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Surrey Personal Injury Lawyers Plaintiff Credibility

Our Surrey ICBC and personal injury lawyers at 303-15240 56th Avenue and 152nd, 604-576-5400, warn our clients who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident in BC, that you can expect that ICBC will scrutinize the credibility of all aspects of your claim, including your version of the accident, your claimed injuries and the accident’s financial impact on your life. An experienced personal injury lawyer will assist you with your insurance claim so that the defendant and the court will accept your version of events.

Because settlement negotiations and especially court trials typically take place years after the accident, it is essential that you document everything and communicate regularly with your doctors about how the accident has impacted your mental and physical health.

Recently in Midgley v. Nguyen, 2013 BCSC 693, ICBC defence urged the Court to find that the Plaintiff had fabricated many aspects of his evidence and exaggerated the severity of his injuries. Although his car sustained no visible damage after being rear-ended, the Plaintiff continued to suffer from a lumbar spine injury, chronic pain disorder, depression and anxiety, more than 8 years after the accident. During this 27-day trial the plaintiff was grilled by defence lawyers on details of the accident, his experience as a kickboxing instructor, his income, and his ability to work after the accident.

Justice Dardi noted that assessment of the Plaintiff’s credibility and reliability “is key in determining the causation of his injuries and the nature and severity of those injuries”.

[20] The court summarized the factors to be considered in the assessment of credibility in Bradshaw v. Stenner, 2010 BCSC 1398 at para. 186, aff’d 2012 BCCA 296:

186 Credibility involves an assessment of the trustworthiness of a witness’ testimony based upon the veracity or sincerity of a witness and the accuracy of the evidence that the witness provides (Raymond v. Bosanquet (Township) (1919), 59 S.C.R. 452, 50 D.L.R. 560 (S.C.C.)). The art of assessment involves examination of various factors such as the ability and opportunity to observe events, the firmness of his memory, the ability to resist the influence of interest to modify his recollection, whether the witness’ evidence harmonizes with independent evidence that has been accepted, whether the witness changes his testimony during direct and cross-examination, whether the witness’ testimony seems unreasonable, impossible, or unlikely, whether a witness has a motive to lie, and the demeanour of a witness generally (Wallace v. Davis (1926), 31 O.W.N. 202 (Ont. H.C.); Faryna v. Chorny, [1952] 2 D.L.R. 354 (B.C.C.A.) [Faryna]; R. v. S.(R.D.), [1997] 3 S.C.R. 484 at para. 128 (S.C.C.)). Ultimately, the validity of the evidence depends on whether the evidence is consistent with the probabilities affecting the case as a whole and shown to be in existence at the time (Faryna at para. 356).

Justice Dardi ultimately concluded that the Plaintiff was a credible witness and who had not exaggerated or deliberately intended to deceive court. After seeing a multitude of health care providers over a period of 8 years since the accident, it was inevitable that there was some difference between doctor’s written notes and the Plaintiff’s testimony during a prolonged trial. The Plaintiff’s testimony regarding his injuries was accepted and he was awarded damages in excess of $550,000.

If you have been injured call us at 604-576-5400 to meet with our senior Surrey Personal Injury Lawyers.

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