When suing for compensation in an ICBC claim the BC Supreme Court Rules contain various ways to force disclosure of information. From requiring the exchange of relevant documents, permitting the parties to attend an examination for discovery and even forcing an ‘independent medical exam’ in certain circumstances there are many tools which can be used to learn about your opponents case.
One further tool is the request for “particulars“. If a party to a lawsuit is not clear what the other side is formally putting in issue they can ask for clarification by making a demand for particulars under Rule 3-7(23) of the Rules of Court. There are, however, limits to the use of this Rule and this was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court.
In this week’s case (Yousofi v. Phillips) the Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision. He sued for damages seeking compensation for, amongst other things, past and future wage loss, past and future medical expenses, past and future disability and out of pocket expenses. ICBC’s lawyer demanded that the Plaintiff provide particulars of these claims. The Plaintiff refused arguing that this was an inappropriate request. Mr. Justice Hinkson agreed with the Plaintiff and in dismissing the Defence motion made the following useful comments about the limited use requests for particulars should have in ICBC injury claims:
The entitlement of a party to particulars…is discussed by Mr. Justice Joyce in Delaney & Friends Cartoon Productions Ltd. v. Radical Entertainment Inc. et al, 2005 BCSC 371, beginning at paragraph 9.
 In that case, His Lordship makes the point that:
Particulars are provided to disclose what the pleader intends to prove. How that party intends to prove the material facts and particulars is a matter of evidence. The pleading party is not required to, and indeed, is not entitled to set out in the pleadings the evidence that he or she intends to adduce at trial to prove the facts that have been pleaded.
 In David et al v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada et al, 2004 BCSC 1306, Mr. Justice Cohen considered the distinction between the material facts and evidence and referred to an earlier decision of Mr. Justice Joyce when he was a master of this court, Firestone v. Smith,  B.C.J. No. 2660 (S.C.)(QL), where Master Joyce said at paragraph 11:
In my view the concern raised by the plaintiff at this stage is that he does not know but would like to know now what precise evidence the defendant may lead in support of his allegations of fact. In my respectful opinion the plaintiff is not entitled to ascertain the evidentiary basis of the defendant’s case by way of this demand for particulars.
 Turning to the notice of motion for particulars, the particulars sought at a relatively late juncture following examinations for discovery include a request for further and better particulars with respect to:
(a) The Plaintiff’s Past and Prospective Loss of Enjoyment of Life
In my view, that is an inappropriate request for particulars and is a matter that can and should be pursued by way of examination for discovery. In my view, it is not necessary to provide particulars with respect to that head of damage.
(b) The Plaintiff’s Past and Prospective Physical Disability
The injuries alleged by the plaintiff have been set out in the statement of claim and the extent of his disability arising therefrom is not a matter that is required as an item of pleadings. It, too, should be pursued by examination for discovery.
(c) The Plaintiff’s Past and Prospective Loss of Earnings
Insofar as the past loss of earnings is concerned, this is information that can be identified and quantified and should be provided by the plaintiff to the defendant. It is not, in my view, appropriate that it be provided as particulars, but I am satisfied it should be provided in some fashion to the defendant, and I am going to direct that the plaintiff quantify his claim for past loss of earnings and provide that information to the defendant.
Insofar as prospective loss of earnings is concerned, I am not satisfied that that is a matter that can be necessarily particularized, and I leave it to the defendant to pursue that through examinations for discovery.
(d) The Plaintiff’s Past and Prospective Loss of Earning Capacity
Like the prospective loss of earnings, I do not consider this to be an appropriate subject matter for particulars, and it is a matter that can be pursued by way of examination for discovery.
(e) The Plaintiff’s Past and Prospective Loss of Opportunity to Earn Income
This is a head that is hard to distinguish from past and prospective loss of earning capacity. To the extent there is any difference, in my view it should be treated the same as the request for particulars of past and prospective loss of earning capacity.
(f) The Plaintiff’s Past and Prospective Loss of Housekeeping Capacity
This is another matter that in my view does not warrant particularization in the pleadings. It can be pursued through examinations for discovery.
(g) The Trust Award on Behalf of the Plaintiff’s Friends and Family
This, too, is not a matter that, in my view, should be dealt with by way of particulars, with this exception: The individual or individuals for whom a trust award is claimed should be identified in the statement of claim where the trust award is advanced.
(h) The Plaintiff’s Special Damages
These are matters that should be identified by the plaintiff for the defendant, but not as particulars of the pleadings.