When a personal injury case goes to court, the amount of an award will be dictated largely on who the courts find more credible. In cases involving motor vehicle accidents, the issue of credibility can be particularly important to several live issues, including: who was responsible for the accident; to what extent was the plaintiff injured; and whose medical experts are more credible.
The issue of credibility is complicated. Merely because you think you are telling the truth, that does not make you credible. The issue of credibility was dealt with in a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case, when the judge was left with the task of weighing the medical evidence provided by the injured party vs the evidence provided by ICBC:
The courts will take into account the many factors when assessing the value of a witness’s testimony, including:
- The ability and opportunity to actually observe events;
- The firmness of their memory;
- The ability of a witness to resist the influence of interest to modify their recollection;
- Whether the witness’s evidence harmonizes with other evidence;
- Whether the witness changes their evidence;
- Whether the witness’s evidence seems unreasonable, unlikely, or impossible;
- The demeanour of the witness; and
- Whether the witness has a motivation to lie.
From the perspective of a person who has been injured in a motor vehicle accident, the best thing you can do is speak to a lawyer right away. The lawyer will be able to communicate with ICBC on your behalf. This will ensure that you do not accidentally give a statement that can be used against you. A lawyer working on a contingency fee will also be able to help you fund your case and be able to recommend experienced medical experts.
Additionally, you should seek medical attention immediately. Not only will this give you the best chance of recovering from your injuries, but it will build evidence that will be able to help you get a fair settlement later on.