The claimant was rear ended when stopped in traffic which caused her vehicle to strike the rear of another vehicle in front of her. This personal injury case settled on the Friday prior to the commencement of trial the following Monday. The settlement was for payment of $736,807.00 new money, plus assessable costs and disbursements for tort and ICBC part VII benefits . Today’s issue is the recovery of the costs of the treating neurosurgeon as a disbursement. (Gibson v. Mihalcheon,2018 BCSC 35)
According to the neurosurgeon’s report, she was a passenger in a car that was rear-ended when she was 18 years of age and saw a chiropractor for treatment of neck pain and headaches following that accident which gradually improved. She had a past medical history of seeing a psychiatrist before the accident for some depression symptoms.
The master found that the claimant needed her neurosurgeon, who provided an initial report and then a report for court, prepared documentation to be used in court. The opinion would also be needed for the ICBC claim for benefits. The neurosurgeon’s bill of $7,250.00 at a rate of $500 per hour was accepted as a reasonable.
The British Columbia Medical Association, BCMA , Fee Guideline A00071 is $352.00 for writing a “medico-legal letter”, which is defined as a “short factual written communication given to any lay person (e.g. lawyer, insurance representative) in relation to a patient for some purpose primarily unconnected with treatment.” The Master had this to say about the use the of the BCMA guidelines when assessing disbursements:
 As I set out above, the billing for the medical-legal opinion, in my experience, includes the review of records when done by general practitioners. Most specialists do not make reference to BCMA fee codes. They do set out the time they spend and their hourly rates. They need to carefully review relevant documentation. Competent cross-examination will expose factual errors.