Court Rejects ICBC Low Velocity Impact Defence ; Dismisses Evidence of Expert Engineers

In Pitcher v. Brown, the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle accident, and subsequently brought an ICBC claim for damages for pain and suffering, income loss, and out of pocket expenses. Liability for the accident was admitted by ICBC’S lawyer, however it was argued that the Plaintiff did not sustain any injury in the collision due to the alleged minimal impact of the collision. ICBC’S lawyer adduced expert engineering evidence at trial with respect to the force of the collision, however the Court rejected this line of defence. Although the Court had issues with the Plaintiff’s credibility, it still awarded the Plaintiff $40,000.00 in non-pecuniary damages.


[106] As to the forces involved and the probability of injuries resulting, the defence relies upon the opinion of two experts. Dr. Craig Good has a degree and Masters in Applied Science-Mechanical Engineering and a doctor in Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering. He opined that it is “highly unlikely that Ms. Pitcher sustained an acute Mild Traumatic Brain Injury at the time of the subject collision when her head contacted the head restraint.”


[107] Gerald Sdoutz is a professional engineer who provided opinion evidence about the impact severity in the collision and compared it with activities such as sitting down in a low back office chair, coughing or sneezing or being jostled in a crowd.


[108] While that expert evidence provides some insight I find its utility to be limited. It puts in perspective that the forces involved in the collision were modest. It does not preclude the conclusion that the plaintiff did receive injuries in this collision. In that regard I look to the expert medical evidence and the evidence of the participants in the collision. I will, in subsequent portions of this decision, address specifically my findings in relation to the plaintiff’s injuries.


[110] … I am not persuaded by the evidence that the nature of the forces involved did not cause any injury.

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