Recent Supreme Court of British Columbia case illustrates the need for competent legal representation.

This case featured a plaintiff with injuries arising from two accidents: one occurring on August 27, 2010; and the second on September 1, 2010. These two accidents occurred less than a week apart and almost 6 years ago. The plaintiff was alleging that these accidents had resulted in soft tissue injuries to his neck, shoulders, and back, which had hampered his ability to work and left him with a reduced capacity to work.

In this case, the evidence lead by the plaintiff “was confined to his evidence, that of a co-worker, his brother and his former chiropractor“. What this did was put extra emphasis on the credibility of the plaintiff. In other words, the plaintiff did not have proper expert evidence to corroborate the substantial claims he was making, and the judge was forced to rely more on the credibility of the witness than he otherwise would have. As the plaintiff had a history of under reporting his income in order to qualify for more social assistance, his credibility was going to be a severe issue for him and the judge approached his evidence with “great scepticism and care“.

Additionally, the plaintiff himself was not qualified to make a diagnosis of the types of injury(ies) that would lead to a long term disability, and he failed to produce any experts providing this kind of opinion. In order to make a claim for long term disability, it typically requires retaining multiple medical experts as well as functional and vocation experts. The judge found the plaintiff’s evidence, that he had hear of a similar case in the news settling for $1,000,000, inadequate. Ultimately, the plaintiff was awarded $15,000 for non-pecuniary damages, $3,788 for special damages (special damages typically consist of treatment costs), and dismissed the rest of the plaintiff’s claim.

This case may represent an extreme example, but most certainly illustrates the value of an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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