Credibility is Key

When I meet prospective clients to discuss their personal injury matter, I stress the importance of credibility and how they present as a witness.  This is especially so in cases where the client has a pre-existing history of medical issues and their injuries from the accident are, in large part, soft tissue in nature.


In a recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Fraser v. Persaud, 2023 ONSC 1449 (CanLII), the court held in favour of the Plaintiff for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.  The decision is important given it reaffirms what I have often.  Here are some of the key points:


  1. The judge found the plaintiff to be a dedicated and hard worker.  Although she continued to work following the accident, her condition deteriorated to the point she had to stop working.
  2. The plaintiff was forthright about her pre-accident medical condition.
  3. The defence attempted to portray the plaintiff as malingering, which is a common tactic.  The judge assessed the credibility of the plaintiff and found her a believable witness.  The lay witnesses and healthcare providers also corroborated the plaintiff’s evidence of her condition.  Only the experts for the defence opined that she was malingering.  There was evidence at trial that co-workers would often assist her at work.
  4. The plaintiff has a proud history of employment and won awards for her perfect attendance at work.
  5. The plaintiff was consistent in taking prescription and non-prescription medications.
  6. Treatment for her pain was consistent.


The foregoing decision only reaffirms what courts will look at when assessing the merits of a personal injury claim.  As I always tell my clients, the more credible someone is the greater the chance that person has in recovering damages.  A person who is not credible will likely not fair so well.


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