Claimant changed her story between accident & medical assessments – judge rejects all her specialists’ opinions 

Ms. Gill’s lawyer claimed that she will have long-term consequences from a head injury from her car accident. He relied on the opinions of 4 medical specialists he hired to prove her claim.

ICBC’s lawyer claimed that the opinions of those medical experts were wrong because they got the facts wrong from the claimant.

 

Ms. Gill initially said the following about her concussion:

  • On the day of her mva she phoned ICBC & did not mention being concussed.
  • Later that day she told a doctor that she never lost consciousness because she didn’t recall “being woken up”.
  • One week after her mva she told her doctor that she didn’t have a concussion.

 

Ms. G’s lawyer hired a neurologist, physiatrist, neurosurgeon & psychiatrist to assess Ms. G & provide their expert opinions for negotiations or her trial.

 

On July 29, 2016, Mr. Justice Sigurdson decided that the opinions of these experts should be given little weight because each expert “to some significant degree relied on an inaccurate history [by Ms. G] of whether [she] suffered a loss of consciousness or a disruption of mental awareness” in and after her mva.

 

Instead, the judge agreed with ICBC’s lawyer that it was more likely that Ms. G was merely dazed or confused as opposed to having memory loss or unconsciousness at the time of the mva.

 

The judge concluded that:

  • Ms. G’s head injury was “at the less serious end of the spectrum”;
  • Any related symptoms had resolved prior to her trial; and
  • Any of her ongoing memory or concentration issues were related to the stresses of running a busy household with 4 young children rather than to her quite minor concussion.

 

This decision shows that it is crucial for injured people to get their story straight very soon after their accident and to give the same story to each and every person they deal with.

 

Keeping a diary properly can help injured people to keep their memory & story straight during a very stressful time in their lives.

 

See:

  • Keeping a pain diary: “Injured people generally have difficulty remembering how they felt a year or two before…”:
  • and the reasons for judgment of this case:
    • Gill v. McChesney 2016 BCSC 1416