By Paul Warnett
When a person gets into a car accident and proceeds to file a claim with ICBC, there are two things that ICBC will take a hard stance on: liability and credibility. It is about seeking the truth in terms of whom is most liable for the accident, and in the case of mediation or a trial, facts need to be confirmed. In the case of the absence of a witness, credibility will be taken into account.
ICBC targets credibility
A common refrain from ICBC and their car accident lawyers is that my car accident client has credibility issues. The issue is whether the plaintiff is capable of being believed. It is very important for the lawyer and client to have good communication on any issue where a matter of credibility can arise. It is never a good thing to not tell your lawyer about anything that could make you less believable. The very worst scenario on a matter of credibility is at a trial, sitting in a witness stand saying one thing and then the lawyer for ICBC pulls out a document that shows what you say cannot possibly be true. It is much better to deal with the matter head on, admit any past mistakes, and show the judge that you have made amends for any past behaviour.
” To succeed in receiving fair compensation in a car accident, it is key to be forthright with your personal injury lawyer. ”
Sometimes credibility attacks by ICBC and their lawyers are unwarranted. For example, I once took to trial a case where a woman had a significant drug and alcohol problem in the past. Because she had this disease, it did not make her less credible, yet that is what ICBC was trying to argue. She admitted her issues in the past and made clear she had taken steps to become clean and sober. The judge believed her. What I advise my clients prior to trial is that you know the truth and stick with your truths and if you do so, then there is a very good chance of a good outcome. We have had many success stories with our clients because we believe honest and open communication is one key to negotiating a fair settlement.