Attending the Appointment with the ICBC Doctor

The assessment may have a significant impact on how ICBC deals with your case

ICBC has a right to have experts assess your injuries both under Part VII and in the injury/tort claim. If you decline to attend an ICBC assessment for Part VII purposes, ICBC can cut off Part VII benefits for non-compliance. However, chances are the ICBC appointed expert will provide an opinion that you do not need Part VII benefits and that you can return to work. Hence it is a catch 22 situation- damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

If you decline to attend an ICBC assessment for the injury/tort claim, ICBC will proceed to Court to force the assessment on the basis that they need to be put on “equal footing” to defend the claim. The Judges/Masters in British Columbia seem to side with ICBC in allowing assessments, even multiple ones by several experts.

When you must attend at the doctor’s office, on the request of ICBC, the assessment may have a significant impact on how ICBC deals with your case.  The last thing you want to do is give the doctor ammunition to suggest that you are somehow exaggerating your injury complaints, or you are not being truthful.

To start with, you can assume that this doctor will have clinical records of all your doctors/therapists covering the period both before and after your accident. Therefore, you should tell the doctor everything about your pre-accident health history or any intervening events since the accident.  Do not feel that you can avoid disclosure of these events/ injuries to the doctor because chances are, the ICBC doctor knows about them. If you do not disclose these events to the doctor, he/she will report to ICBC that you have not been particularly honest or forthcoming regarding your medical history.

ICBC doctors will emphasize the fact that you did not disclose certain information to them.  This means that you almost have an obligation to disclose information even if you are not asked to do so. As a result, the best approach is to provide full disclosure of all potentially important information so that the doctor cannot turn around and suggest you are hiding the information.

In terms of reporting your condition, there is really no sense in exaggerating your symptoms to try to emphasize your condition to this doctor in hopes of convincing him/her that you are significantly injured. ICBC chooses very “ICBC friendly” doctors to see ICBC claimants and chances are, regardless of your subjective complaints, you will not be able to convince him/her of the serious nature of the injuries unless you have clear objective signs of injury (i.e. broken bone, herniated disc, etc.…). Because of their defense slant, these doctors tend to focus on objective signs of injury only. They do not put much weight on the complaints that you report to them because they consider these complaints to be subjective in nature.  Therefore, do not bother trying to emphasize your injuries in hopes of convincing the ICBC doctor.  It is not going to work.

Once a defense doctor has asked you about history and your complaints, the doctor then does a physical assessment.  During the physical assessment, the doctor is testing you to see whether your complaints are in any way exaggerated. Remember, the doctor is the expert and will easily be able to figure out if you are not giving him/her an accurate assessment.

In summary, your priority and focus should be on providing full disclosure to the ICBC doctor. You should not embellish your complaints in the hopes of convincing the doctor of the serious nature of your injuries.  The reality of the situation is that there is not a lot you can do to convince the ICBC doctor to write a favorable report for you.  Further, you can expect that the ICBC appointed doctor is going to generally minimize any accident related injuries you have or else ICBC would not be using the doctor. The best ICBC defense report is the one where no exaggeration/ presentation problems exist because it is easy to cross-examine the ICBC doctor at trial that his/her opinion is based only on the lack of objective evidence and if you are believed, you have significant ongoing injuries.