Travel for the injured is rarely a fun experience. Airports, planes, taxi cabs, and trains are not geared towards disability.
So as I sit in the Vancouver airport waiting for my flight home, I think about my personal injury clients that I send to larger centres like Vancouver or Calgary so they can be examined by medical experts rarely available in the Okanagan.
Why do I put my clients through the trouble of flying to places like Vancouver or Calgary to visit experts?
If you are injured and you are not entirely at fault, you are likely entitled to compensation. Categories of potential compensation include: Pain and suffering, past wage loss/loss of opportunity, special damages (out of pocket expenses), future wage loss/loss of opportunity, loss of housekeeping capacity, and future cost of care.
Expert evidence can be used to support each aspect of your claim and is often needed to level the playing field with ICBC/other insurers. Medical experts will provide information such as your diagnosis, prognosis, functional abilities/work restrictions, and treatment recommendations.
Some of the more common experts my clients might see are: Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists (also called physiatrists), neurologists, neuropsychologists, rheumatologists, orthopaedic surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and vocational consultants.
The experts selected are based on the client’s medical history, family doctor recommendations and the type of injuries they appear to have sustained.
The unfortunate reality is that experts are expensive, and the wait time to see a specialist in the Okanagan is often long. It is not uncommon for an invoice from a medical expert to exceed $5,000.
Not surprisingly, ICBC will not typically offer up finances to help you hire an expert or private imaging (i.e. MRI, CT scan, x-ray) to support your injury claim. This is where legal counsel comes in. If the assessment is reasonable to do, the cost will ultimately be paid by the insurer at the end of your claim.
The bottom line is that paid experts have time to do a comprehensive assessment, and to delve into your issues in more detail. They are paid to look at the entire picture within their area of expertise. To the extent they see issues outside their expertise, they are paid to notice them and make recommendations for additional experts.
The hope is that every area of your life that has been affected is addressed, otherwise it is difficult to be fully compensated for your injuries.
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.