The Top Ten Mistakes That Could Screw Up Your ICBC Claim, Mistake #6

By Paul Mitchell, Q.C.
Categories: Blog, Personal Injury

This series, by Pushor Mitchell personal injury lawyer Paul Mitchell Q.C,.will explain the Top Ten mistakes to avoid with your ICBC claim.
The articles will give tips on how to ensure you do not make serious mistakes that could be fatal to your claim.
For 10 issues of Legal Alert, Paul will focus on one mistake you should avoid, and what you should do instead to ensure your claim is not prejudiced.
This month, Mistake # 6   Not seeking medical attention early enough, or often enough

Mistake # 6   Not seeking medical attention early enough, or often enough
 
It is very important to see your doctor as soon as possible after the accident.
It is obviously important to get proper treatment. But there is also another reason you should see your doctor early. If you don’t, ICBC will hold it against you, and attempt to minimize the severity of your injuries.
Although you may want to be stoic and brave, and suffer in pain for several week to see if the pain subsides, this could hurt you in the long run, both medically, and financially.There are situations where your pain may be caused by a serious medical issue, requiring immediate treatment. If you delay seeing your doctor, thinking "It’s no big deal, I’ll get over it," you may not get the medical treatment you need when you need it. ICBC will also think your injuries were not that serious.
If you suffer in silence for a lengthy period of time, ICBC will use the argument.."you didn’t go see your doctor right away, so I guess you were not having significant symptoms, and were not in much pain at all after the accident". They may also use the argument " you did not go to the doctor for sometime after the accident, so there must have been another cause for your symptoms, other than the accident".
So go to your doctor as soon as possible after the accident. Make a list of all your symptoms before you go, and make sure they are all listed, no matter how minor they may appear.
Minor symptoms may get worse over time. ICBC often uses the argument along the lines of  "you did not complain of pain in your shoulder after the accident, only your neck, so the shoulder pain must not have been caused by the accident". ICBC usually take the position that unless you complained to the doctor about each area of pain immediately after the accident, your current pain many months after was likely not actually caused by the accident.
Make sure you also tell your doctor the non-physical symptoms you may be experiencing. This is very important in mild brain injury claims, or psychological claims. Things such as emotionability, anger, irritability, memory loss, lack of concentration, distractibility, motivation, fatigue, speech problems etc.
The doctor often focuses on your physical pain only, and may ask you questions only on these issues.. The non-physical, emotional, and cognitive issues may be very important in quantifying your claim in the future, and may have a considerable negative impact on your quality of life. Make sure your doctor knows all of these symptoms.If these symptoms are not in your doctors chat, ICBC will not take them seriously, even though they may be devastating to you.
Make sure write a list of all of your symptoms before you go . Be very exact, and include everything, and give your doctor a copy of the list. keep a copy for your records.. Many clients with brain injury claims see their doctor, and forget to tell them of all their non-physical symptoms, as they have memory issues, and may have poor awareness of all of their symptoms. In many cases such as this, it is often a good idea to have a spouse or family member attend with you when you first go to the doctor, to ensure all symptoms are accurately told to the doctor.
It is also important to make sure you go to your doctor in regular intervals. Do not have large "gaps" of time where you do not see your doctor.
These "gaps" of not attending your doctor are like giving ICBC a gift.
They are used by the defense to argue that you had completely or substantially recovered from your injuries in that time frame "or else you would have gone to see your doctor".
To ICBC, if a symptom is not in the doctors records, it simply does not exist.
ICBC is often very suspicious of claimants who bring up "new " symptoms six months after the accident, or of claimants who do not see their doctor for many months. Do not allow ICBC to create a cloud of suspicion around your claim, by failing to document your symptoms with your doctor.
Do not give ICBC any basis for suspicion.
Do not fail to tell your doctor all your symptoms.
Do not try and be overly stoic and brave, by toughing it out without seeing your doctor.
Make sure you see your doctor regularly, and keep them up to date with your symptoms.
 
Don’t make a mistake.

Make your case.

Paul Mitchell, Q.C. has extensive experience with brain injury, spinal injury, death claims, and other catastrophic injury claims, as well as medical negligence claims.
He acts for injured clients all over BC and Alberta, and will not act for ICBC or any other insurance company.
 
For more information on this article, or for a confidential discussion of your claim, contact Paul  Mitchell, Q.C. at 250-869-1115 (direct line), or at mitchell@pushormitchell.com