Credibility and Exaggeration

ICBC and Credibility

Another major ICBC defense tactic is to try and undermine the claimant’s credibility.  This most often comes up in the context of the claimant’s reporting of injury and disability to his/her treatment providers.  ICBC will try to establish that the claimant is malingering (exaggerating or faking) an injury to enhance the claim or stay off work.

The credibility defense gets raised so frequently in ICBC cases because the pain and disability associated with many injuries, especially soft tissue, is very subjective. The result is that there is an inherent uncertainty about the severity of the injury.  This makes it easy for ICBC to say the claimant is exaggerating, even when there is little or no evidence to support it.  That said, ICBC will try to find the evidence. They will look for inconsistencies in the medical records, and sometimes interview friends and co-workers, conduct video surveillance and background checks, or go on social media sites.

It is important to note that once ICBC finds evidence of dishonesty or exaggeration, they will try to use it to damage all aspects of the ICBC claim. For example, if a claimant does not report income on his tax returns, ICBC will argue that if he is dishonest about his taxes, that means he is likely to be dishonest about his injuries to his doctor. Sometimes this has a significant impact on the assessment of the claim, sometimes not.

How to Establish Credibility

Perhaps the best advice is to not try and “convince” your medical team or others about the severity of your injury (even if you don’t think it is being taken seriously enough).  Be clear and matter-of-fact when you report your symptoms and activity restrictions, without overemphasis. At the same time, do not minimize or under-report your problems, either.  This will help to ensure ICBC has no basis for a credibility defense.

If you have an ICBC claim and have questions or concerns about any credibility matters, call us.   We have the experience and know-how to oppose or defuse any attacks ICBC may make on your credibility.