Can plaintiff corroborate own evidence for threshold?[et_pb_section bb_built=”1″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.9″]
Under Ontario’s threshold provision, persons injured in a car accident can sue for damages for non-pecuniary loss only if they have sustained “a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function, or a permanent serious disfigurement.”
Beginning in October 2003, s. 4.3(5) of Ontario Regulation 461/96 (Court Proceedings for Automobile Accidents that Occur on or After November 1, 1996) injured persons have also had to meet evidentiary requirements prescribed by regulation. They must lead evidence of their impairment from a qualified physician and, in addition to that evidence, they must “adduce evidence that corroborates the change in the function that is alleged to be a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.”
This appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal raises a single question: can the injured person – the plaintiff – provide the corroborating evidence? The answer – “yes”.
The words of s. 4.3(5) do not expressly preclude the plaintiff or the injured person from being the corroborating witness. Section 4.3 requires the evidence of at least one physician and some other evidence of change in function. The physician’s evidence alone is not enough and the other evidence alone is not enough. That other evidence may come from the plaintiff, a family member, an employer or co-worker, another lay person, or even from surveillance or medical records. Section 4.3(5) does not exclude anyone or anything. Indeed, undoubtedly there are cases where a plaintiff cannot provide corroborating evidence – for example, if the plaintiff is a minor or was severely brain damaged in the accident – otherwise the plaintiff may corroborate the evidence from the doctor about the change in the function that is alleged to be a permanent serious impairment of an important physical, mental or psychological function.