Following a motor vehicle accident, you want to seek medical attention immediately, whether that’s through your primary care physician or the nearest emergency room. However, when it comes to collecting compensation for your injuries through ICBC, you will be required to see a doctor of their choice. Defence Medical Examinations are warranted when you apply for no-fault benefits or sue for damages. If you have any questions about this process, it’s best to consult with a personal injury law firm that specializes in ICBC claims– to learn how to best advocate for your rights.
Why Do You Have to See ICBC-Appointed Doctors?
A good deal of money is on the line for ICBC. They could pay you up to $150,000 for medical and rehabilitation expenses, up to $300 a week for lost wages, and up to $145 a week in homemaker benefits for Part 7 Benefits, or even more in a lawsuit. British Columbia’s adversarial system requires this to prevent scam artists with sympathetic doctors to game the system.
Are ICBC Doctors Fair?
Medical doctors involved in ICBC cases must explicitly certify that it is their duty to assist the court, and not be an advocate for or against the parties involved. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of B.C. is the overseeing body of the ICBC medical examiners. It maintains that most of the 700+ physicians on the roster “approach the provision of expert opinions in a comprehensive and ethical manner.” However, there has been at least one known case of the ICBC dropping a doctor who judges described as “deliberately or grossly careless.”
What If You Fail To See ICBC’s Doctor?
The ICBC’s request is a mandate. You could become disentitled to accident benefits, even though a court may acknowledge your case is eligible for an award. There’s nothing worse than seeing thousands of potential dollars taken away due to your error.
What To Expect at a Defence Medical Exam
Before your independent medical exam, you should review your records from your doctor to be sure that it agrees with what the ICBC physician says. Most people make an appointment with their primary care physicians a week before their DMEs to ensure they fully understand their conditions.
The examination portion takes just a few minutes. You will spend the greatest amount of time providing a complete medical history and explanation of symptoms. Answer questions with honesty, depth, and cooperativeness. If the doctor asks you to do an activity that causes discomfort or pain, give it your best attempt. However, do stop and let the doctor know you cannot proceed further. Outright refusal to try could lead the doctor to write that you were uncooperative during the exam.
Proactively ask the doctor how you can get better quicker. You want to leave a good impression that speaks to your credibility.
Vancouver ICBC lawyers recommend taking notes during your exam to be sure the final report drawn from the meeting is accurate. Doctors’ reports can be notoriously riddled with errors or omissions. If you haven’t seen your physician yet, you can call upon your doctor as a witness.
What If You Need A Second Opinion?
As of November 9, 2018, the provincial government has allowed treating physicians to refer patients to Registered Care Advisors. They do this when they require a second opinion to inform their diagnosis or treatment plan. Common scenarios may include: the physician is unable to make a clear diagnosis; the patient is not recovering as predicted, or the emergence of additional factors complicating the recovery process.
This referral must take place within 90 days of the accident. RCAs must be in good standing with the College, fully registered, clinically current, registered in the network, and competent in musculoskeletal injuries, acute and chronic pain, or mental health issues. They must also declare their impartiality in the process and refrain from direct dealings with the ICBC.
How Can Preszler ICBC Lawyers Help?
As an ICBC law firm, we offer free consultations for auto accident victims who want to ensure fairness in this process. We will help you explore your full set of legal options. Our Vancouver ICBC lawyers can assist in looking up past cases concerning a particular physician to examine how judges regarded their opinions. If there is a history of problems with the doctor, we can advocate on your behalf that you see a different physician or a medical specialist. Contact us today– it could be the first step in rebuilding your life.