In a dramatic turn-around the Court of Appeal has allowed the appeal and set aside the order below dismissing this personal injury case . The car accident was at a very low speed and resulted in only approximately $100 in damage to the bumper of the claimant’s van. The defendant’s car was behind the claimant’s van in a line leaving Guildford Mall when the claimant was rear-ended.
The trial judge, despite dismissing the claim, acknowledged that very minor impacts may cause injury. In an important statement regarding credibility and low impact collisions the Court of Appeal made very clear:
It does not necessarily follow that exaggerating the force of the collision meant that she was unreliable in respect of whether she had suffered some injury at the time and remained symptomatic. No doubt, unreliability about one thing can undermine reliability about everything, but the reasons do not disclose whether this was the judge’s view. In my view, the failure in the reasons to offer at least some indication of why the judge concluded that exaggerating the force of the impact justified a wholesale rejection of the plaintiff’s evidence, if that is what he did, reinforces the conclusion that the reasons for judgment are inadequate.(Andraws v. Anslow,2016 BCCA 51).
The trial judge ignored findings of muscle spasm, clear signs of objective injury, and the evidence of the claimant’s husband without giving any explanation as to why this evidence was rejected. The injuries claimed were essentially soft tissue injuries, whiplash and headaches.
The appeal was allowed. The order of the trial judge was set aside and a new trial ordered. It was also ordered that that claimant have her costs of the appeal and that the costs of the trial will be “in the cause” of the new trial. “In the cause” means that if she wins her second trial she will get all the costs of the first trial.
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.