  However, I found the plaintiff to be a forthright, intelligent, highly motivated young man and I accept his evidence that he has suffered ongoing, although not disabling, pain for 13 years as a result of the first accident, with increased pain and discomfort as a result of the second accident that lasted three years.  It is to the plaintiff’s credit that he has been willing to accept that pain and carry on with most activities.
 

Appeal of $70,000 Soft Tissue Injury Claim Dismissed

In reasons for judgement released today, the BC Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal of a $70,000 award of damages as a result of 2004 BC car accident.
The case possibly fit into ICBC’s LVI criteria based on the fact that the trial judge found that the ‘force applied to the Plaintiff as a resultof the collisions to her rear was actually very little indeed.’
The Plaintiff sued claiming various injuries including soft tissue injury, depression, anxiety, irremediable personality change, brain damage, concussion, post-consussion syndromne, post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain syndrome.  The Trial Judge recjected the medical diasnoses of brain injury, PTSD and post-concussion Syndrome.  In rejecting some of the alleged injuries the trial judge found that the Plaintiff was ‘unreliable’ as a witness.
The Plaintiff sought damages of over $1.7 Million.  Given the trial judges findings a total of $70,000 in damages was awarded.
The Plaintiff appealed arguing tha the trial judge disregarded the evidence of four lay witnesses and three expert witnesses.  The Plaintiff also argued that the trial judge should have confronted the Plaintiff during the trial to address the court’s concerns with her reliability.
The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal.  In doing so the court found that the trial judge did not disregard the evidence and had this to say about ‘confronting’ the Plaintiff

(a)  Confronting the Plaintiff

[33]            The plaintiff maintains that the rule established in the case of Browne v. Dunn (1893), 6 R. 67 (H.L.) applies to trial judges as well as opposing parties.  The rule is that “if you intend to impeach a witness you are bound, whilst he is in the box, to give him an opportunity of making any explanation which is open to him” (at 70).  The plaintiff says that, before determining that the plaintiff was lying, the trial judge was required to put that proposition to the plaintiff while she was testifying.

[34]            The plaintiff cites no authority to the effect that the rule in Browne v. Dunn applies to judges.  This is hardly surprising because such a rule would be antithetical to the role of a judge in Canada.  In this country, we have an adversarial system, not an inquisitorial one.

[35]            Such a rule would be unworkable with respect to judges in our system.  Judges are required to be fair and impartial, and are expected to hear all of the evidence before making final decisions on the credibility of witnesses.  They should not be required to confront a witness if they are concerned that there is any possibility that, after hearing all of the evidence, they may not accept all of the testimony given by the witness.

[36]            The rule in Browne v. Dunn is not suited for application to judges.  The rule stipulates that if the opposing party is intending to introduce evidence contradicting the testimony of a witness, such evidence should be put to the witness so that he or she will have an opportunity to provide an explanation.  What is being suggested in this case is not that anticipated evidence be put to the witness, but that the judge should confront the witness with the possibility that the judge may conclude that the witness is not credible.  That is not the rule in Browne v. Dunn – the rule does not require opposing counsel to confront a witness with the proposition that the witness is being untruthful before making submissions to the judge at the end of the trial that the witness should be found not to be credible.

[37]            In addition, the rule in Browne v. Dunn has not been treated as an absolute rule.  Evidence contradicting a witness’s testimony may be admitted despite a failure to put it to the witness, and the failure goes to the weight to be given to the evidence.  This feature of the rule is not adaptable to judges.

[38]            The plaintiff says the case of Volzhenin v. Haile, 2007 BCCA 317, 70 B.C.L.R. (4th) 15, is an example of what a trial judge is supposed to do in confronting a witness about whose credibility the judge has reservations.  The ground of appeal in that case was that the plaintiff had not been given a fair trial because, among other things, “the trial judge intervened excessively, thus giving an inquisitorial aspect to the trial that detracted from the disinterested and impartial hearing to which he was entitled” (paragraph 14).  In dismissing the appeal, this Court was not recommending the approach taken by the judge in that case.  It simply held that the judge had not “improperly interjected himself into the hearing, or otherwise created an appearance of an unfair trial” (paragraph 25).  Indeed, Volzhenin v. Haile illustrates the type of problem that could arise if judges were required to confront witnesses about their veracity.

 

ICBC Claims and Credibility

Interesting reasons for judgement were handed down today following a 2 day trial in Vancouver.
The Plaintiff was a passenger on a bus.  The bus was involved in a collision in 2005.  Fault for the accident was admitted by the negligent motorist.  Upon impact the Plaintiff apparently ‘fell from his seat behind the driver of the bus onto the floor, allegedly injuring his hips and shoulder’.
In most ICBC claims the credibility of the injured party is of great imporatance.  In this case the Plaintiff’s credibiilty was closely scrutinized.  In the course of advancing his ICBC claim he gave false information to ICBC contrary to s. 42.1(2)(a) of the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act.  He was charged for this, plead guilty and was fined.
The Plaintiff admitted that he had lied to various persons including officials from ICBC, to his family doctor and to his phyisiotherpist.  During his examination for discovery the Plaintiff admitted to lying at least 6 times.
Notwithstanding all of this, the court found that the Plaintiff suffered a shoulder injury in the bus accident.  MR. Justice made the following findings:
[39] In light of the history of this claim, Gabrilo’s admitted lies, and conviction for those lies, I accept that the evidence concerning the present claim must be carefully, if not scrupulously, examined.  On balance, however, I accept that Gabrilo hurt his shoulder in the Accident.  ….
[46] In summary, the Plaintiff is entitled to damages arising from the Accident.  I am satisfied that the claim arising from his shoulder injury is one that, in the ordinary course of events, would likely have resolved by trial.  While he may have ongoing symptoms, it has not been shown that these symptoms were caused by the original Accident.  Thus, in my view, he is entitled to damages based only on a claim where the symptoms would have resolved by trial.
The court awarded $13,000 for the Plaintiff’s non-pecuniary damages.
This case is worth reading for anyone interested in how issues of credibility come into play when advancing an ICBC claim.

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