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Defence Medical Doctor Given "Very Little Weight" For Failing to Examine Plaintiff

As previously discussed, the failure of a doctor to examine a Plaintiff is not, in and of itself, a barrier to the physician from providing opinion evidence to the BC Supreme Court, however, often little weight is attached to a doctor’s opinion in such circumstances. This was demonstrated in reasons for judgement released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry.
In this week’s case (Rizzotti v. Doe) the Plaintiff suffered psychological injuries in a serious collision in which the offending motorist died. At trial the Plaintiff tendered expert evidence addressing the extent of her injuries. The Defendant tendered a report from a psychiatrist, Dr. Levin, who disagreed with the Plaintiff’s experts with respect to the extent of her accident realted psychological injuries.
Dr. Levin did not examine the Plaintiff prior to authoring his report and in the course of trial acknowledged that “that he could not do a proper assessment without interviewing the plaintiff“. The court accordingly provided little wieght on Dr. Levin’s opinion and provided the following reasons:
[27] Dr. Levin is a psychiatrist tendered by the defendants as rebuttal evidence to the opinion of Dr. Anderson. The plaintiff objected to the admissibility of Dr. Levin’s report during this trial. I declared a voir dire to allow the plaintiff to cross-examine Dr. Levin and make argument as to the admissibility of the report. I ultimately found that the report was admissible, however I initially told counsel that I would be putting very little weight on the report as Dr. Levin did not interview the plaintiff…

34] For the above noted reasons I ruled Dr. Levin’s report admissible and I ruled that his evidence on the voir dire would form evidence on the trial proper.

[35] I have already explained that I am putting little weight on Dr. Levin’s report because he did not interview the plaintiff. Dr. Levin himself testified that he could not do a proper assessment without interviewing the plaintiff.

bc injury law, Failure To Examine a Plaintiff, Mr. Justice Tindale, Rizzotti v. Doe