More Than Lawyer's Say Needed For MRI's to be Recoverable Disbursements
Further to my previous post on this topic, reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, discussing when an MRI is a reasonable disbursement in a personal injury lawsuit.
In today’s case (Farrokhmanesh v. Sahib) the Plaintiff was injured in two BC collisions. He sued for damages and settled his claims prior to trial. However, the parties could not agree on whether some of the Plaintiff’s disbursements were reasonable. The parties applied to the Court to resolve the issue and Registrar Sainty held that the Plaintiff’s privately retained MRI was not a recoverable disbursement. The Plaintiff appealed this ruling. Mr. Justice Ehrcke dismissed the appeal and in doing so made the following comments about MRI’s in personal injury lawsuits:
 The applicant submits that the Registrar erred in principle by saying that there must be a medical reason for ordering the MRI. In my view, the applicant’s submission seeks to parse the Registrar’s decision too finely. In reviewing the Decision of the Registrar with the appropriate level of deference, it would be wrong to focus on a single word or a phrase taken out of the context in which it occurs.
 When read in context, the Registrar’s reason for disallowing the cost of the MRI is that she found it was not necessarily or properly incurred. In coming to that conclusion, she took into account that no medical professional had advised counsel of the probable utility of an MRI in the particular circumstances of this case. Mr. Fahey had deposed in para. 11 of his affidavit that he was unaware of the plaintiff exhibiting any objective signs of injury when he ordered the MRI scans.
 I am unable to find that the Registrar acted on a wrong principle in disallowing the cost of the MRIs in this case, and I would not interfere with her Decision.
To be on the safe side it is a good idea to have a treating medical practitioner requesting an MRI or other diagnostic test to maximize the chance that these expenses will be recoverable disbursements.