Press Release: Mussio Goodman Expands to Vancouver Island

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

Mussio Goodman Injury and Estate Lawyers, with offices in Downtown Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna and Vernon, is now proud to announce its expansion to Vancouver Island.

With a full service office located in Nanaimo at #203 – 335 Wesley St., Mussio Goodman can now offer its premier legal services and record of success to injured clients across Vancouver Island.

Managing Partner Wes Mussio, who has been practicing exclusively in personal injury for over 25 years, and who recently purchased the Nanaimo Clippers of the BCHL, stated “since my other business and personal interests have expanded to the island, it only seemed fitting that we open a law office in Nanaimo as well.”

Wes’ partner, Eric Goodman notes that “while our existing infrastructure of 12 lawyers and students, as well as 22 staff across four offices, already allowed us to represent clients all over the province, having a location in Nanaimo gives us a stronger ability to connect with the local community and our clients.”

Wes adds: “I especially look forward to spending more time on the island and serving its residents who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own.”

For more information or a free consultation, please call 250 824 5027 or toll free at 1 855 MUSSIO1, or visit us at mussiogoodman.com.

Mussio Goodman Counsel Fred Sierecki Obtains $584,560 For Client At Trial

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Mussio Goodman is pleased to announce Associate Counsel Fred Sierecki’s success after a three week trial in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

In Raptis v. Chalabiani, 2017 BCSC 1548, the Court awarded the Plaintiff $584,560 for injuries sustained in a December 2009 motor vehicle accident, which substantially exceeded ICBC’s final offer of $364,243 before trial.

The Plaintiff sustained a number of injuries in the accident, the most serious of which was to her left hip, which required surgery.  This injury made it difficult to perform her job as an elementary school teacher, and to engage in many activities that he previously enjoyed, such as running.

ICBC argued that the Plaintiff’s damages should be minimal, stemming from the fact that there was minimal damage to her car.  The Court ultimately disagreed with this argument after listening to several medical experts retained by the Plaintiff testify that minimal vehicle damage does not equate with minimal physical injury.

ICBC also argued that the Plaintiff should not be awarded any past wage loss because she simply chose to work half-time due to her two young children, one of whom was diagnosed with Autism shortly after the accident.  ICBC also argued that the Plaintiff shouldn’t have undergone the hip surgery which her surgeon felt could help reduce some of her pain.  In awarding $125,000 for past wage loss, the Court held that:

[175] In my view, it was reasonable for the plaintiff to seek the support of her physicians to work on a part-time basis following her second pregnancy in circumstances where she had struggled working full time and she was scheduled to have surgery on her hip — which ultimately occurred in January of 2015. I note that Dr. Sam expressly supported the plaintiff working on a 50% basis.

ICBC argued that the Plaintiff should not be awarded any loss of future income because she was attending a CrossFit gym which they argued was evidence of a lack of physical impairment.  The Court agreed with Mr. Sierecki’s submissions that there was a real and substantial possibility of future income loss and awarded $295,000 on the basis that she would likely only be able to work 4 days per week instead of full-time in the years ahead.  The Judge stated as follows:

[182]     In this case, I find that the plaintiff has established that her earning capacity has been impaired and that there is a real and substantial possibility that the diminishment in earning capacity will result in a loss of income. I do not agree that the plaintiff’s limitations can fairly be described as causing her mere “discomfort”. I conclude that the evidence supports her continuing to have functional limitations affecting the performance of her teaching duties on a daily basis, such as her ability to perform tasks associated with sustained or repetitive postures. As noted above, the evidence of Dr. Masri and Dr. Gilbart was that her chronic pain in her hip and lower back will likely continue and the evidence of Dr. Lamba was that her pain has an emotional component which affects how she deals with stressors. While she has been able to make a number of work modifications, they do not wholly alleviate her limitations.

While 98% of injury claims settle, this case demonstrates the importance of hiring experienced trial lawyers who won’t hesitate to advance your claim to trial to get the compensation you deserve.

 

 

Injured Client Awarded $683,810 at Trial After Rejecting Final Offer of $280,000

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Mussio Goodman is pleased to announce our success in the British Columbia Supreme Court case of Ackermann v. Pandhar, 2017 BCSC 880.

The Court awarded our client $683,810 for injuries sustained in a 2011 motor vehicle accident, which substantially exceeded the insurance company’s final offer of $280,000 before trial.

Our client sustained a number of injuries in the accident, the most serious of which was to his right wrist, described by our orthopedic expert as “chronic and static with a very high likelihood of deteriorating over time.” This injury made it impossible to perform his job as a tile setter, and to engage in many activities that he previously enjoyed.

The insurance company argued that our client should be held 25% at fault for not wearing his seatbelt at the time of the Accident. We pointed out that our client had a legitimate medical reason for not wearing his seatbelt (a recent bladder surgery), and that, regardless, the insurance company failed to prove that his wrist injury would not have occurred had a seatbelt been worn. The Court agreed with our position.

With regards to past wage loss, we argued that our client should be awarded an amount that falls between his actual earnings before the Accident and the higher average wage for a tile setter, with which the Court agreed as follows:

[146] [T]he figure proposed by Mr. Ackermann’s counsel — the mid-point between average tile setter earnings and the actual earnings as I have found them — fairly reflects the rate increases that the business would certainly have commanded in the years since the accident (and which Andreas now enjoys in his own business) without indulging in speculation about business growth.

Our client was also awarded $385,000 for future loss of earning capacity after we successfully argued that our client had planned to work well into his 70s and had significant language barriers that likely precluded him from alternative employment. The Court agreed as follows:

[160] I conclude that the possibility of Mr. Ackermann obtaining paid employment in the future is so low that his remaining earning capacity must be considered minor at best. If he does become employed I predict that at best he is looking at entry-level service-type jobs, with virtually no possibility of replacing his pre-accident income.

While 98% of injury claims settle, this case demonstrates the importance of hiring experienced lawyers who won’t hesitate to advance your claim to trial to get the compensation you deserve.

Mussio Goodman Obtains Over $250,000 For Client At Trial

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Mussio Goodman is pleased to announce our success in the British Columbia Supreme Court decision of Sohal v. Singh, 2017 BCSC 734.

Our client was awarded $252,431.79 in damages resulting from a car accident which occurred on November 26, 2011, where she sustained a fractured kneecap resulting in ongoing chronic, knee and leg pain.

In this case, Fred Sierecki and Michelle Gillespie of Mussio Goodman represented Ms. Sohal in advancing her claim at trial.

Mr. Justice Skolrood agreed that Ms. Sohal, a 53 years old widow, was entitled to a pain and suffering award of $80,000, as well as $44,000 in past wage loss from her job as a cook, and a further $75,000 for loss of future income earning capacity on the basis that she may need to retire earlier than planned due to her ongoing chronic pain.

The Court also recognized that a person is entitled to compensation for their loss of ability to maintain their household, even where family members residing with them have stepped in to assist in lieu of hired help.

The Court awarded Ms. Sohal $40,000 for a past and future loss of housekeeping capacity based on the fact that she was physically unable to maintain her home in the same fashion as before the accident in the years leading up to the trial and that she would also be limited in this regard in the future.

The Court also awarded $12,000 for other aspects of future care, including a supervised exercise program and a gym pass.

Achieving success such as this at trial requires the judgment and experience of trial lawyers who are able to articulate and argue the relevant legal principles that apply to the case.  At Mussio Goodman, we have the experience, knowledge and confidence to advance a case through the various stages of the lawsuit and all the way to trial.

Court Denies ICBC’s Attempted “Fishing Expedition”

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Advancing an ICBC claim for injuries and lost wages requires a claimant to disclose relevant medical and employment records. However, ICBC should not be entitled to a “fishing expedition” by gaining access to a claimant’s entire medical and employment history with the hopes of finding something they can later argue is relevant.

As a firm representing the interests of injured claimants, we strive to ensure that ICBC is held to this standard.

In our recent case Stephens v Gill, ICBC applied to the Court for an order compelling our client to produce extensive medical, employment and Worksafe records, some dating as far back as 16 years prior to the accident.

Mussio Goodman argued that such a broad disclosure was not relevant to the claim and unfairly invaded the privacy of our client.

On the day of the hearing, ICBC abandoned many of their record requests, and limited most of the others to what we had already agreed to disclose.

Regarding most of the remaining records in contention, Master Vos of the Supreme Court of British Columbia agreed with our position, finding that much of records ICBC sought was disproportionate and overbroad.

This ruling underscores the benefit of hiring a lawyer to protect both your rights and your privacy over the course of your ICBC injury claim.

Court Rejects ICBC’s Application to Assess Our Client By ICBC Doctor

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Mussio Goodman is pleased to announce our recent success in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, in which we defended our client’s interests by preventing a medical assessment (IME) by a neurologist chosen by ICBC.

IMEs are often obtained by both the claimant and ICBC during the litigation process, the purpose of which is to have independent doctors provide the parties, and ultimately the Court, with an impartial expert opinion on the claimant’s injuries. The law is clear with regards to IMEs; the Plaintiff must attend these appointments so long as they are reasonable and fair.

In this recent case, our client was in two motor vehicle accidents where she suffered a number of injuries including a concussion, traumatic brain injury, and a number of soft tissue injuries.

Over the course of the claim, our client consented to two IMEs selected by ICBC; one with a psychiatrist and one with an orthopaedic surgeon. Interestingly, we had yet to receive copies of the reports from the first two assessments, yet ICBC asked for yet another one, this time with a neurologist. When we drew the line at two assessments, ICBC applied for a court order to compel our client to attend.

We argued that the third IME was unnecessary and would put the parties on an unequal playing field. We further argued that ICBC had yet to produce reports from their two previous IMEs, and was in essence ‘doctor shopping’ for a favorable opinion.

Master Bouck of the Supreme Court of British Columbia agreed with our submissions and dismissed ICBC’s application with costs.