This unrepresented personal injury claimant was a passenger involved in a car accident for which fault was admitted. At the Vancouver trial the Judge awarded the claimant $25,000 for pain and suffering, $2,066 for lost wages, and $1,084.45 in out of pocket expenses, much less than she sought. The claimant therefore appealed alleging that the trial judge was wrong in his factual conclusions concerning her credibility, the nature of her injuries, and the extent to which the injuries impaired her ability to maintain her employment (Gulbrandsen v. Mohr, 2014 BCCA 359 ).
The claimant did not hire a personal injury lawyer for her appeal, although she was represented at her trial. The basis of her appeal was that the Judge erred in the findings of fact he made. The law in British Columbia is however clear, unless it could be said that, on the evidence properly adduced, it was not open to him to conclude as he did without making what is said to be a palpable and overriding error, the Court of Appeal cannot interfere with the decision of a trial judge.
As the Court of Appeal put it, “No such error can be said to have been made here. There is, in my respectful view, no error in the judge’s reasoning or the factual conclusions he made.” What the claimant was effectively seeking was to have the lawsuit retried, which cannot be done on an appeal of a matter.
The claimant then applied to adduce considerable documentation as fresh evidence. However, all of the evidence was available to her before the trial and was not properly admissible. Her appeal was dismissed and costs awarded against her.
Pursuing a personal claim without a lawyer may cost sound less costly but for this unfortunate claimant it will mean paying the costs for an appeal. For a personal injury case in which the court awards $30,000.00 a lost appeal can easily result in a claimant owing more in costs than the value of the award.
If you are dealing with your ICBC injury claim without a lawyer, watch our short video to learn about the option of hiring a personal injury lawyer:
Posted by Vancouver Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.
ISSUE: Should free legal representation be provided by the government for victims of personal injury?