John Shorthouse, Voice of the Vancouver Canucks, Endorses Mussio Goodman Injury Lawyers

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

No one should decide what to purchase or who to hire based on a celebrity endorsement alone.

But when John Shorthouse chose to lend his name and goodwill in support of our law firm, we certainly felt a great sense of accomplishment and community pride.

“Shorty” has been a household name in British Columbia since he made his start as a local sports anchor in the early 1990s.

Since then, as the play-by-play commentator and “Voice of the Vancouver Canucks” over the last 20 years, Shorty has burnished his reputation as an honest broker and trusted voice in our community.

(And as the owner of the Junior A Nanaimo Clippers, Wes Mussio is particularly thrilled with Shorty’s approval!)

Shorty is known for ”calling it as he sees it”, and now we couldn’t be more proud that he recommends you call us.

The following Mussio Goodman TV advertisements featuring Shorty are airing on Sportsnet during the broadcast of each Vancouver Canucks game through the 2019/2020 season

Court Finds ICBC Doctor’s Evidence Biased and Unreliable

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In a personal injury case, the court requires medical evidence to determine the extent of a claimant’s injuries. To this end, it is common for both ICBC and the claimant to hire independent medical experts to assess the claimant’s injuries.

When considering the medical opinions of these experts, the court has a key requirement: objectivity. A medical expert needs to provide honest, unbiased opinions of the claimant’s injuries in order to be reliable.

This common-sense principle is also entrenched in law. The Rules of Court in British Columbia state that any doctor who provides a written, expert opinion to the court has a duty to assist the court impartially and not advocate for either party.

While the Court and most lawyers take these obligations seriously, this hasn’t always appeared to be the case with ICBC, as they often commission expert doctors who are known to provide biased reports.

The court recently criticized a psychiatrist, Dr. Solomons, for this exact reason. Speaking for the Court in her recent decision, Miller v. Resurreccion, Madame Justice Baker refused to accept Dr. Solomons’ evidence. She found that it was “completely at odds with the evidence at trial” and that his evidence was tailored to meet the position of ICBC.

This is unsurprising given that Dr. Solomons has been previously and repeatedly criticized for bias by our Court. It is also telling that, as noted by the Court, Dr. Solomons was paid over $1.25 million dollars by ICBC for medical assessments over the past 15 months. The decision states in part:

[52] Dr. Solomons, a psychiatrist, assessed Ms. Miller and provided an expert opinion. Dr. Solomons’ practice is generally limited to providing medico-legal reports, with 95% of his work under retainer for defendants. He agreed he received approximately $1,282,000 from ICBC for reports he generated in the previous 15 months. He currently has minimal MSP billings and has no hospital privileges.

[55] I cannot accept the opinion of Dr. Solomons. His assessment of Ms. Miller’s pain and the impact of her injuries on her work and social life are completely at odds with the evidence at trial. The evidence of Ms. Miller was credible, as was the evidence of her co-workers, supervisors, and friends. All of these witnesses described significant pain and impacts on her daily life. While she was upset as any person would be by the suicide of a friend, none of the witnesses described the suicide of Ms. Miller’s friend as having a significant or lasting psychological impact on Ms. Miller. In fact, Dr. Kjernisted, who was Ms. Miller’s treating psychiatrist from 2008 to 2018, testified that she did not mention her friend’s suicide to him. Overall, I find that Dr. Solomons was not an impartial or credible witness, and tailored his evidence to meet the position of his defendant client.

Indeed, this is not an isolated incident. ICBC has routinely hired biased doctors in the past, and will likely continue to do so in the future. At Mussio Goodman, we are always vigilant against biased experts and we ensure that our clients’ injuries are assessed in a fair, impartial manner.

Mussio Goodman Successful at Varying Will at Trial

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Mussio Goodman’s latest case Webber v. Sullivan, 2019 BCSC 1522 involved a deceased mother who disinherited her two daughters in favor of her two sons.

The will left the entire estate to one of the sons, the other having been provided for with a substantial gift before the mother passed away. The estate was valued at $434,000.

The case dealt with lengthy and difficult family history, with a number of complicating dynamics including allegations of child abuse. The defendant sons denied that our clients were entitled to anything from the estate. The defendants made allegations of estrangement and relied on the deceased’s will that indicated our clients were “uninvolved”.

At trial we argued that the will did not make adequate provision to our two disinherited clients. Evidence of continued contact with deceased through phone calls and visits was adduced. It was argued that the deceased had not met her moral obligation to provide something for our clients, and there was no credible evidence to suggest that our clients had done anything that would justify the deceased cutting them completely out of the will.

Madam Justice Horsman agreed, writing:

[172] Tataryn instructs that, if the size of the estate permits and there are no circumstances negating an obligation, a testator should make some provision for adult children in a will. In the present case, the size of Betty’s estate does permit some provision for the plaintiffs, and I conclude that there are no circumstances which would negate Betty’s moral obligation to the plaintiffs. In particular, the evidence does not establish any wrongful conduct on the part of the plaintiffs, or an estrangement with Betty that would justify their complete disinheritance.

As a result the will was varied 15% to provide for our clients. This case highlights that even where there is a difficult relationship between child and parent, there are moral obligations on a will-maker to provide for his or her children in the will. If you have been disinherited unfairly by your parent contact Mussio Goodman to seek your portion of the estate.

ICBC Part VII expense coverage after April 1, 2019

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There is a lot of confusion with the adjusters about how part VIIs work post April 1, 2019. There are three points:

  1. Under Part VII, ICBC will only compensate treatment expenses incurred after April 1, 2019 at “prescribed rates”, regardless of when the accident occurred;
  2. The requirement to furnish ICBC with receipts within 60 days of the service/treatment only applies to accidents that occur on or after April 1, 2019; and
  3. For accidents before April 1, 2019, the claimant can still claim “user fees” when a treatment costs more than the “prescribed rates”. However, for accidents on or after April 1, 2019 the recovery of “user fee” is no longer recoverable.

The reasons behind the above are set out below.

Section 88 deals with medical and rehabilitation benefits.  Subsection (1) outlines the benefits that must be paid by ICBC.  Subsection (1.2) provides that the benefits paid under subsection (1) must not exceed the fee limit set out in table 1 of schedule 3.1 (i.e., the new prescribed rates). :

(1.2) Subject to subsection (1.3), the benefits paid under subsection (1) must not,

(a) for each health care service referred to in subsection (1) (a), exceed the fee limit set out in Column B or C, as applicable, of Table 1 of Schedule 3.1 corresponding to that health care service,

(b) for occupational therapy, exceed the fee limit of $112 per hour, and

(c) for each health care service referred to in subsection (1) (a) that is provided by a physician, exceed the fee limit set out in Column B of Table 2 of Schedule 3.1.

Section 88.01 provides that receipts for benefits under s. 88 must be submitted to ICBC within 60 days.

Requirement for receipts

88.01   (1) If an accident occurs for which benefits are provided under section 88, the insured must provide to the corporation a receipt for the expenses incurred that will be compensated as benefits under that section no later than 60 days from the date that those expenses are incurred.

(2) The corporation is not liable to an insured who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with this section.

The transitional provisions for section 88 and 88.01 are at section 104.2 and 104.21 respectively.  Section 104.2 says that the new section 88 as it currently reads applies to expenses incurred after April 1, 2019 regardless of the date of the accident. Conversely, section 88.01 only applies in respect of accidents that occur after April 1, 2019.

Transitional — medical or rehabilitation benefits

104.2   Section 88 as it reads on April 1, 2019 applies in relation to medical or rehabilitation benefits payable under section 88 for expenses incurred on or after April 1, 2019 regardless of the date of the accident.

Transitional — receipts

104.21   Section 88.01 applies in respect of an accident that occurs on or after April 1, 2019.

For accidents before April 1, 2019, claimants can still claim “user fees” when treatment costs more than the “prescribed rates”. Section is 82.2 (4) clearly restricts coverage for accidents on or after April 1, 2019 so the “user fee” is no longer recoverable.

The Briefing Podcast: What happens when ICBC finds your case to be a “minor injury”?

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Mussio Goodman’s new Podcast, The Briefing, Talks About the Legal Issues Affecting You in B.C.

In this episode, Wes Mussio explains what happens if the ICBC categorizes your injury from an accident as a “minor injury.”

This podcast gives advice and explanation in civil legal cases within British Columbia, Canada. Presented by Mussio Goodman and hosted by Managing Partner  Wes Mussio, we specifically tackle issues of ICBC claims, estate litigation and more.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more Podcast episodes or Like us on Facebook or Twitter to be notify when we release new episodes.

Press Release: New Version of B.C. Best Seller “What ICBC Doesn’t Want You to Know”

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Wes Mussio, Managing Partner of Mussio Goodman Injury Lawyers has written a new version of the book titled “What ICBC Doesn’t Want You to Know”. The book series has over 50,000 copies in circulation and the latest version is sure to be even more popular than the others. After recently being featured in the Vancouver Sun and the Daily Hive the book has been published in its entirety on ICBCAdvice.com.

The reason being, the government has introduced a complete overhaul of the ICBC injury claim system for accidents on or after April 1, 2019 which will take away many of the rights of injured victims of car accidents. Wes Mussio remarked “If you read the press releases of the NDP government on the new system and read ICBC’s propaganda, most people would conclude that the changes are beneficial not harmful to the injured victims of car crashes in B.C.. Truth be told, there is going to be a severe restriction on victim’s rights under the new system as the ICBC no-fault scheme put in place by the NDP government is clearly one-sided in favour of reducing the level of compensation payable to injured victims. After all, David Eby is boldly predicting that the changes will save ICBC well over a $1 billion annually.”

Under the new system, B.C. motorists suffering injuries in a car crash at no fault of their own will have a difficult time finding a lawyer that will assist on ensuring that their rights are protected. The book, “What ICBC Doesn’t What You to Know” will help many unrepresented claimants, and there will be many, understand the new system so they will be able to best pursue their claim. In other words, the book will help balance the playing field which is now tilted heavily in favour of ICBC under the new system.

The book covers topics such as what injuries are considered “minor”, how to deal with the new Civil Resolution Tribunal, how to receive treatment for your injuries under the new system and dealing with your medical doctor under the new system. Without this book, if a claimant relied only on ICBC for information, an unfair outcome on the claim is a real possibility.

Mr. Mussio noted “Trying to simplify this new no-fault scheme put in place by the NDP government into an easy to understand book was a time consuming task. I cannot imagine the average citizen, without some legal training, being able to stickhandle their way through the process for a fair outcome. Indeed that injured victim will be up against a trained ICBC adjuster or ICBC defence lawyer. Without some knowledge from non-ICBC or government sources, expect most injury victims to not get a fair outcome through ICBC. I am hoping this book will give these injury victims a fair chance to get the compensation they deserve.”

If you have any questions on the book or the ICBC no-fault scheme fell free to contact Wes Mussio at mussio@mussiogoodman.com or 604-603-8335. The books are available free from the author as a public service to ensure the many unrepresented claimants have a fair shot at a reasonable outcome.