In a recent decision by the Honourable Mr. Justice Butler (Connolly v. Cowie et al., 2012 BCSC 242), Perminder S. Tung defended a motor vehicle accident claim where the Plaintiff alleged that she suffered an L5-S1 posterial annular tear with spinal disc bulge as a result of an accident.
The Plaintiff’s medical experts, Dr. Wong-Ting (family physician) and Dr. Heran (neurosurgeon), opined in their medical-legal reports that the disc bulge “may” have been caused by the accident. Perminder S. Tung defended causation of the disc injury on the basis of the Plaintiff’s lack of neurological symptoms and that the evidence had not met the appropriate legal standard of proof. The Court agreed and stated as follows at paragraph 33: “At its highest, the evidence simply suggests that the disc bulge and annular tear may have been caused by the accident. However, it has been three years since the accident and Ms. Connolly’s symptoms do not appear to have a neurological cause. Even if the disc bulge was caused by the accident, it does not appear that the symptoms were caused by a bulge. In these circumstances, I find that Ms. Connolly has not proved on a balance of probabilities that the disc protrusion and annular tear were caused by the accident.” The civil standard of proof in a personal injury action in British Columbia is a balance of probabilities. T
he medical evidence would need to establish that the disc injury was “more likely than not” caused by the accident. The medical opinions in this case merely established that the injury “may” have been causally connected.
Partner – Personal Injury & Motor Vehicle Accident Litigation
LK Law – Langley Office