A Squamish woman lost potentially thousands of dollars in her ICBC claim, due in part to the physically active and happy photos she posted on Facebook.
Judge, in ICBC Claim case, rejected Sarah Tambosso’s testimony that she suffered from Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a mild traumatic brain injury following two car accidents (in 2008 and 2010).
The court heard more than 30 days of evidence to determine the compensation she will receive for her ICBC claim. The Honourable Mr. Justice Jenkins found that Ms. Tambosso’s testimony was not credible, due to many factors including inconsistent reports of medical concerns and details about the accidents.
The judge stated, “she also told differing versions of the incident to different experts. It is these subjective descriptions of events by Ms. Tambosso that caused the relevant experts to diagnose Ms. Tambosso with PTSD”.
The judge in this case compared Ms. Tambosso’s statements to her assessing Psychiatrist (Dr. Anderson) and other specialists, and found that Ms. Tambosso’s statements to them were not consistent. For example, she had previously noted a poor relationship with her parents a family history of alcoholism, which she left out in medical conversations with her Psychiatrists.
Some her reported details about the actual accidents were found to be either inaccurate or improbable.
Moreover, Ms. Tambosso’s testimony about the impact of her reported injuries on her ICBC claim was not consistent with her 194 Facebook pages. These were over four years and used as evidence.
Justice Jenkins stated, “The Facebook evidence and the evidence of Ms. Aldous (her former friend) includes Ms. Tambosso’s participation in concerts, large parties in Whistler and elsewhere, outdoor activities in Whistler and Squamish including hiking and snowboarding, and many, many other activities. Housebound is clearly not a valid description of Ms. Tambosso following the 2008 accident or the 2010 accident.”
There were many photographs of Ms. Tambosso enjoying physical activities on Facebook, and statements she made at the time were inconsistent with those she gave her medical assessors. For example, she posted a status update on November 1, 2008, saying she “is chillin’ on the home front after a crazy week”. Her testimony about the weeks following her accident was “I went to a bad place in my brain”.
The Defence also entered into evidence surveillance videos of Ms. Tambosso hiking, lifting her son high in the air without apparent strain, carrying grocery bags, running, rollerblading, holding a microphone during a “Squamish Idol” Karaoke competition, all without any apparent difficulty.
In his March 2015 decision, Justice Jenkins awarded Ms. Tambosso a total of $36,000; though the Defence is able to make submissions on costs, and this may decrease the quantum considerably.
Lawyers generally recommend inactivating social media accounts in when an ICBC claim is made. It is also common knowledge that ICBC may use private investigators and video footage at trial.
Jayne Embree, M.A.
Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. She is currently working with the Administrative and Human Resources Departments of Butterfield Law.