In a personal injury claim it is common for injured people to attend upon a solicitor and asked them how the case is likely to be decided. One thing that they may not think about is that by the time they attend the solicitor the answer may already be in existence.
In order to assess the truthfulness of the witnesses in the personal injury claim the court and the parties to the action will be looking to the documentary evidence. In a motor vehicle accident this may be the reports provided to the police about the circumstances of the accident, in a workers compensation claim it might be statements given to the workers compensation insurer or the workers compensation claim form. In most cases these are seen as the best evidence in respect of the claim as they were collected at a relatively early time when knowledge of the injury is still fresh in the mind of the injured person and any other relevant witnesses.
This was recently seen in the Supreme Court case of NANKIVELL V INSURANCE COMMISSION OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA  WASCA 143. In that case the plaintiff was giving evidence about the circumstances of his accident, and to assess whether the plaintiff was a reliable witness the parties look to the documents that he filed in his workers compensation claim at the time of the accident.
In his case he was arguing that an unknown vehicle was liable for his accident. He said that this unknown vehicle cut him off causing him to lose control of the truck that he was driving at the time of his accident.
The court looked at the plaintiff’s workers compensation claim form which had no mention of a small car changing lanes at the time of the accident. It is worth pointing out that this is not unusual in itself, as the workers compensation claim form does not have much by way of space to describe the circumstances of an accident.
The court also looked at the other available evidence, which included medical notes, the first medical certificate, and probably most importantly an undated crash report form that was completed by the plaintiff. This document did not support his version of events which was that the driver of the small car changed lanes and this was the cause of his motor vehicle accident.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Foyle Legal specialises in the area of motor vehicle accident injury claim law and personal injury law, and provides representation to injured people on a no win no fee basis. If you have made a motor vehicle accident injury claim, or personal injury claim, why not contact Foyle Legal for an obligation free consultation. You can contact us on 0408 727 343, by email at [email protected]
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