04 Nov Medical Evidence at Trial
At trial, the Plaintiff normally provides the Court with medical evidence that supports their claim for personal injury. ICBC often provides medical evidence that contradicts this or minimizes the injuries. Klein v. Sangha, 2016 BCSC 1864, is an unusual case that is an exception to this.
In Klein v. Sangha, the Plaintiff was injured in two motor vehicle accidents. The Judge acknowledged that these two cases were unusual because (a) the Defendant accepted that the Plaintiff was credible when describing his pain and suffering and (b) a report from the Plaintiff’s family doctor was less supportive of the Plaintiff’s assessment of injuries than the Defendant’s medical expert’s assessment.
The Plaintiff’s family doctor prepared a report for the Court that was not particularly favourable to the Plaintiff’s claim. The doctor stated that the Plaintiff was not totally disabled as a result of the accidents. It was his opinion that with appropriate management in a multidisciplinary setting, the Plaintiff should be fully able to do his pre-accident duties in two months.
The Defendant’s expert orthopaedic surgeon was of the opinion that the Plaintiff suffered from lumbar facet joint irritation in the low back area. He also found degenerative disease in his cervical spine. Regarding the extent of injuries attributable to the accident, the Defence expert acknowledged he was not surprised that the Plaintiff still suffered from low back pain, that his pain was possibly debilitating and that facet irritation was aggravated by twisting motions he would experience as a carpenter. He stated that the Plaintiff’s occupation was a major factor in his pain.
When asked about alleviating some or all of the pain, the Defence expert stated that the Plaintiff had done lots of physiotherapy and kinesiology treatments, which had not alleviated the pain to any significant degree. The expert acknowledged that an exercise program and other treatment could make life a little bit more bearable but was not curative.
The Judge found that it was clear on the medical evidence, particularly the Defence expert’s evidence, that the Plaintiff probably suffered Lumbar Facet Joint Syndrome as a result of the first accident and that, as a 39 year old male who had suffered some degenerative disc disease to his cervical back area, he was susceptible to such an injury.
The Judge relied on the Defence expert’s opinion in concluding that the Plaintiff was unable to continue as a full time carpenter and that his pain was likely to be chronic.
Ensuring that you get the proper medical diagnosis and care is a priority at Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota. Contact us if you have been injured in an accident.