Category Archives: Expert opinions

Judge not convinced injury prevented pursuit of PhD but still awarded $125,000 for lost earning capacity

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

Bike helmets are designed to prevent skull fractures, not concussions, says Stanford prof 

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

Claimant changed her story between accident & medical assessments – judge rejects all her specialists’ opinions 

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

Judge penalizes claimant for not disclosing a serious fall & not providing her gp’s report

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

24-Hour expert hotline now available for questions about a concussion

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

Office worker awarded $50,000 for her lost earning capacity – backed up by report of work capacity evaluator

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

72 year old woman’s injuries healed within 3 years after her mva — judge awards her $50,000 for pain & suffering

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.

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$180,000 awarded to PTSD victim for her pain & suffering— judge rejects ICBC’s psychiatrist’s opinion

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:

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Claimant’s damages not reduced even though she refused medication & yoga

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.

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Judge slams opinions of orthopaedic surgeon & psychologist hired by ICBC’s lawyer & makes large award

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.

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Long-term dizziness & memory problems – $175,000 pain & suffering award

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.

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ICBC must pay $80,000 for student care aide’s loss of future earning capacity – experts’ opinions critical to this claim

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.
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Claimant’s award reduced by $13,500 because she failed to attend a doctor-recommended exercise program

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.

ICBC’s lawyer:

  • 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.

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Judge awards man $30,000 for the extent mva worsened his condition but rejects loss of housekeeping capacity claim

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.

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Judge rejects ICBC’s expert claim that a rhizotomy will cure the claimant’s low back pain – awards $230,000

Mr. Dzumhur suffered from chronic back pain as a result of a car accident in 2012 and was unable to work at his job at UPS.

At issue in the trial was whether or not there was treatment available that would give him full recovery from his chronic back pain.

ICBC medical specialist, Dr. Rickards, wrote that there were two procedures that would cause Mr. D. to experience a complete and full recovery from his accident and to see a return to his pre-accident work and recreational activities. They are:

  • “medical branch blocks” (diagnostic blocks) followed by
  • a rhizotomy

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Judge rejects the opinion of Dr Levin, a psychiatrist used frequently by ICBC, & awards damages of $702,435

Ms. Litt was involved in two car accidents, one in 2003 and another in 2010. They left her with an ongoing pain disorder. She sought compensation in part for her psychological injuries resulting from her accidents. She testified that her mood was awful – she felt angry and irritable all the time.

ICBC hired a psychiatrist, Dr. Levin. He wrote a report & then testified at trial. He claimed that because Ms. L. returned to work and school after her accidents she could not have a psychological pain disorder.

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Claimant giving inaccurate facts to medical specialists destroyed the usefulness of their reports

Ms. Pitcher was involved in a car accident in 2004 in Kelowna. She claimed that she suffered from a neck injury, head tremors and psychological disorders as a result of her accident. A significant issue in her lawsuit was whether or not she was being honest and forthright about her injuries and her pre-accident condition.

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Judge awards $150,000 for loss of future earning capacity

Mr. Grewal was a mobile security guard who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in Langley. He sustained severe injuries. They included broken ribs, chest abrasions and chronic pain in his shoulders and knees. He also experienced recurring bouts of depression. Mr. G finally went to trial for compensation for his injuries eight years after his accident.

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Court awards $400,000 for loss of future earning capacity in accident causing permanent wrist injury

Mr. Ishii sought compensation for a car accident in which he fractured both his arms and his right leg. All his doctors expressed the opinion that he would not be able to fully recover. He had a permanent disability in his right wrist. This severely impaired his ability to do repetitive movements or work. At the time of his first accident he was only 18 years old. He wanted to become a pilot or an automobile mechanic.

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Judge accepts claimant’s testimony which conflicted with what what her doctor thought her pre-accident medical records stated

Ms. Lemyre suffered soft tissue injuries to her neck in a car accident.  One issue at her trial was whether or not she already had neck pain prior to the accident. If the court concluded that she had pre-accident neck pain this would have resulted in a decrease in her overall award for damages.

In a medical report used as evidence in court her doctor wrote that:

  • she had visited the clinic in which she worked in 2009 complaining of neck pain and
  • she had a fall in 2008, for which she received cortisone injections and a neck brace.

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Claimant’s pre-existing psychological risk for PTSD reduced her award by 25%

After she was injured in two car accidents Ms. Wagner developed a generalized anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The main issue at trial was whether or not the claimant’s pre-existing psychological profile put her at risk for developing some of her symptoms absent the accident.

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Judge awards claimant the cost of a treadmill he purchased to relieve his back pain

The claimant, Mr. Chenier’s, car was struck by another vehicle. This left him with significant pain across the shoulders. These symptoms persisted until the date of his trial.

A doctor trained in sports medicine testified for the claimant at trial. He noticed that when the claimant walked slowly on a treadmill he experienced relief from his back pain. Mr. Chenier therefore claimed for the cost of a treadmill.

ICBC’s lawyer argued that the cost of a treadmill was unnecessary. Continue reading

Claimant rejects shoulder surgery – See how judge rules

Mr. Tabatabaei suffered an injury to his shoulder due to a car accident. Mr. T’s lawyers and ICBC each hired an orthopaedic surgeon to assess him and provide a report. They disagreed on the appropriate treatment.

Dr. Tarazi, the claimant’s expert, concluded that:

  • surgery would not improve Mr. T’s symptoms.
  • Mr. T will likely have ongoing pain and
  • he will require manual therapy 15 to 20 times per year for the rest of his life.

In spite of the surgeon that ICBC hired recommending surgery the judge awarded Mr. T. $15,000 for the cost of future manual therapy.

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Claimant’s pain doesn’t prove her inability to perform her job duties

Ms. McKay complained at her trial of ongoing pain. Her lawyer argued that her ongoing pain prevented her from performing her job duties at work and claimed $25,000 for her loss of future earning capacity.

The judge disagreed. On Feb 17th, 2015 she found that Ms. M’s complaints of pain alone did not establish that her pain prevented her from performing all of her duties at work. Accordingly, the judge declined to make any award for loss of future earning capacity.

Complaints of ongoing pain are generally not enough to prove such a claim.

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Judge rejects claimant’s claim for past wage loss as unreasonable

Ms. McKay took time off work to recuperate and receive chiropractic treatments three years after her car accident. She testified at trial that she had to take time off work due to her injuries from her accident and she sought between $10,000-$15,000 in past wage loss.

She did not bring any evidence suggesting that a doctor recommended she take time off work. ICBC’s lawyer argued that it was not medically necessary or reasonable to take time off work. Continue reading

Judge awards woman with constant pain & headaches $90,000 for pain & suffering

Ms. Roth was injured in a motor vehicle accident in 2011. She experienced neck pain and headaches up to her trial three years after the accident. Her doctors thought her injuries did not affect her as much as she claimed. They were also quite optimistic about her future. They predicted that: Continue reading

Large award after neurologist explains the cause, treatment & prognosis of headaches from whiplash

 Dr. Robinson is a senior neurologist in Vancouver who has a very well respected practice treating patients with headaches. He testified recently in the Supreme Court of B.C. in the case of Forder v. Linde.

He gave his insights into the treatment of headaches after a whiplash injury as well as his prediction of the future (prognosis). These would be valuable to anyone suffering from headaches after a whiplash injury.

Mr. Justice Crawford awarded the claimant a total of $835,600 for her damages.

He summarised Dr. Robinson’s report and testimony as follows: Continue reading

Is there an advantage in obtaining a private MRI versus an MRI at a hospital?

This is letter written by the president of Canadian Magnetic Imaging (CMI) , a private MRI clinic in Vancouver. While CMI benefits certainly benefits from injured people obtaining private MRI’s from them it is certainly worth considering what he has written:

“There has been much discussion about the use of MRI in litigation and, in particular, a focus on the role of the public system in recovering the cost of the scan. The reports attached to this newsletter demonstrate that, regardless of the recovery issues, the public system is not where you want your litigation clients scanned because it will likely not provide you with the information you require to obtain appropriate recovery for your clients.

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Court makes strict conditions for ICBC’s psychiatrist to do a “defence medical exam” of injured claimant

Mr. Browne was rendered a paraplegic as a result of a motor vehicle accident. He resides in Kelowna. ICBC applied to the Supreme Court for an order that he travel to Vancouver to attend Dr. Riar, a psychiatrist, for a defence medical assessment, a so-called “independent medical examination”.

Master Miur gave her written reasons in August, 2014. She made a number of conditions for Mr. Browne’s attendance:

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Judge reduces award to woman with chronic pain who failed to accept medical advice to seek counseling and take meds

After her accident, the plaintiff (claimant) in the Carreon-Rivera v. Zhang case got worse rather than better over time and developed  chronic pain and depression as a result of her injuries.

Her one failing, which cost her at trial, was this: she chose to ignore the advice of her physicians to obtain psychological counseling and to take anti-depressant medication for her depression. Her physicians thought that this would have helped but not cured her chronic pain.

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Another expert chosen by ICBC for the defence bites the dust in court

It is often stated that “credibility is king” in our legal system. A well known North Vancouver psychologist did not pass Justice Romilly’s credibility test in the case of Kristiansen v. Grewal which  he decided on April 10, 2014. However the claimant and her friend did pass the test.

Justice Romilly wrote in his reasons for judgement that “Among the experts, I found that Dr. Koch’s report and his testimony in court seemed to lack objectivity. In fact, he seemed to be more of an advocate for the defendants and ICBC. I have difficulty accepting any of his evidence.” [para. 14]. Continue reading