Credibility is Everything
It was recently confirmed in the Alberta Court of King’s Bench decision that a Plaintiff’s credibility is a paramount factor that a Judge will review when assessing a Personal Injury Claim. In the decision Petz v. Duguay, 2017 ABQB 0090, Justice Sullivan found the Plaintiff Ms. Petz not to be a credible witness. This was based on a variety of factors, including:
- She had inconsistencies in her testimony
- Surveillance footage of Ms. Petz was contrary to her testimony
- Medical experts doubted her injuries and pointed to symptom amplification
- Ms. Petz was dissatisfied with any care provider that did not provide a favourable report
Based on these findings, Justice Sullivan commented:
“Upon reviewing these facts and the totality of the evidence at trial, I conclude that the Ms. Petz is not credible. I cannot conclude that Ms. Petz has accurately and honestly presented her treatment providers or this Court with a reliable description of her symptoms and condition. As a consequence, her ability to prove on a balance of probabilities that she suffers from disabling chronic pain such that she has a diminished ability to work and perform activities of daily living is significantly undermined.”
The finding of lacking credibility enables a Judge to discount the Plaintiff’s evidence as well as the testimony of their care providers. In this case it ultimately reduced the claim of the Plaintiff dramatically.
As such, it is very important for any Plaintiff in a personal injury claim to maintain an “honesty is the best policy” approach. One’s credibility is much like their reputation and once it is tarnished, it is difficult to repair.