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Surrey Personal Injury Lawyers

When you suffer an ICBC car accident injury you need top medical advice and the top Surrey personal injury lawyers at MacLean Personal Injury. Our Surrey personal injury lawyers are as compassionate towards your suffering as they are tough and savvy during negotiations with ICBC’s defence lawyers. Our Surrey ICBC personal injury lawyers will handle your file personally.
We will meet with you for as long as it takes to understand your injuries and the needs of you and your family. After that meeting a solid strategy will be provided by our top team of Surrey personal injury lawyers to you to move your case to the best possible outcome.

Don’t Be Tripped Up By Your Own Medical Records – Call us First

Getting medical help is important but what use can be made of consult reports contained in the records of your family practitioner? As you can read below it is important you hire a lawyer who knows the rules regarding expert reports. Mistakes in your Surrey Personal Injury Lawyers legal strategy can you cost thousands of dollars and lead to delays. Here an injured Plaintiff’s claim was compromised because consult reports in his own doctors file were improperly tendered against him to reduce the money he received for his injuries.

In the recent Court of Appeal decision of Healey vs. Chung, 2015 BCCA 38, Mr. Healey, who sustained injuries when struck in a cross walk by the respondent, Chung, appealed the trial judges receipt of consult reports contained in his family practitioners clinical records as expert opinion tendered by the respondent against him. At trial Mr. Justice Ball was asked to assess quantum for Mr. Healey’s injuries as liability was admitted by Mr. Chung, who stuck Mr. Healey in a cross walk while the green light was in his favour.

The medical evidence and evidence of Mr. Healey’s physical capacity consisted of expert reports from seven expert witnesses: Dr. Kuo, Mr. Healey’s family physician (three reports); Dr. Hershler, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (three reports); Dr. O’Shaughnessy, a psychiatrist; Dr. Schmidt, a clinical psychologist qualified in neuropsychology; Mr. Worthington-White, an occupational therapist (two reports); Ms. Landy, a registered nurse with expertise in rehabilitative nursing; and Dr. Powers, an expert in vocational rehabilitation.

Ms. Chung adduced one report from an independent medical examiner, Dr. Schweigel, an orthopaedic surgeon. In addition, Ms. Chung proffered as evidence the consulting reports of Dr. To and Dr. Truong, psychiatrists, reporting to Dr. Kuo following a referral of Mr. Healey. Mr. Healey says these two documents were wrongly admitted as expert reports. Dr. To’s consulting report is entitled “Mental Health Initial Assessment – Consult” and refers to a “psychiatric assessment”, but the doctor’s qualifications are not revealed in the report, nor is it signed. Dr. Truong’s consulting report is entitled “Psychiatric Assessment” and refers to the doctor as a psychiatrist, although it does not describe more fully the doctor’s qualifications. It is signed. The two contested documents were part of the clinical file of Dr. Kuo, and were properly disclosed to Ms. Chung. Prior to trial, counsel for Ms. Chung advised counsel for Mr. Healey that she intended to rely on these documents as expert reports. Counsel for Mr. Healey did not respond to the letter, being of the view that the documents were not expert reports within the meaning of R. 11-6 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules and that the law therefore did not require him to provide notice of his objection unless and until they were tendered at trial.

Rule 11-6 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules sets out the requirements for tendering an expert report:
(1)   An expert’s report that is to be tendered as evidence at the trial must be signed by the expert, must include the certification required under Rule 11-2 (2) and must set out the following:
(a) the expert’s name, address and area of expertise;
(b) the expert’s qualifications and employment and educational experience in his or her area of expertise;
(c) the instructions provided to the expert in relation to the proceeding;
(d) the nature of the opinion being sought and the issues in the proceeding to which the opinion relates;
(e) the expert’s opinion respecting those issues;
(f) the expert’s reasons for his or her opinion, including
(i)  a description of the factual assumptions on which the opinion is based,
(ii)  a description of any research conducted by the expert that led him or her to form the opinion, and
(iii)  a list of every document, if any, relied on by the expert in forming the opinion.

Rule 11-2 referred to in R. 11-6(1) provides:
(1)   In giving an opinion to the court, an expert appointed under this Part by one or more parties or by the court has a duty to assist the court and is not to be an advocate for any party.
(2)   If an expert is appointed under this Part by one or more parties or by the court, the expert must, in any report he or she prepares under this Part, certify that he or she
(a) is aware of the duty referred to in subrule (1),
(b) has made the report in conformity with that duty, and
(c) will, if called on to give oral or written testimony, give that testimony in conformity with that duty.

The Court of appeal reviewed the well established law on admissibility of expert opinion as outlined in Rule 11-2 and Rule 11-6 above and determined that the two consulting reports in issue which were material to the order appealed, did not satisfy the requirement for attestation of the reports by the experts required by R. 11-2, or contain the essential requirements required by R. 11-6. As such, they were not expert reports for the purposes of R. 11-6(10) and (11) and were improperly admitted as opinion evidence. The Court of Appeal ordered a new trial to ensure that the issues between the parties were adjudicated in accordance with the rules of court.

Surrey Personal Injury Lawyers – Call us

If you have a high stakes case and need our team of Surrey Personal Injury Lawyers on your side call our department today at 604 576 5400.

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