Tag: bc injury law

“Hurried” Opinion That Chronic Pain Will “Inevitably Resolve” Rejected By Court

Adding to this site’s archives of judgements criticizing or rejecting expert opinion evidence reasons were published today by the BC Supreme Court dismissing the opinion of a defence retained orthopaedic surgeon commenting on chronic pain.

In today’s case (Adams v. Rhys-Williams) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2014 collision.  The Defendants admitted liability.  The crash resulted in injuries to the plaintiff which developed into myofascial pain and a chronic pain disorder.

In the course of the lawsuit the defendants retained a partially retired orthopaedic surgeon from Ontario who conducted an independent medical exam.  That surgeon opined that the Plaintiff’s injuries were not disabling and ought to “inevitably resolve“.  The Court rejected this opinion as being “hurried and more of an attempt to summarily dismiss the injuries claimed“.  In rejecting the evidence Mr. Justice Jenkins provided the following reasons:

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“Unlawful” Surreptitious Recording of Defense Medical Appointments Not Admissible At Trial

Reasons for judgment were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, holding that a Plaintiff’s surreptitious recording of defence medical exams are not admissible at trial.

In today’s case (Cook v. Kang) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages.  In the course of the lawsuit the defendant obtained a court order that the Plaintiff be assessed by defence selected physician.  The Plaintiff also consented to see a second defence physician on similar terms as the court ordered appointment.

The Plaintiff surreptitiously recorded both appointments.  This came to light during trial and the existence of the recordings was not disclosed to the defence ahead of time.  The Court ruled that the recordings were not admissible on two grounds, first because they were not listed in compliance with the rules, second that recordings of court ordered medical appointments are “unlawful” without an express term permitting this.

In excluding the evidence Mr. Justice Riley provided the following reasons:

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Late Offer to “Emotionally and Mentally Fragile” Plaintiff Fails To Trigger Costs Consequences

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, declining to award a Defendant trial costs despite the Plaintiff receiving judgement for less than their pre trial settlement offers.

In today’s case (Wiseman v. Wang) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for damages.  Prior to a February 19, 2019 trial the Defendant made two formal settlement offers.  On June 13, 2018 the Defendant offered to settle the plaintiff’s claims for $100,000 new money plus costs and was open for acceptance until 4:00 pm on the last business day prior to the commencement of trial.  A second offer was delivered on February 13, 2019 and offered to settle the plaintiff’s claims for $150,000 new money plus costs. It was also open for acceptance until 4:00 pm on the last business day before the commencement of trial.

At trial the Plaintiff’s damages were assessed at $79,000.  The Court noted that trial “could have resulted in a much higher award” but reliability problems with the Plaintiff’s own evidence prevented a more favourable result.

The Defendant sought trial costs in these circumstances but the Court declined.  In dismissing the defence application the Court noted that the Plaintiff was ‘emotionally and mentally fragile‘ and the timing of the second offer made it such that costs consequences should not be triggered.  Mr. Justice Davies provided the following reasons:

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Court Finds ICBC Did Not Meet Their Burden for s. 83 Deductions after Jury Trial

BC’s Insurance Vehicle legislation allows a court to deduct from a claim for future loss those damages that have benefits payable under ICBC’s part 7 scheme.  ICBC’s track record of paying benefits and their position of a plaintiff’s entitlement to those benefits at trial don’t always align.  The legislation was recently amended to direct a court not consider the likelihood that the benefits will be paid or provided when making such deductions.

In one of the first judgements to consider this new language reasons were published today by the BC Supreme Court refusing ICBC’s application for deductions following a jury trial.

In today’s case (Siverston v. Griffin) the Plaintiff was injured in a collision and sued for her damages.  Following trial  a jury assessed damages which included $60,000 for future care.   The Defendant sought to have this award significantly reduced arguing many of the future care items could be paid by ICBC under their part 7 scheme.  Madam Justice Jackson was not persuaded, however, and refused to reduce the award.  In reaching this conclusion the court found the Defendant simply could not meet their burden with the jury’s lump sum award for future losses.  The Court provided the following reasons:

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Lawyers Changing Firms and Disbursement Carriage

When a lawyer changes firms clients usually have a choice of whether to stay with their present firm or follow their lawyer to the new firm.  In the case of personal injury files prosecuted on a contingency basis there are often disbursements associated with the files.  When a client wishes to follow their lawyer to a new firm and have their file transfered who has the burden of paying for the disbursements?  Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, tackling this issue.

In today’s case (Sagert v. Cascade Law Corporation) the Petitioner’s employment with the Respondent law firm ended.  Approximately 58 of the Petitioner’s clients elected to have their claims stay with the Petitioner.  The Respondent firm had incurred disbursements on these files.  The firm argued that these had to be paid before the files would be transferred.  The Petitioner brought an application to have the files transferred without up front payment of disbursements.  The Court concluded that the firm was within their right to demand payment of disbursements prior to transfer.  In reaching this conclusion Mr. Justice Wilson provided the following reasons:

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$100,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment For Incompletely Healed Tibia Fracture from Snowmobile Collision

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for a chronic leg injury following a snowmobile collision.

In today’s case (Carothers v. Imus) the Plaintiff was a passenger on a snowmobile that collided with another snowmobile crushing the plaintiff’s left leg in between the two snowmobiles.

The impact resulted in  a tibial fracture that required surgical intervention.  The injury went on to incomplete resolution and resulted in chronic symptoms.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $100,000 Madam Justice Horsman provided the following reasons:

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Court Criticizes ICBC “Failure” To Pay For Necessary Treatments Highlighting Shortcomings of their so called “Care Based” Model

ICBC and the Provincial government have been working overtime trying to persuade British Columbians that stripping collision victims of the right to go to court to be fairly paid for their injuries is a good idea.  They claim that by taking away these rights ICBC will treat victims fairly under a so-called ‘care based’ model.

Reasons for judgement were published this week by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, demonstrating that ICBC can be anything but fair when it comes to meeting their obligations to pay for long term injury treatments.

In today’s case (Del Bianco v. Yang) the Plaintiff sustained life long injuries in a collision.  At trial he was awarded damages which included payment for future care for massage therapy and kinesiology.  Despite being ordered to pay this money ICBC refused saying they will pay that portion of the judgement from the Plaintiff’s ‘no fault’ insurance with them over the years as the treatments are incurred.  An ICBC adjuster swore an affidavit declaring payments would be made.

The Court did not accept that ICBC would make payments, however, noting that they refused to pay the mandated no-fault benefits in the years prior to trial leaving little confidence that they would fairly meet their future obligations.  In refusing to deduct the vast majority of the awarded future care costs Mr. Justice Groves provided the following criticism of ICBC’s handling of the claim and their unexplained “failure” to pay past benefits they were obliged to:

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Slip and Fall Lawsuit Against City Dismissed Based on Policy Defence

When sued for negligence and Occupier’s Liability Act claims public bodies enjoy a defense that private citizens and businesses do not, namely the policy defense.   Actions taken pursuant to a good faith policy decision can shield a public body from liability in circumstances where a private defendant would be held liable.  Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Victoria Registry, discussing and applying this principle.

In today’s case (Lowe v. Sidney (Town of)) the Plaintiff slipped and fell on black ice on a parking lot owned by the Defendant.  The Plaintiff argued the Defendant was negligent in failing to inspect and address this ice before the incident.  The Court disagreed and dismissed the claim.  In doing so Mr. Justice G.C. Weatherill made the following comments in applying the policy defence:

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$42,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessmet for Finger Injury to “Skilled Piano Player”

One of the hallmarks of the current justice system in BC is individuals are treated uniquely when having their injuries and losses assessed.  Something the current government is hoping to take away with their proposed ICBC no fault system.  Reasons for judgement were published today showing this assessment of individual justice in action.

In today’s case (Fung v. Dhaliwal) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2013 collision.  Most of the injuries were transient and fully healed.  The Plaintiff, however, also suffered a cut to the middle of his long finger which went on to cause long term dysfunction.  The level of impairment was modest in most areas of life however the young plaintiff was a ‘skilled piano player’ and took great joy in this activity.  The injury compromised his musical abilities.  In assessing this unique loss and assessing non-pecuniary damages at $42,000 Madam Justice Forth provided the following reasons:

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$80,000 Non-Pecuniary Assessment for 80% Recovered but Lingering Myofascial Pain Syndrome

Reasons for judgement were published today by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing damages for myofascial pain developed secondary to a vehicle collision.

In today’s case (Tang v. Duong) the Plaintiff was injured in a 2015 collision where the Defendant turned into the plaintiff’s lane of travel at an intersection.   The Plaintiff developed various soft tissue injuries which resulted in regional myofascial pain syndrome.  By the time of trial the injuries were about 80% improved but the lingering symptoms were expected to persist.  In assessing non-pecuniary damages at $80,000 Mr. Justice Thompson provided the following reasons:

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If you would like further information or require assistance, please get in touch.

ERIK
MAGRAKEN

Personal Injury Lawyer

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.

“Work hard, be kind and enjoy the ride!”
Erik’s Philosophy

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