This appeal by ICBC from a $1 million personal injury award reiterates the old adage that a judge is entitled to accept all, some or none of a witness’ evidence. A judge is not obliged to identify and discuss every piece of evidence related to factual deliberations in reasons for judgment; nor are they required to identify and resolve every inconsistency in the evidence.
The claimant was involved in five car accidents, one causing a stroke and two causing no injury. The first car accident minor two‑car collision causing his head to undergo a whiplash-like motion. The claimant and other driver both reported the accident to ICBC. The second accident was a minor collision and caused no damage to either vehicle. The third accident exacerbated his previous injuries as well as back pain. The a fourth accident worsened his symptoms but was a fifth accident that did not result in any further injury and was not material to the issues on appeal.
The judge determined that the stroke caused by MVA#1 constituted a divisible injury. The aggravation of the injuries in MVAs #3 and #4, were however indivisible and the defendants jointly liable. The first car accident was responsible for 90% of the damages and the second and third accidents responsible for 10%.
In dismissing the appeal the Court of Appeal stated at paragraph 26:
Reasons are adequate if they: (a) justify and explain the result, (b) tell the losing parties why they lost, (c) allow for appellate review, and (d) satisfy the public that justice has been done: F.H. v. McDougall, 2008 SCC 53 at para. 98. Reasons may be inadequate if they show the judge did not address important contradictions or ignored portions of a witness’ testimony: Mariano v. Campbell, 2010 BCCA 410 at para. 50.(McKenzie v. Lloyd,2018 BCCA 289)
The appellants, ICBC insured, launched a wholesale attack on the claimant’s credibility. The attack focused, in part, on involvement in a complicated series of real estate transactions involving his grandmother. The purpose of this attack was to suggest that the claimant was motivated by a desire for financial gain in pursuing the lawsuit and that he was stressed and depressed before the accident. The judge accepted the depression pre-dated the accidents but the argument failed in part because the claimant’s knowledge of the ensuing litigation were largely collateral.
This ICBC appeal was dismissed and adds very little to the law.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.