Mussio Law Prevents ICBC Doctor Examination of Our Client

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

As previously discussed, there are two ways ICBC can compel an injured claimant to attend an examination by a doctor of ICBC’s choosing. The first is pursuant to a claim for Part VII or “no-fault” benefits, whereby a claimant is receiving reimbursement for treatment expenses or ongoing wage loss, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

The second is in response to a tort claim; that is, after a plaintiff files a lawsuit against the other driver.

The law generally prevents ICBC from compelling a plaintiff to attend an examination by a doctor of the same specialty more than once. To do so would allow ICBC to “doctor shop”, or in other words, to send a claimant to, for instance, several orthopaedic surgeons until ICBC finally receives a medical report that serves their interests.

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Mussio Law Wins Third Consecutive WCB Tribunal Decision Against ICBC

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

As previously discussed, when an injured motorist first informs ICBC of the accident, one of the questions they may be asked is whether they were working at the time of the collision. The reason is, if both drivers involved in the accident were “workers” as defined by the Workers Compensation Act, there can be no injury claim against ICBC; rather, any compensation must be sought through WCB instead.

This is an unfavorable situation to the injured person, as the WCB regime does not provide any compensation for pain and suffering, and only limited reimbursement for lost wages.

Naturally, given the chance, ICBC will argue that a claimant was working, or performing some sort of work related activity, to avoid having to pay out. This was the situation in our recent case of Quillen v. Linnea.

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ICBC Penalized At Trial For Refusing to Accept Our Client’s Settlement Offer

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

As we recently announced, after our client rejected ICBC’s $25,000 offer, we proceeded to trial and were awarded $204,000 in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

With any successful judgment, we were also awarded “costs”, which is essentially an award of additional money to compensate for the work performed over the course of the litigation and, in turn, a means to lighten the amount of legal fees the client has to pay.

In this case, the costs were prescribed at $14,000. However, litigation rules allow for a “double costs” penalty if a settlement offer was made before trial, the offer was not accepted, and the trial award exceeded the offer.

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Mussio Law: Court Finds Bus Driver Liable for Client’s Injuries

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

We are pleased to announce that the Supreme Court of British Columbia has found the defendant bus driver liable for our client’s broken ankle and shoulder.

In this case, our client was attempting to catch a bus which was stopped at s bus stop. He ran towards the bus, approaching from its front and waving his hand in an attempt to get the bus driver’s attention.

The bus driver admitted to having seen our client running towards the bus; nevertheless, the bus driver closed the bus door and pulled away from the stop just as our client was within reach of the vehicle. The moving bus collided with our client’s hand as he waved from the curb, causing him to fall under the wheels of the bus.

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Mussio Law Wins Another WCB Tribunal Decision Against ICBC

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

When an injured motorist first informs ICBC of the accident, one of the questions they may be asked is whether they were working at the time of the collision. This is because, if both drivers were “workers” as defined by the Workers Compensation Act, there can be no injury claim against ICBC; rather, any compensation must be sought through WCB instead.

This is an unfavorable situation to any injured party, as the WCB regime does not provide any compensation for pain and suffering, and only limited reimbursement for lost wages.

Naturally, given the chance, ICBC will argue that a claimant was working, or performing some sort of work related activity, to avoid having to pay out. This was the case in Yushchenko v. Costa.

In this case, the Plaintiff drove from his office to meet his mother at home for lunch. The car accident occurred as he was on his way back to work.

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Mussio Law: Jury Awards Our Client $290,400 After She Declined ICBC’s $115,000 Offer

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

We are pleased to announce that, after declining ICBC’s offer to settle for $115,000, our client proceeded to a two week jury trial resulting in an award of $290,400.

The primary issue in this case was “causation”. In April 2009, our client was rear-ended at a red light in New Westminster. ICBC deemed the impact “low velocity” due to the minimal damage to our client’s vehicle, the repairs for which were estimated at $400.

In the years leading up to the accident, our client was diagnosed with severe spondylosis, otherwise known as degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine. However, our client suffered minimal pain and neurological symptoms from her condition prior to the collision.

After the accident however, our client suffered a severe escalation in her symptoms, and eventually underwent an invasive surgical procedure called a decompression laminectomy of the cervical spine.

There were two competing arguments in this case. Ours relied on the “thin skull” principle, which essentially means “you take your victim as you find them”. We argued that our client was in a fragile state at the time of the accident; she was predisposed to a significant injury due to her pre-existing condition. While a healthy 18 year old could have very well walked away from the impact unscathed, in our client’s case, the collision was the tipping point that resulted in surgery and her ongoing disability.

ICBC, on the other hand, relied on the “crumbling skull” principle. The health of our client, they argued, was on a trajectory of decline prior to the accident, and it was only a matter of time before she needed the surgery in any event.

ICBC therefore argued that they should not be held responsible for our client’s pain and suffering, wage loss and treatment expenses since she was going to end up in the same disabled state regardless of the accident.

The trial involved twenty expert reports and almost two dozen witnesses, including several neurologists, neurosurgeons and orthopaedic surgeons.

In the end, if the final award is any indication, the jury appeared to favour the evidence of our client, as well as that of the medical specialists testifying on her behalf. We are thrilled with the result and wish her all the best in her continuing recovery.

It should be noted that every case is different, and that past performance is no guarantee of future results. It should also be noted that very few injury claims require a resolution in a courtroom; in the vast majority of cases, we are able to negotiate a fair settlement with ICBC on behalf of our clients. However, in the event ICBC refuses to make a reasonable offer, we are always prepared to take the case to trial.