In a recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case, inconsistent statements from the defendant led to the courts adopting the plaintiff’s account of events:
This case involved a motor vehicle accident in an intersection. A northbound car was struck by a westbound car. At issue was the colour of the light as the cars entered the intersection.
This is a common issue in personal injury cases. Many car accidents occur in intersections. The colour of the traffic lights dictates who has the right of way. Unless witnesses or cameras were present at the scene of the accident, the courts are often forced to rely on the credibility of the parties to determine what colour the light actually was.
One of the easiest ways to destroy your own credibility is to give inconsistent statements. In this case, the defendant gave three separate statements: to ICBC, during their discovery, and at court. As a result his evidence was rejected in favour of the plaintiff’s.
An inconsistent statement is not always intentional either. It can be difficult to remember details and providing evidence is always a stressful process. Statements about seemingly meaningless and trivial details can come back to haunt you and destroy your case. Once again, this highlights the importance of seeking competent and timely legal advice.