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Tag: Kartouchine v. Coons

Vague Evidence Leads to Significant Rejection of Injury Claim

In a demonstration that detailed evidence is important when advancing a personal injury claim for damages at trial, reasons for judgemet were published last week by the BC Supreme Court, New Westminster Registry, largely rejecting a claim due to “vague” plaintiff evidence.
In last week’s case (Kartouchine v. Coons) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2005 collision.  He suffered soft tissue injuries and sought approximately $70,000 in damages at trial.  Madam Justice Griffin rejected much of the Plaintiff’s claim and assessed modest non-pecuniary damages of $2,000.  In addressing the lack of detailed evidence the Court provided the following feedback:
[16]         Also starkly absent is what happened between the accident and the date of his affidavit of October 5, 2011.  Has he always had these periodic episodes of pain?  How often are they?  How is his lifestyle impacted?  How active is he day-to-day?  How do we know something else in his life or job has not occurred to cause these episodes? 
[17]         In short, the evidence of the plaintiff is so vague that it does not permit me to draw any conclusions in respect of the duration or severity of ongoing injuries.  He has not supplied sufficient detail to enable me to assess the probability that what he asserts is true.  His affidavit is an outline only which is not coloured in. 
[18]         Plaintiff’s counsel submits at para. 127 of the written submission:
127.     The medical expert reports document the plaintiff’s injuries showing several years of pain and stiffness which is intermittent but at times quite severe.  The affidavit of the plaintiff documents a continuing struggle over six-and-a-half years and his efforts at mitigation. 
[19]         I must take these submissions as rhetorical hyperbole rather than evidence?based. 
[20]         The medical evidence such as it is, does not support the plaintiff’s submissions.  The plaintiff does attach clinical records to his affidavit but these are largely illegible.  Nowhere in his affidavit does he say that the records accurately record his visits to doctors or his complaints made to the doctors.  There is no evidence that the clinical records accurately record observations made by the physicians either.  Simply appending them to his affidavit does not establish the truth of their contents.  I find them to be completely useless to support his case. ..
[42]         In conclusion, I do not find there to be sufficient medical evidence to persuade me that the collision caused the plaintiff to suffer long-term injuries causing him continued pain and suffering and the loss of enjoyment of life. 
[43]         Considering the factors influencing an award of non-pecuniary damages, I find that the evidence only supports the conclusion that the plaintiff suffered some minor inconvenience and discomfort as of the date of the accident when he felt it necessary to see his medical doctor.  I therefore award him $2,000 in non-pecuniary damages.