An injury victim pursuing a personal injury claim in Alberta and elsewhere in other provinces such as Ontario must be careful about having a legitimate claim. Costs can be awarded against the personal injury claimant and the personal injury lawyer potentially if the claim is dismissed by a court. The personal injury victim could be liable for the defendant insurance company’s lawyers’ fees. A bus ride cost a Toronto woman $250,000.00 after an Ontario Super Court of Justice Judge awarded that figure against the personal injury victim in costs, as a result of losing the case. The award came after a jury decided in June, 2012 that Jacqueline Rodas was not injured by a September, 2006 accident while aboard a Toronto bus, as she claimed. The court stated the traditional rule that courts do not see the fact that these cases have “unpredictable outcomes” as a reason for abandoning the usual approach which emphasizes in motor vehicle collisions and other collisions that the loser pays the winner’s costs.

In this case the personal injury claimant Rodas claimed that she was injured when a bus driver braked suddenly to avoid hitting a pedestrian. She said she struck her forehead on the metal seat in front of her and subsequently developed chronic pain. That is a risky assertion to prove, the court found. An engineer was called, who was not even a bio-mechanical engineer, to testify about the forces involved in the collision. That engineer for the defendant insurance company stated the plaintiff personal injury victim could not have been injured with those forces. In the future, with the increasing amount of data coming from event data recorders in motor vehicles or black boxes, the issues in these cases are likely to be in issue in more and more case. This case is called Rodas v. Toronto Transit Commission [2012] O.J. No. 4910.

The moral of this story is the plaintiff personal injury lawyer and personal injury victim must have very high confidence that they will ultimately succeed in their case in recovering something. If the case is dismissed and the recovery is zero, the injured victim will be paying the costs of the defendant and in this particular case those costs amounted to $250,000.00.