“Low Velocity Impact” evidence found unhelpful.

On August 12, 2015, the BC Supreme Court considered ICBC’s favourite defence, the “low velocity impact”.

In Pitcher v. Brown, 2015 BCSC 1415, the plaintiff was involved in a 2004 collision and sued for damages. The impact was a modest one. The Court rejected much of the plaintiff’s claim following credibility/reliability concerns in her testimony. The Court was equally dismissive of the defence strategy of calling engineering evidence to discuss the modest forces of the collision. The Court concluded, as have many previous judgments, that demonstrating forces are modest alone is no defence to an injury claim. In rejecting the LVI aspect of the defence Mr. Justice Betton provided the following comments:

[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.