Court Ordered Medical Exams and Location: Can ICBC Send You Out of Town?
When ICBC requests a Plaintiff to attend an ‘independent’ medical exam they often pick physicians in the Lower Mainland for these assessments. One of the obvious reasons for this is that the Lower Mainland has the highest concentration of physicians who provide these consultations to ICBC. Is it reasonable to object to such an appointment on the basis of location? The answer is usually not and reasons for judgement were released today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, dealing with this area of law.
In today’s case (Parsons v. Mears) the Defendant was involved in an incident where he became trapped in an overturned tractor trailer. The Plaintiff “allegedly suffered various injuries when attempting to rescue the Defendant“. The Plaintiff sued for damages and in the course of the lawsuit the Defendant requested that the Plaintiff attend a Vancouver based medical exam. The Plaintiff agreed to the assessment but insisted it take place in Victoria. The parties could not reach agreement on this issue and an application was brought. Master Bouck ordered that the Plaintiff attend and in doing so provided the following summary of the law:
 The following principles are applicable to this discussion:
a. The purpose of an independent medical examination is to put the parties on a basis of equality. It is not for the plaintiff to decide which doctor can examine him or her on behalf of the defendant: Sinclair v. Underwood, 2002 BCSC 354 at para. 5;
b. Nonetheless, an independent medical examination is an examination conducted by a person appointed by the court. The convenience of the plaintiff is to be considered in appointing such a person: Willis v. Voetmann,  B.C.J. No. 2492 (S.C.) at para. 5;
c. Convenience to the plaintiff is but one of several factors for the court to consider in exercising its discretion under Rule 7-6: Adelson v. Clint (1993), 16 C.P.C. (3d) 209 (B.C.S.C.) at para. 17; and
d. It may be appropriate for the court to consider appointing a specialist other than the proposed examiner but only where the plaintiff demonstrates, on a preponderance of evidence, sufficient grounds to justify the court in concluding that its discretion should not be exercised in favour of the appointment of the defendant’s nominee: Sinclair v. Underwood and Adelson v. Clint, supra.
 In terms of convenience to the plaintiff, I do not understand the authorities to say that an independent medical examination should, or even might preferably, take place at the examinee’s town or city of residence. Nor do I understand those authorities to say that all things being equal, the defence should be required to schedule an examination with a specialist practicing near the examinee’s residence. For example, the court in Willis v. Voetmann, supra, deemed it reasonable for a resident of Port McNeil to travel to Victoria or Vancouver for an examination.
 It is almost always an inconvenience to a plaintiff to attend an independent medical examination. An employed person might miss a day’s pay; a homemaker with young children might be required to pay for childcare. However, that inconvenience can be remedied at trial by an award of damages for this suggested loss.
 On a very rare occasion, the court may order that the defendant’s nominee travel to the plaintiff’s town or city of residence to conduct the independent examination or assessment. Such an order might be appropriate where the examination or assessment is requested so late in the day that travel time would unduly interfere with the plaintiff’s trial preparation. The alternative to such an order would be to deny the defendant’s entitlement to an examination altogether: White v. Gait, 2003 BCSC 2023.
 In this case, there is no objection to the qualifications of either Dr. Leith or the proposed evaluator at Progressive Rehabilitation. The plaintiff can obviously travel although the defendant may need to offer special accommodations for that travel.
 In short, convenience to the plaintiff is one of several factors for the court’s consideration on this application. It is not the predominant factor and in itself does not provide justification for denying the defendant’s entitlement to the order sought.