Non-Disclosed Medical Report Leads to Adverse Inference in Cervical Radiculopathy Injury Claim

Reasons for judgement were released this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, commenting on “the failure of the defence” to produce a medical report they agreed to exchange in the course of an injury lawsuit.
In this week’s case (Chekoy Sr. v. Hall) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2007 collision.  Fault was admitted by the Defendant   The Plaintiff suffered a cervical radiculopathy as a result of the crash and had non-pecuniary damages assessed at $75,000.  In the course of the lawsuit the Plaintiff agreed to attend an independent medical exam requested by the Defendant in exchange for a copy of the resulting report.  The report was never produced.  In reaching his assessment of the evidence and this development Mr. Justice Masuhara provided the following comments:
[67]         Though the plaintiff attended an independent medical examination requested by the defence.  The defence did not adduce any medical evidence challenging the plaintiff’s medical evidence.  Mr. Gertsoyg produced a letter which stated that his client would attend an independent medical exam requested by the defence in exchange for a copy of the resulting report.  Ms. Tonge wrote back agreeing to do so.  For some reason, a copy was not provided to Mr. Gertsoyg.  During the course of the trial, Ms. Tonge was requested by Mr. Gertsoyg to produce the report.  Ms. Tonge refused and when asked by Mr. Gertsoyg in court to provide the report she stated that she did not have with her.  She did not offer to get and provide it. ..
[85]         In any event, the medical opinions all support objectively the fact that Mr. Chekoy has symptoms from cervical radiculopathy.  As noted earlier the defence did not tender any medical evidence though it obtained an independent medical examination and report of the plaintiff.  The failure of defence counsel to produce the medical report which counsel had agreed to provide to plaintiff’s counsel, without an adequate explanation, allows for an adverse inference to be drawn in this regard.  The defence’s theory that the plaintiff’s neurologic problems relate to physiotherapy treatments, chiropractic treatments, or from the plaintiff lifting a tool box on the back of a pickup has not been established; I note Dr. Golin’s did not accept that theory.  While the defence raised the question of the delay in symptoms, I accept the medical evidence that there is considerable variability in symptom onset.
[86]         On balancing the totality of the evidence including the failure of the defence to produce its independent medical report, I find that the Accident is the cause of the plaintiff’s cervical radiculopathy and not from the natural progression of the plaintiff’s pre-existing degenerative disk disease, subsequent treatments, or other events.

adverse inference, bc injury law, Cervical Radiculopathy, Chekoy Sr. v. Hall, Mr. Justice Masuhara

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ERIK
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When not writing the BC Injury Law Blog, Erik is the managing partner at MacIsaac & Company, based in Victoria, B.C. He is also involved with combative sports regulatory issues and authors the Combat Sports Law Blog.

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