BC Injury Law and ICBC Claims Blog

Chiropractor Qualified to Opine on Diagnosis and Prognosis in BC Injury Trial

In my continued efforts to highlight unreported injury law decisions of the BC Supreme Court, reasons for judgement were recently provided to me addressing the qualifications of a chiropractor to opine on injury causation and prognosis.  This unreported case is a little dated (from 2008) however the discussion is of value and I am happy to publish the decision here.

In the recently provided case (Sloane v. Hill) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision. ¬†She sued for damages and proceeded to jury trial. ¬†In the course of the trial the Defendant objected to the qualifications of the Plaintiff’s chiropractor¬†arguing¬†that a “chiropractor has no basis in training or expertise” to offer opinions regarding diagnosis and prognosis for traumatic injuries. ¬†Mr. Justice Grist disagreed and allowed the chiropractor to be qualified as an expert. ¬†In doing so the Court provided the following reasons:

[5] ¬†Chiropractors are licenced to provide this form of care, and there is no indication that¬†chiropractors¬†are generally¬†incompetent in¬†what they do or, in¬†particular¬† in the process of forming diagnosis and prognosis. ¬†If nothing else here, the forecast for the future ties to what the¬†chiropractor¬†expects to be the future cost of performing her services…

[6] ¬†The chiropractor will testify and will be subject to cross-examination…

[8] ¬†The¬†admissibility¬†of an expert’s report is dealt with in R v. Marquard [1993] SCJ No. 119 (SCC). ¬†At issue is the witness’s ability, through experience and training, to aid the triers of fact in opinion based on special training or experience; opinion the triers are not likely to be able to form on their own.

[9]  Here, I think the chiropractor does offer something towards this end.  Further, through cross-examination and with the medical evidence to be called, I think there will be ample opportunity for counsel to put the opinion in proper perspective, and there is little likelihood of prejudice.  I think the public is well-acquainted with different healthcare providers, what they can offer and their limitations.

[10]  On balance, I am of the view these opinions can be taken in evidence.

As always I am happy to provide a copy of the full transcript of this unreported decision to anyone who contacts me and requests one.

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