ICBC loses claim of privilege over surveillance.

On August 2, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court reversed a master’s order as “an error in law” and ordered ICBC to provide an investigative report and video to the plaintiff, Desiree Nadine Oates. In Oates v. Burton, 2016 BCSC 1428, Ms. Oates was injured in a motor vehicle accident and sued for damages. After retaining a lawyer she applied for disability benefits from ICBC, following which ICBC ordered surveillance. In the context of her injury lawsuit, Ms. Oates sought production of the surveillance and the investigator’s report but ICBC refused, arguing that the...

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A court won’t force a plaintiff to give “consent”.

On June 27, 2016, a master of the BC Supreme Court found that it is not appropriate for a Court to order a plaintiff to sign a consent form when attending a court ordered independent medical exam. In Gill v. Wal-Mart Canada Corporation, 2016 BCSC 1176, the plaintiff sued the defendant for personal injuries after a slip and fall incident.  In the course of the lawsuit the plaintiff agreed to be examined by a physician of the defendant’s choosing but refused to sign a consent form the physician required.  The defendant asked the Court to order the plaintiff to sign the form; the application...

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Insurer may be a party to a tort claim.

On June 22, 2016, a judge of the BC Supreme Court held that a plaintiff’s insurer may be added as a party to a tort action where the tortfeasor’s insurance limits will likely be insufficient, and the plaintiff intends to seek compensation under its insurer’s “underinsured” liability coverage. The case, MacPherson v. White, 2016 BCSC 1151, arose out of a head-on collision between two motor vehicles; one driven by the plaintiff Joseph MacPherson, the other was driven by the defendant, Dallas White. The plaintiff suffered serious injuries in the accident, and the defendant’s...

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Will an insurer ignore a treating doctor’s opinion?

Many people, as well as their medical professionals, mistakenly believe that when they file a claim for short and/or long-term disability benefits, their disability insurance company has to accept the medical professional’s opinion that they are disabled.  Common sense suggests this is a reasonable assumption – but it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Why? Because many insurance companies simply do not want to pay people’s disability claims and, when armed with discretionary language in the policy, the insurance company has the final say as to who...

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Reducing work hours may imperil disability coverage.

Many people who are struggling to work due to an acute unexpected medical condition do not have the opportunity to prepare or plan for filing a short and or long term disability claim.  My experience is that most people who eventually file disability claims have chronic medical conditions which have been ongoing for months and even years. During this difficult period disabled people often find themselves engaged in an heroic effort to continue working.  People engage in this long battle for many reasons, one is often financial, and the other is simply their own credibility – they like...

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