18 May Psychological Problems Caused By the Accident and Independent Medical Exams

If you claim that the motor vehicle accident caused your psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety, ICBC may request that you be examined by their psychiatrist or psychologist.  In Garford v. Findlow, 2014 BCSC 2404, the Plaintiff was a 26 year old dental hygienist who was injured in two motor vehicle accidents.  In addition to soft tissue injuries, headaches and various other injuries, the Plaintiff claimed that the accidents caused her depression and anxiety.

The Plaintiff saw several doctors for her physical pain and some of their reports made reference to her psychological issues.  None of the doctors provided a medical opinion on her mental health, nor did any of them address the cause of the mental health complaints.

Although the Plaintiff received psychological counselling after the accidents, her lawyer did not order a psychiatric or psychological opinion.  ICBC sought an order that the Plaintiff attend at an independent medical examination (“IME”) with a psychiatrist of their choice.  Plaintiff’s counsel opposed the application.

The two main issues the Court had to decide were (1) Was the Plaintiff’s mental condition in issue in these actions, such that an examination by a psychiatrist might be ordered? and (2) If yes, should the Court exercise its discretion to order the examination?

The Court found that Plaintiff’s mental condition was in issue, based on both the pleadings and the medical evidence before the Court. In the pleadings, the Plaintiff claimed that the second accident led to depression and anxiety, and she admitted that that those conditions also emerged after the first accident.  She clearly blamed the accidents for her mental health condition and necessity for psychological counselling.

The Court exercised its discretion and an independent medical examination was ordered. The Court held that whether the accident caused the Plaintiff’s mental health complaints or whether the mental health issues were related to ongoing pain complaints could be explored at the IME.

At Acheson Sweeney Foley Sahota, we have the experience and resources necessary to ensure you receive the medical and psychological treatment you need.  And we will ensure that all medical and psychological reports needed to prove your case are done.

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