Ms William, 59, claimed that prior to her MVA she did the cooking & cleaning at home without her family’s help. 4 years after her MVA, Ms W still suffers from neck, back & chronic knee pain that limits her daily activity. As a result, her husband & adult son have done most of the cleaning & cooking in their home since her MVA. Continue reading
Ms Wolford, 47, claimed that her injuries from her MVA caused her to miss work for much of the three year period between her accident & her trial. Continue reading
Mr. McLatchie, a 46-year-old server, continued to suffer from chronic pain & a psychological reaction 5 years after his MVA. He claimed that his injuries limit his work ability.
At trial, he admitted that he had received tax credits & health benefits from governments by under-reporting his income to the CRA. Continue reading
Ms. Mullens continued to experience significant pain & psychological problems 4 years after her accident when she went to trial. Her doctors had recommended more psychiatric treatment & exercise but she did not follow this advice. She also never tried to gradually return to work. Continue reading
Ms. Ali, 42, had moderate pain in her chest, wrist, shoulder & back after her MVA.
5 years later at the time of her trial, she continued to suffer from severe back pain that interfered with all aspects of her life. Due to her pain, she became moody & isolated herself from her family. Her psychiatrist diagnosed her with major depressive disorder & PTSD. Continue reading
In a study published in August 2017, researchers measured the association between low back pain (LBP) & muscle-strengthening activity (MSA) in adults. They found that engaging in MSA at least 2 times per week was associated with having lower odds of having LBP. However, they found that this association did not hold in male smokers. Continue reading
Ms D, 53, was injured in a car accident ten years before her trial. A psychologist that her lawyer referred her to a year before her trial diagnosed her with: major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe driving & other anxiety & severe & constant chronic pain. Continue reading
Ms. Bains was 27 when she was injured in a car accident in 2013. She was interested in finding a career as a law enforcement officer. This would have required her to pass challenging strength & endurance testing.
She claimed at trial 4 years later that she was no longer able to do this work due to her ongoing injuries & limitations. Continue reading
Many people feel very stressed in negotiating with ICBC for a final settlement. They often think that they are not receiving a fair offer. This is often based, at least in part, on a very common misunderstanding of how ICBC compensation for damages claims works.
ICBC is an insurance company that wears several hats, so to speak. Continue reading
In a new albeit small study, scientists measured the effects of intense training in short spurts versus moderate training over a longer period. They found that the former, called “High Intensity Interval Training” (HIT), improved migraine symptoms more than the latter, called “Moderate Continuous Exercise” (MCT). Continue reading
Mr. Parker, a 60 year old chiropractor, claimed that as a result of his minor MVA he experienced:
- injuries to his neck,
- aggravation of his lumbar disc disease,
- weakness in his right hand &
Ms. Paterson, 79, lives on a 20-acre farm near Sooke, B.C. Three years after her car accident she continued to experience chronic neck pain & issues with her mood & memory. Her medical experts wrote that she requires ongoing treatment to manage her symptoms & that she will require assistance in the future with daily activities & house care. Continue reading
Ms C sustained the following injuries as a result of her MVA:
– worsening of her neck, back & shoulder pain & headaches,
– acceleration of her arthritis, &
– worsening of her depression. Continue reading
Many people consider PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) to be purely a psychological condition but a new study at UC San Diego Health shows that PTSD may have an underlying physical basis.
The UC researchers observed that the brain emotional control centre called the amygdala was larger in head injured individuals who develop PTSD after mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) than in those with mTBI who did not develop PTSD. Continue reading
Ms. Cheema claimed that as a result of her MVA in 2012 she was unable to perform basic household chores, she hired a lady who assisted her about 50-52 hours per month & she paid her $1,100 per month. Continue reading
A radio-frequency rhizotomy (or denervation) is a procedure many medical specialists in the field of pain management use to treat patients with chronic back or neck pain caused by proven damage to one or more of their facet joints. These very small joints serve to stabilize between & behind adjacent vertebrae & they can be damaged in vehicle accidents.
Clinical trials with 681 patients with chronic low back pain showed….. Continue reading
Ms. Cantwell, 35, was born with medical conditions causing her chronic chest pain & mobility issues. Despite these conditions, she lived a full life & worked full time.
After a minor MVA in 2011, she suffered significantly more pain, but she continued to work. In 2013 she experienced a “popping” feeling while shoulder-checking. After that, her chest pain was severe. Continue reading
Yoga can be as likely to be effective as physical therapy in relieving moderate & persistent low back pain according to a recent study of 320 people published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers assigned 320 people ages 18 to 64 to one of three groups. Each group did one of: Continue reading
Mr. Fleming owns 50% of a small business that sells roofing & siding materials. His company was doing well until 2 years before the first of his accidents. It then began losing money.
His accidents caused him lasting low back pain & his company’s losses increased after his first accident. He claimed that his company lost more money than it would have without his injuries. Continue reading
After Ms. Willet’s car was struck in the rear by a car that attempted to pass her she had pain in her neck, back, right shoulder & right hip. Seven years later when she went to trial she continued to suffer from neck pain that led to severe migraine headaches. She had a long history of migraines before her accident. Continue reading
In order to do this, a judge uses a monetary award to put the claimant in a financial position as close as possible to what she would have been in absent her accident. This involves comparing her working life “absent the accident” to it “as a result of her accident”. This is no easy task with a young claimant who had not even completed secondary school when her accident occurred. The judge awarded Ms Ellis $730,000 for this category of her damages. Continue reading
Back in Motion is hosting a six-session chronic pain self-management course at four of its locations in the Lower Mainland. The course is designed to help people who live with chronic pain to manage their symptoms & improve the quality of their life. B in M is doing this in partnership with the University of Victoria & BC Health. Continue reading
Mr. Wright, age 56, was rear-ended. This resulted in a balance system disorder called “visual-vestibular mismatch”.
It also caused soft-tissue injuries to his shoulders, neck & back & significant worsening of his depression.
His balance problems caused him to fall & suffer an injury to his groin. Continue reading
In 2006 Mr Wright, age 56, suffered dizziness & balance issues from being rear ended. This prevented him from doing basic household chores. Ms Lau, his common-law wife, took on most of the household chores, particularly in the year following the accident. In 2010 Mr W. stopped driving and Ms Lau took on the responsibility of driving him places. Continue reading
Many people suffer from anxiety when driving after their car accident. Often their physicians prescribe medication & psychotherapy.
An article on May 18, 2017 in Medscape Psychiatry reviewed the scientific literature on whether certain foods can also be beneficial in lowering people’s level of anxiety. Continue reading
Mr. Lafond, 57, continued to have pain in his right shoulder, neck & back as well as ongoing headaches, anxiety & depression at his trial 6 years after his car accident & his future did not look bright. He was a stoic person not given to complaining. Continue reading
Many injured people don’t discuss their use of over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, such as Tylenol & Advil, with their doctor. Often this is because they don’t consider them to really be medication since they are not prescribed.
Charles P. Vega, MD, explained the following safety factors he considers when he recommends an OTC pain reliever to a patient: Continue reading
Many people injured in car accidents have difficulty sleeping due to pain. New research suggests that even mildly insufficient sleep duration can have an adverse effect on people. Continue reading
Natalie Ellis, age 16, suffered extensive injuries in a very severe mva including mild brain injury, hand injury, multiple fractures, chronic pain & PSTD.
Mr. Catling, age 56, was broadsided in a car accident. Four years later at his trial, he complained of ongoing pain in his back, knees & elbows which doctors diagnosed as moderate soft tissue injuries.
His work in his own small plumbing business involved very physical labour & working in awkward body positions. ICBC’s medical expert was optimistic about his recovery but the expert hired by Mr. C’s lawyer was quite pessimistic.
If you get the feeling that someone is watching you may be correct. Sometimes an investigator ICBC hires will sit in a parked van on the street where an injured person lives.
ICBC uses this less these days since it now gets some valuable evidence much less expensively by checking claimants’ social media sites, particularly Facebook.
The following are some of the most important aspects of ICBC surveillance. Continue reading
8 months prior to her first of two accidents, Ms. Brown began a new career as a certified dental assistant. At the time of her trial she suffered from low back pain & vision problems.
The judge found that before her mva’s she had been doing well & had opportunities to advance in the dental field.
Many injured people suffer a great deal of psychological stress after their accident. They are often on tight budgets because they are unable to work. Thus they may buy less fruits & vegetables to reduce their grocery bills.
A recent large study involving more than 60,000 Australian participants showed that injured people may unknowingly increase their risk of suffering from post-accident mental stress by eating less fruits & vegetables.
The study also found a surprising difference between men & women. Continue reading
Ms. Kim suffered soft tissue injuries from her mva to her low back & SI joints which caused her significant pain. This pain, combined with her pre-accident personality, resulted in the mental & physical disorders she suffered.
After her trial, the judge concluded that:
- Ms. K suffered “more than superficial physical injuries”,
- she had faced very significant mental suffering,
- her disability was likely permanent &
- it prevented her from doing activities she enjoyed before her mva, her work & her more difficult household tasks.
Many people injured in vehicle accidents develop depression. Sometimes this is so severe that a physician or psychologist diagnoses the patient as having “clinical depression”. Often this is a result of people realising that their recovery will not be as rapid as they had hoped.
A recent study showed that if people follow a very healthy diet they may be able to:
- lower their risk of developing clinical depression or
- recover from their clinical depression more quickly.
People injured or insured in BC who suffer PTSD as a result of an mva are entitled to ICBC Accident Benefits. These include funding for psychological treatments & reimbursement for prescribed medications.
There are a few psychotherapy treatments & medications that are shown to be effective in the treatment of PTSD including:
- prolonged-exposure therapy,
- cognitive processing therapy,
- eye movement desensitization & reprocessing (EMDR) &
- a couple of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s).
Ms. Kim had studied to be a dietitian in Korea. She moved to Vancouver with limited English 3 years before her accident & planned to train as a dietitian here. Before her accident, she worked part-time as a waitress & studied English.
After her trial, the judge concluded that she:
- has chronic back pain & depression,
- is likely permanently unemployable & overall less capable of earning income for the rest of her life, but
- may possibly be able to have a less well-paid career as a nutritional aide or waitress.
Mr. Churath, age 46, was rear-ended in a car accident. Five years later at his trial, he complained of back pain which radiated down to his right foot, continuing disability & resulting depression.
Video ICBC investigators took showed that Mr. C was less limited in his activities than he claimed.
One year before his accident, he suffered a low back disc injury. After surgery, he was left with only minor pain & limitations at the time of his car accident.
Some people injured in car accidents experience what they may call dizziness after their accident. This feeling may persist for days, months or even years. One major problem is that there are several quite different experiences people may have when they use the word “dizziness”. These include feelings:
- – of spinning or other feelings of movement (which doctors call “vertigo”),
- – of lightheadedness without a feeling of motion,
- – that one is going to pass out or faint,
- – of blurring of vision on movement of one’s head and
- – of being off-balance or unsteady on one’s feet.
Ms. Dupuis, 56, suffered from neck, shoulder, back & hip pain caused by her second accident a month after her first minor one.
When her symptoms did not improve 2 years after her accident, her family doctor recommended she start a conditioning program. She didn’t follow his advice until almost 4 years after her accident when she still had shoulder pain. The judge awarded her $65,000 for the pain and suffering she experienced over those four years and minor problems after that. Continue reading
Many injured people who do not have a speedy recovery from their injuries are tempted to consider treatment by injections of Botox (Botulinum Toxin).
A pain management physician at the U. of Colorado Health Sciences Centre* wrote an article in Medcape on March 9, 2016 in which she referred to a review of botulinum toxin studies performed by the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology… Continue reading
In 2007 the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society published an article entitled “Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guidline”.
Part of the guidelines dealt with the treatment of low back pain. The subcommittee wrote the following recommendations for each of acute (duration less than 4 weeks), subacute (duration 4 to 8 weeks) and chronic low back pain: Continue reading
Mr. Dhaliwal was 24 years old when he went to trial. He had posted on Facebook photos & opinions about his job & recreational activities & his thoughts on the police. He claimed that he continued to suffer from neck, shoulder & back pain & that his pain impaired his ability to work.
ICBC’s lawyer used his postings to argue at trial that:
- he was not believable,
- he no longer experienced pain &
- the court should reject his claims that he intended to become a police officer & that he can no longer do this.
Mr. Day was a professional photographer. A jury decided that he was no longer competitively employable as a result of his car accident. It awarded him a total of $1,559,276 for all categories of his damages. Continue reading
In 2011, Ms. Taba sustained a moderate soft tissue injury to her neck & back & a blow to her head from her accident. She claimed that as a result she could not enroll in a PhD program, which required a major thesis. Instead, she applied for the master’s degree program. She claimed compensation for her reduced future income due to her inability to get a PhD. Continue reading
Ms. Blenkarn was at fault for her 1st accident. She was later involved in 4 more mva’s for which she was not at fault. Her 2nd – 4th mva’s worsened her 1st mva injuries. Her 5th mva was more significant and caused her to stop working because of her headaches. At trial ICBC’s lawyer argued that:
- all of Ms. B’s injuries were mainly caused by her 1st accident &
- thus, her damages should be significantly reduced to account for this.
After Mr. Klein’s 2 mvas, he suffered from neck, back & shoulder pain & a fractured tailbone. He returned to part-time carpentry a few months after each mva, but he was forced to take on easier jobs, work fewer hours and rest more. Almost a year after his 2nd mva, he started up his own carpentry company but he worked only 40 – 60 % of what did before his accidents.
ICBC’s lawyer argued at his trial that Mr. K had failed to mitigate (minimize or reduce) his losses because he had failed to:
- look for non-carpentry jobs &
- undertake the rehab program that ICBC’s doctor had recommended.
Ms. Villing suffered from continuing low back pain at her trial 5 years after her accident. This caused her some difficulty handling her part-time job as a legal assistant. ICBC hired an orthopaedic surgeon to assess Ms. V. He stated that a procedure called a rhizotomy would improve her back pain but would need repeating over time.
In spite of the optimism of the surgeon ICBC hired, the trial judge awarded Ms. V. $100,000 for her loss of future earning capacity. ICBC appealed this award to the B.C. Court of Appeal. Three of its judges affirmed the trial judge’s award. Continue reading
The study randomly assigned participants to one of three groups, those in:
- weekly yoga classes over 12 weeks, which taught breathing exercises, postures and deep relaxation;
- weekly stretching classes which taught aerobic exercises, deep stretches & strengthening exercises focused on the lower body; &
- “self-care”. This was the control group. They only received a book with advice on back exercises & how to reduce pain.
A recent medical study shows the ineffectiveness of acetaminophen (Tylenol) in reducing pain & disability for patients with spinal pain or osteoarthritis. It also found that it may have harmful effects on the liver.
The findings from this study emphasize a shift away from pharmacological treatment to non-pharmacological ones. Continue reading
In 2011, Mr. Ben-Yosef, 59, was still experiencing pain from a 12-year-old soft tissue injury from a prior accident when a car struck him in a crosswalk. He was able to walk away from the accident. Continue reading
American & Canadian PTSD experts conducted a new study that revealed that treating post-traumatic stress disorder is more effective for “patients in committed relationships when their partners are deeply involved in the care”. Continue reading
Ms. Wahid, an RCMP officer, had two car accidents a year & a half apart.
She missed work for treatment & the RCMP put her on medical leave for about 15 months because she was unfit for duty due to her accidents. Continue reading
Ms. Mullens continued to experience significant pain & psychological problems 4 years after her accident when she went to trial. Her doctors had recommended more psychiatric treatment & exercise but she did not follow this advice. She also never tried to gradually return to work. Continue reading
Ms. Mullens suffered moderate soft tissue injuries in a car accident. At her trial 4 years later, she continued to suffer from anxiety, depression, panic attacks & chronic headaches, neck & low back pain.
The judge concluded that “from a purely physical point of view she ought to have recovered from her injuries long ago, but the accident triggered ongoing psychological conditions…”
She had not followed several recommendations given by her doctors. Continue reading
At his trial Mr. Ilett was not able to give a precise plan for how long he would have worked at the shipyards. His estimates varied from 1 to 5 years. Continue reading
Mr. McNeilly, 52, was suffering from a back injury, degenerative disc disease & severe pain in both feet before his accident. Then he suffered shoulder, hip, neck & chest injuries from his mva.
Two of the main issues at his trial were:
– to what extent his condition was worsened by his mva &
– whether he was partly at fault for his mva. Continue reading
Dr. David Camarillo is a bioengineering professor at Stanford University & a brain injury expert. His lab has designed a new very large helmet to greatly reduce the risk of brain injury. It provides more space & therefore more time for the head to slow down so that the brain is not bruised by hitting the inside of the skull. Continue reading
Ms. Gill’s lawyer claimed that she will have long-term consequences from a head injury from her car accident. He relied on the opinions of 4 medical specialists he hired to prove her claim.
ICBC’s lawyer claimed that the opinions of those medical experts were wrong because they got the facts wrong from the claimant. Continue reading
Ms. Gill suffered a minor head injury & minor soft tissue injuries as a result of her car accident & experienced headaches and dizziness. Continue reading
The New York Times wrote: “the scientists concentrated on all Swedes born between 1973 and 1985 and looked for those who had experienced a head injury of some kind before the age of 25. More than 104,000 people qualified.
Over the 3 years between her car accident & trial Ms. Bove improved but she occasionally had pain in her neck & back to the point that she had to miss work as an administrative assistant.
Before her accident, she had occasional issues with her abdomen & vertigo which caused her to miss work 2 to 4 times a year. Continue reading
Three years after Ms. Mohamud’s car accident she fell, was knocked unconscious and was taken to the hospital. She claimed at trial that her fall made her pain worse for only a week. Then it returned to what it was like before her fall.
She did not mention her serious fall to any of the 3 medical specialists her lawyer hired for her case.
Her lawyer did not provide the court with a report from her family doctor (gp). Continue reading
Mr. Martin suffered neck & back injuries from his mva in December, 2012. He had gained 20 – 25 pounds in 2012 prior to his accident. Between April, 2013 & May, 2015 he attended a physiotherapy exercise program to strengthen his back & abdominal core muscles.
ICBC argued at trial that:
- Had Mr. M made a reasonable & prompt effort to lose weight and keep that weight off his condition would have improved faster and,
Dr. Jha, a Toronto neurosurgeon, has launched a 24-hour toll-free hotline (1-855-899-5665) for anyone who has or thinks he/she may have sustained a concussion, including after a car accident, and has questions about his/her injury.
Dr. Jha says that, contrary to popular belief, a concussion can be caused by trauma other than a blow to the outside of the head. For example, during a car accident, it is possible to sustain a concussion from one’s brain getting bruised by impact with the inside of one’s skull. Continue reading
Ms. Virk suffered neck, shoulders & back injuries in an accident. She returned in time to her job as an HR administrator which paid $41,600 per annum. She left this job about 2 years after her accident due to her ongoing pain. After three months at another job, she found her current position as a talent acquisition manager for a marketing company with an annual salary of $63,000. This is $21,400 more than she earned prior to her accident. Continue reading
Mrs. Merko’s two accidents left her with chronic pain which severely impacted her quality of life. Her neurologist who treats her headaches & her GP recommended:
- an exercise program;
- Botox® injections for her headaches which got worse after her mva’s &
- Butrans® patches & other medications to manage her high level of pain.
A new study published in the Pediatrics medical journal shows that those who experienced a concussion and did not rest immediately afterwards took nearly twice as long to recover as those who rested immediately.
Ms. Powell’s suffered from neck & upper & lower back pain after her accident. After a short recovery period, she returned to work part-time. She worked for three years part-time but then stopped working because of her ongoing pain.
Ms. P then applied for ICBC basic total disability benefits of only $300 per week. ICBC denied them because she did not receive them within the first 2 years following her accident.
If one is completely disabled from working as a result of a car accident one can apply to ICBC for either basic or extended wage replacement benefits (of up to $700 per week tax free) in accordance with the rules explained below.
Ms. Suthakar was injured when another vehicle smashed into her car. Before her accident, she worked two jobs. She took about three or four months off from work after her accident. She then returned to both of her jobs and claimed damages from ICBC for the income she lost from both of them.
ICBC’s lawyer argued that the driver ICBC represented should only have to compensate her for her loss of income of one of her two jobs. He argued that she would not have continued working two jobs because she was already in a financially comfortable position.
Ms. Tan was 52 years old at the time of her mva. She had been working as a room attendant cleaning guest rooms for nearly 16 months at The Westin Wall Centre Hotel (“The Westin”). By her trial date she had not returned to work at her former physically demanding or any job since her mva due to her chronic pain & cognitive & psychological issues.
ICBC’s lawyer argued at trial that:
- Ms. T’s loss of future earning capacity award should be small and,
- she will be able to get a job again if it involves her being seated or performing only light-strength work.
Ms. Olson was struck & injured by a car while walking across an unmarked crosswalk. As she left the curb she was engaged in a telephone conversation.
Ms. Bardua was 72 years old at the time of her mva & was already suffering from back, knee & hip problems. After her accident her pre-accident pain & discomfort worsened & she also began experiencing rib pain.
One issue at her trial was whether Ms. B pain & discomfort had returned to how she was pre-accident.
Ms. Norris, a long-haul truck driver, claimed at her trial that she was permanently disabled due to her accident & was unable to ever work again.
ICBC disregarded a court order that its lawyer provide a list about three weeks before Ms. N’s trial of the dates & length of each surveillance video its investigators had taken. ICBC did not disclose the hours of surveillance footage its investigators took in 2015 until near the end of the civil jury trial. Some of the clips pictured Ms. N in a clearly weakened state and one critical video clip pictured Ms. N as she entered a Starbucks, sat down, collapsed and was then taken away by an ambulance. They would have assisted Ms. N in her case.
On August 8th 2016, Justice Gordon Funt condemned and punished ICBC for its actions.
Ms. Jossy was in an accident in 2011. It resulted in ankle surgeries, neck, shoulder & back pain & disabling psychological injuries. She had struggled with her mental health before her mva as she had experienced severe emotional & physical childhood trauma. However she had greatly improved before her accident. After it, these problems worsened to the point that she was hospitalized in 2014.
ICBC hired Dr. Milanese, a psychiatrist. He assessed Ms. J., prepared a report & testified at her trial. He downplayed her condition & stated that:
Ms. Kaler’s mva’s left her with chronic pain & cognitive & psychological problems. 2 years after her last mva she stopped attending yoga & also stopped taking her pain medication.
At trial ICBC’s lawyer argued that:
- Ms. K was unreasonable to stop her medication & yoga &
- her award for damages should therefore be reduced.
As a result of his accidents, Mr. Uppal suffered from back pain which radiated down his lower leg. On doctor’s orders, he went for an MRI to determine the exact cause of his symptoms. He went to a private facility for his MRI and paid out-of-pocket instead of waiting to obtain a free MRI at a hospital.
At issue was whether or not it was reasonable for Mr. U to obtain a private MRI when public healthcare is free.
David Mackey was 17 years old when he was visiting BC from the US. He was swinging on a severely corroded lamp post. It broke & he fell ten meters below. & suffered a severe brain injury.
Mr. Justice Macintosh heard a 34 day trial to assess relative degrees of fault and Mr. Mackey’s damages including his loss of future earning capacity.
Mr. Mackey’s lawyers argued that absent his accident he would have become an orthopaedic surgeon in the USA even though he was still in high school when he was injured.
The defence argued that the claimant’s scholastic performance up to the accident date would have barred him from achieving the qualifications needed to eventually become an orthopedic surgeon.
Ms. Dabu suffered injuries to her neck, back & shoulder in an mva. She claimed at trial that her ability to do the housework she previously did remained very limited. Her husband and children took on almost all of the cooking, cleaning and gardening duties she did before her mva.
She claimed compensation of $20,000 for past and $84,000 for future loss of housekeeping capacity.
Mr. Moini experienced pain & depression that were worsened by his 3 car accidents. A few months after his first accident, he stopped taking his anti-depressant medication because he found that it made him dizzy, drowsy & unable to concentrate & work. Mr. M also stopped attending psychological counselling after a few sessions because he found it “completely unhelpful”.
At trial ICBC’s lawyer argued that:
- he failed to mitigate his losses by not attending counselling & taking anti-depressants;
Mr. Bramley suffered injuries in a car accident. As a result, he was unable to do manual labour for a period of time. He hired a subcontractor to replace him in his business for 4 months & then hired him as an employee for almost a year.
He claimed in court that he would not have paid the man who was his subcontractor absent his accident.
Ms. Kalstrom was involved in six MVA’s between 2001 & 2004. Ms. K claimed at trial for all her MVA’s that she suffered from chronic pain & depression as a combined result of all her accidents. ICBC’s lawyers, on behalf of the drivers at fault for the accidents, argued that her chronic pain was caused by stressors that are unrelated to her accidents.
ICBC’s lawyer hired:
- Dr. Schweigel, an elderly orthopaedic surgeon who had done a huge amount of work for ICBC over the years. He, in essence, rejected Ms. K’s claim and implied that she was exaggerating and
- Dr. Koch, a psychologist. He claimed that Ms. K’s problems stemmed from a borderline personality disorder and not from her MVA’s.
Ms. Gill was in a car accident when she was 8 months pregnant. She suffered:
- a brain injury requiring an immediate craniotomy &
- a cesarean delivery, as her baby was in distress and then was in a coma for 3 days.
Mr. McCullum was in an mva in 2008, from which he suffered a neck & back injury, & then in a 2nd mva in 2011. His lawyer argued at trial that Mr. M’s ongoing use of and addiction to illegal drugs were caused by his 2nd accident because:
- his drug use began in the first week after his 2nd accident occurred;
- he was self-medicating to address his physical pain and
- he turned to illegal drugs because he did not like the idea of using prescription medicines.
Ms. Fletcher (née Rutter) suffered neck, back & psychological injuries as a result of her accident.
An issue at her trial was whether during her period of unemployment her psychological injuries:
- prevented her from taking advantage of jobs she could have accepted and, if so:
- what were the chances she would have earned income during this period &
- about how much income would she have earned had she worked.
Ms. Rock, a waitress in a pub, sued her former employer in BC Small Claims Court. She gave her version of conversations between her & her employer & her employer gave a different version of events.
At trial, Ms. R testified that she had earned more than $10,000 in tips in 2011, but that she had only disclosed 15% of these tips to CRA. Her lawyer argued that the judge should look past her lack of candour, partially because it is common in some industries that taxpayers do not report all of their income. This was not a winning argument.
Mr. Mayer was 69 years old when he was involved in a car accident. After his accident everything hurt — his hands, neck and back. These symptoms gradually improved. He also suffered from dizziness & memory loss which continued at the time of his trial.
Mr. M ran a business making custom equipment for rehab & physio clinics. He also excelled in amateur winemaking & wine judging. Just before his trial, he had to close his business because his dizziness and memory loss affected his ability to work. His memory loss also affected his ability to judge wines because judges are required to make recommendations on how to improve wine blends.
Each of Mr. Mayer’s & ICBC’s lawyer called a neurologist to testify at trial about whether or not he suffered a mild brain injury. ICBC’s neurologist was trounced.
Ms. Fletcher (née Rutter) was in an mva in 2007 from which she suffered chronic neck & lower back strain.
She lived with her fiancé. After her accident, her mother came to stay with them for the first 3-4 months & helped to take care of Ms. F’s needs.
Her lawyer argued that her mother & fiancé should be compensated for:
- driving Ms. F to appointments,
- grocery shopping and
- household tasks (laundry, meals, and other day-today needs as required)
Ms. Nijjar was injured in a car accident in Surrey in 2010 & again in 2012.
- After MVA 1 she suffered from neck & back pain & daily headaches.
- MVA 2 greatly exacerbated her neck pain & she developed chronic pain.
Shortly after MVA 2, she began to experience panic attacks. Six months later she developed depression. At trial, Ms. N’s lawyer claimed that her panic attacks & depression were caused by her car accidents.
Ms. Niijar went to trial claiming damages arising from her chronic headaches & neck & back pain caused by two accidents. Madam Justice Baker concluded on March 30, 2016 that her:
- capacity to work at any type of employment she wanted was reduced due to her injuries & her loss of stamina and
- career goal of being a care aide could be affected because this work will require her to have a strong back so she can do heavy lifting.
She considered the opinions of her family doctor, her functional capacity evaluator & her treating medical specialist & the medical specialist ICBC chose.
Ms. Nijar was injured in two car accidents two years apart. Neither of them were her fault. She suffered from headaches & neck & back pain from both her accidents which had not resolved at the time of her trial.
- used Ms. N’s doctor’s records to show that he had told her a few times to go to the gym or to a rehab program to strengthen her back muscles,
- argued that she did not follow his advice & thus did not take all reasonable steps to mitigate (minimize) her damages and
- had her doctor agree in cross-examination that if she had done some weight training she would have had less back pain.
Mr. Ben-Yosef was in a serious car accident in 1998 and never fully recovered. In 2011, 13 years later, he was struck by a car while in a crosswalk. He described the accident to his family doctor 2 weeks later — that he had been “bumped”.
At trial, Mr. B claimed that:
- his 2011 accident worsened his ongoing symptoms from his 1998 injuries,
- it had prevented him from being able to do his family’s housekeeping and
- he hired a housecleaner to replace his work around the house.
Julien was 5 years old at the time of his accident in early 2012. His mother was driving too fast, her car skidded & flipped over. He sustained a blow to his head, a fractured bone of the eye socket, some bruising on his head and anxiety issues which remained at the time of his trial.
Ms. Lacayo was in a car accident in 2008. She suffered multiple soft tissue injuries and her depression worsened. She sought compensation on behalf of her husband at her trial for $43— $45,000. He claimed he drove her to many doctors’ appointments, that this sometimes resulted in his missing work and that this will continue.
This is called in law an “in trust” claim. Ms. L. would hold in trust any such award for her husband.
The judge concluded that what Ms. L’s husband did for her was not over and above the normal “give and take” between spouses. He therefore rejected this part of her claim. See below for what one needs to do and to prove if one wishes to pursue such a claim.
Mr. Arletto’s injuries from an mva included back and shoulder pain. His doctors finally determined that they were permanent. He was employed as a longshoreman for 14 years prior to his accident.
A judge of the Supreme Court of BC found that 5 years after his accident Mr. Arletto:
- suffers from permanent back & shoulder pain,
- had to reduce his working hours,
- cannot tolerate loud noises or family dinners due to the “swooshing” sound in his ear (tinnitis), and
- as a result of his inability to tolerate loud noises his family & social relationships have suffered.
In a previous blog on March 11, 2016 we discussed a case where ICBC wrongly accused a claimant of fraud. Two weeks after the judge awarded $350,000 in punitive damages in that case for malicious prosecution, a jury found ICBC liable for wrongly denying a claim again.
Mr. Pinch was in 2 motor vehicle accidents (“MVAs”). As a result of MVA #1 he incurred chronic pain. In MVA #2 he injured many of the same areas.
When MVA #2 occurred both he and the at fault driver were on the job.
When MVA #1 occurred neither he nor the at fault driver were on the job and ICBC was the the third party liability insurer of the at fault driver.
The judge decided that Mr. P. was only entitled to damages from ICBC for that portion of his damages that were attributable to MVA #1.
Ms. Felix was a designated driver for her boyfriend. He was intoxicated at the time and grabbed her steering wheel. This resulted in a severe accident and severe injuries to Ms. Felix.
A court judgment awarded her nearly $800,000 in damages against her deceased boyfriend but ICBC refused to pay the damages. ICBC’s lawyer argued that it is only obligated to pay for damages arising out of the “use” of the motor vehicle and the drunk passenger’s actions did not constitute “use” of the vehicle.
In a series of guidelines, medical agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) in the USA are warning doctors about the dangers of prescribing opiates for chronic pain. They point to strong evidence suggesting that drug and opioid related deaths have sharply increased each year since 2000.