ICBC uses young man’s Facebook posts to greatly weaken his claims for damages

Mr. Dhaliwal was 24 years old when he went to trial. He had posted on Facebook photos & opinions about his job & recreational activities & his thoughts on the police. He claimed that he continued to suffer from neck, shoulder & back pain & that his pain impaired his ability to work.

ICBC’s lawyer used his postings to argue at trial that:

  • he was not believable,
  • he no longer experienced pain &
  • the court should reject his claims that he intended to become a police officer & that he can no longer do this.

 

Mr. D’s Facebook photos & postings showed that he:

  • bought a motorcycle & rode around the Lower Mainland three months before his trial,
  • went white-water rafting & hiking,
  • took trips to Winnipeg, India & London;
  • regularly lifted weights & ran on a treadmill at the gym;
  • caused damage at work to a trailer & the roof of a building & put other employees at risk and
  • wrote Facebook postings critical of the police.

 

Mr. Justice Butler concluded on October 31, 2016 that Mr. D’s:

  • pain in his neck, shoulder & back were not ongoing,
  • pain was significantly improved by 2 years after his mva,
  • ability to work & carry on with his daily activities were no long affected by his symptoms,
  • present difficulties at work were because he caused damage to company property, not because of his injuries &
  • claim that he lost the chance to become a police officer fails because:
    • his education & experience show that he would not have become one absent his mva &
    • he wrote Facebook posts critical of the police.

 

As a result, the judge awarded him nothing for future loss of capacity.

 

The takeaway for ICBC claimants is they should:

  • be very careful about Facebook posts &
  • consider closing all their social media accounts

until their claim has been resolved.

 

Social media posts & photos are:

  • usually very optimistic & positive & therefore
  • an easy way for ICBC’s lawyers to argue that a claimant:
    • has enjoyed a full social, recreational and work life &
    • does not experience any significant continuing problems.

 

See Dhaliwal v. Randhawa, 2016 BCSC 2005