27 Jul The Importance of a Supportive Family Doctor

Having a supportive family physician to oversee your treatment and provide evidence on your behalf at trial is important.  In any personal injury case the evidence of a long-time family physician is often invaluable. Family physicians are often the best placed to comment on your health both before and after the accident.

The case of Mohamud v. Yu, 2016 BCSC 1138, highlights this importance.  In this case, the Plaintiff was claiming more than $260,000 in damages for soft tissue injuries she sustained in two motor vehicle accidents.  She suffered injuries to her neck and back, as well as associated headaches and an exacerbation of a pre-existing anxiety condition.

At trial the Plaintiff did not call her family physician as a witness.  Instead, she only called medical experts to provide evidence about her condition. These experts are hired by the Plaintiff’s lawyer and usually only see the Plaintiff once for an evaluation. They do not provide any ongoing treatment and do not observe the Plaintiff’s condition over time.

The Court found that the Plaintiff was a ‘poor historian’ and was inconsistent in her evidence about her injuries.  The Judge stated, “Some of these inconsistencies may be quite normal, but the extent of the inconsistencies here are of concern, particularly in the absence of any objective confirmatory evidence from a treating doctor or other medical professional”.

The Court drew an adverse inference from the Plaintiff’s failure to call her family physician to give evidence. This meant that the Court was entitled to conclude that the Plaintiff’s failure to call such an important witness as her family physician implied that the evidence would not have supported her case. The Judge stated that the Plaintiff’s “primary care physician is the only person who could have given the court an opinion about the plaintiff’s condition, informed by a long standing relationship and observations throughout the relevant periods of time”.

In the final judgement the plaintiff receive less than a quarter of what she had claimed.  The Court found that she was inconsistent in her recollection of her injures and she failed to call her family doctor as a witness, which meant that the inconsistencies in her evidence could not be clarified or supported.

At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we will ensure that all the medical evidence required to support your case is put before the Court.