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:
 ¬†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…
 ¬†The chiropractor will testify and will be subject to cross-examination…
 ¬†The¬†admissibility¬†of an expert’s report is dealt with in R v. Marquard  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.
 ¬†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.
 ¬†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.