20 Jun Lay Witnesses are Very Important

We cannot stress enough how helpful friends and family can be to your personal injury case.  If their testimony corroborates yours, it can have a significant impact on the outcome of your case.

In Olson v. Yelland, 2016 BCSC 216, the Plaintiff was a 44 year old clothing store manager.  The Plaintiff had a history of health issues with her left knee and low back.  About three months before her car accident, she injured her lower back and left shoulder at work when a shelf and pole gave way and fell on her.  The Plaintiff claimed the subsequent car accident caused soft tissue injuries to her neck, left shoulder, mid-back and aggravated her knee symptoms, leading to a chronic pain condition and depression.

At trial, the Plaintiff called expert witnesses but did not call any friends or family as witnesses.  As a result, there was no lay witness testimony to support how much she claimed the car accident had affected her life.  The Judge took note of this and stated at paragraph 128:

“In a case such as this, where the plaintiff’s evidence is not entirely reliable, one would normally have expected corroboration of the reduction in these activities through evidence from the plaintiff’s son with whom she lives, or through friends or other members of her family who would have known her pre and post-Accident.  No such evidence was led”.

As a result, the Judge did not accept that the Plaintiff had been able to do all the activities she claimed to be able to do before the car accident.

The Plaintiff was seeking $130,000 in general damages and the lawyer for ICBC was suggesting $40-45,000.  The Judge awarded $60,000 in general damages.

At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we know how much impact the testimony of friends and family can have.  We have the experience and resources to interview your friends and family, so that we can present your full picture to the Court.

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