This BC Court of Appeal personal injury case is another example of just how important an ICBC statement is in a car accident lawsuit(Power v. White, 2012 BCCA 197). The Court upheld the decision of the Supreme Court of BC finding the rearending driver fully at fault despite the injury claimant having swerved and braked in front of him trying to avoid a deer. Take a read of my review of the Supreme Court decision, deer in the road. The ICBC, Insurance Corporation of British Columbia, statement of the at fault driver was instrumental in finding him at fault for the accident.
The trial judge found that the driver ought to have had time to stop his pick-up truck and Uhual before rear-ending the claimant’s car had he  braked sooner or if he had been travelling at a slower speed when towing a trailer without brakes. 
In dismissing the Appeal the Court  stated at paragraph 49:

In light of the appellant’s statement to ICBC and his testimony just quoted, I am of the view that this is not a case in which it is plain and obvious that the judge misapprehended the evidence about when and where the appellant first saw the deer.  Under the standard of review jurisprudence, it is clear that an appellate court may not interfere with a trial judge’s conclusions on matters of fact unless there is a palpable and overriding error.  As Housennotes in paragraph 1, that same proposition is sometimes stated “as prohibiting an appellate court from reviewing a trial judge’s decision if there was some evidence upon which he or she could have relied to reach that conclusion.”  The appellant’s statement to ICBC, confirmed as accurate during cross-examination, along with his trial testimony referred to above, constitutes an evidentiary basis for the judge’s conclusion that the appellant saw the deer before the respondent began to turn into the right lane.

The Appellant also tried unsuccessfully to have the expert engineering evidence thrown out. In upholding the trial judge’s reliance on this evidence the Court found,

[66]  In my opinion, Dr. Toor’s reliance on the literature in relation to the coefficient of friction to determine the deceleration of the appellant’s vehicle on the roadway is unobjectionable.  To support an opinion, expert witnesses are permitted to refer to authoritative works in their field of expertise.  In this case, no challenge to the particular research literature to which Dr. Toor referred was made.  The appellant’s expert did not question the contents of the published research on which Dr. Toor relied, nor did Mr. Harper take issue with the opinion Dr. Toor expressed based on the effect of road friction on deceleration.

Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness B.A., LL.B.

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