Be diligent to beat ICBC

Doctor Paul is back for more pointers on how to best recover from car-crash injuries.

Maximizing your recovery is not only best for your health, it’s critical for achieving justice in an ICBC claim.

You want to avoid ICBC having any opportunity to “blame the victim,” pointing their finger at you for not doing enough to try to get better.

Or slashing compensation for your ongoing symptoms on the basis of some miraculous cure “magic pill” they come up with late in the day, when there’s no longer time to test it out.

My first pointer was working closely with a doctor.

This might seem obvious. But many people self-direct their care, popping in to see a doctor only as needed to get referrals for ICBC funding. 

True, your physiotherapist, chiropractor or other hands-on caregiver is much more in tune to what’s going on with your body. 

But you need someone with a big picture outlook who can continually and critically evaluate your course of care, and who has all care weapons in their arsenal.

Your doctor will appreciate getting whatever information and feedback they can from you and your hands on caregivers so that they are best informed to direct your care.

My next pointer is to be very diligent about following through with whatever care recommendations you are given.

If referred to physiotherapy, for example, attend at whatever frequency your doctor or physiotherapist recommends.

Most physiotherapists will give you exercises to do between sessions. Get crystal clear instructions so you know exactly what is expected of you and follow them.

If prescribed a medication, take it.

What if the prescribed care, exercises or medication seem to make things worse or has side effects? 

Adverse effects might be a necessary evil. Your medical team needs to know about them, but if you are directed to follow through anyway, please do.

What if the care seems to be doing nothing to help you? Why follow through with something that’s not helping? 

Recovery can take time. Again, your medical team needs to know. Report the lack of improvement, which might or might not result in an adjustment of your course of care.

And please be careful to diligently follow any specific recommendations for care. 

A recent example of ICBC “blaming the victim” for failing to follow through diligently with care recommendations is Pasemko v. Kosolofski, 2020 BCSC 246 

The lawyer for ICBC had pitched that Ms. Pasemko should lose 30% of aspects of her claim because she failed to follow a medical specialist’s recommendation that she participate in a supervised exercise program. 

Ms. Pasemko thought she was doing enough. She was doing Pilates at home with guidance from friends and internet research. She also continued to do exercises that had previously been recommended by her physiotherapist. 

But the specialist had specifically recommended that the exercise program be supervised so that exercises would be individualized and Ms. Pasemko would have feedback about how to correctly perform them. 

The court agreed that Ms. Pasemko had failed to diligently follow through with the care recommendation and took away a portion of her compensation.

Fortunately, for Ms. Pasemko, the reduction was half of that pitched by ICBC’s lawyer, but she was still left uncompensated for over $30,000 of her losses.

Next week I will provide pointers about specific aspects of your recovery and care that I have learned must be addressed and pursued to maximize your outcome.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


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About the Author

Paul Hergott began practicing law in 1995, in a general litigation practice. Of the various areas of litigation, he became most drawn to, and passionate about, pursuing fair compensation for injured victims. This gradually became his exclusive area of practice.

In 2007, Paul opened Hergott Law, a boutique personal injury law firm in the Central Interior, serving personal injury clients from all over British Columbia. Paul’s practice is restricted to acting only for the injured victim, never for ICBC or for other insurance companies.

Paul became a weekly newspaper columnist in January of 2007, when his first column entitled “It’s not about screwing the Insurance Company” was published. 

Please feel free to email or call Paul (1.855.437.4688) with legal issues you might like him to write about in his column, or to offer your feedback about something he has written.

Email:   [email protected]
Firm website:  www.hlaw.ca
Achieving Justice Legal Blog:  http://www.hlaw.ca/category/all-columns/
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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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