Certain fact patterns in cases are so unbelievable, that even the most experienced and seasoned personal injury lawyer can’t make them up. Just when you thought you’d seen it all…
It’s common for insurers in Ontario (and all across Canada for that matter), to retain private investigators to conduct surveillance on injured accident victims. The investigators are paid by the insurer to follow as discretely as possible the Plaintiff and try to catch them in the act of doing something that runs contrary to their case.
For example, if the medical records from the Plaintiff’s medical experts show that the Plaintiff can’t run; and the Plaintiff at his/her Examination for Discovery states on the record and under oath that s/he can’t run; but the insurer has video surveillance of that very same person running in multiple marathons/races post accident; then that Plaintiff’s credibility will be left in doubt for a Judge and Jury at trial.
If the Plaintiff complains that s/he cannot work and cannot lift, but there is surveillance showing that same person working at a rock quarry lifting heavy boulders; again that person’s credibility will be a big issue at trial.
If the Plaintiff is lying about this, then what’ s to say that s/he isn’t lying about that? What’s to say that the Plaintiff isn’t lying about how the accident happened, the severity of their injuries, and how their injuries are impacting their day to day life? Can we now trust anything this person has to say?
Credibility and likeability are two big factors at trial. The more credible and likeable the Plaintiff is for a Judge/Jury; the greater the chance his/her version of the events and injuries will be believed. That translates in to a greater award at trial. The same goes the other way. The less credible and likeable the Plaintiff, the greater likelihood his/her version of the events will not be accepted. This will translate in to a lesser award at trial.