Massage Therapy and ICBC Part 7 Medical Benefits
(UPDATE: November 29, 2011 – the below case was upheld today by the BC Court of Appeal. Reasons can be found here)
Reasons for judgement were released recently by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, dealing with the scope of ICBC’s obligations under Part 7 of the Insurance (Vehicle) Regulation. These benefits are commonly referred to as Part 7 Benefits (Click here for some background on these).
In today’s case (Raguin v. ICBC) the Plaintiff was insured with ICBC and incurred several hundred dollars in massage therapy expenses. ICBC refused to pay for these and the Plaintiff sued.
At trial ICBC’s lawyer argued that “Massage therapy is not a ‘treatment’ contemplated under section 88 of the regulations“.
Mr. Justice McKinnon disagreed with ICBC’s position and called it ‘without merit‘. The court went on to hold that “Section 88 is not a section that restricts Section 7 benefits to a prescribed list of treatments. Rather it is a general section that simply sets out an obligation to provide treatments that are recommended by a physician. The treatments that are set out in section 88 are merely a general list subject to expansion, as indeed various cases that have been cited have expanded…The doctor ‘recommended’ massage therapy, which in my view is sufficient to trigger an obligation to pay.”
Unless this case is overturned on appeal it is beneficial for BC Injury Victims to have clarity that Part 7 of the Regulations covers massage therapy expenses even though these are not specifically mentioned in the regulation.