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$213,000 ICBC jury verdict for worsened headaches and use of SPECT scan evidence

In an ICBC case that came to trial in July, 2016 Lemer & Co. won a $213,000 jury verdict for worsening of the plaintiff’s pre-existing headaches. ICBC denied the defendants’ negligence caused the accident but ended up admitting liability late in the trial. The plaintiff had concussions before the motor vehicle accident, the last a workplace injury that kept him off work for vseveral months, with a graduated return to work scheduled just days after the MVA occurred. A new type of nuclear scan – a SPECT scan – was put in evidnce and showed pre-existing brain damage. This evidence formed the foundation for our argument that the pre-existing damage seen on the SPECT scan made the plaintiff vulnerable to having an exacerbation of his headaches from a relatively minor collision. However, physicians are divided on what SPECT scans actually show and whether SPECT scan findings are reliable. It remains to be seen whether SPECT evidence is admitted into evidence in future trials. Any such evidence  has to meet the test set our by the Supreme Court of Canada for acceptance by the medical profession. It is interesting to note, in light of the recent news reports about soaring ICBC legal expenses, that ICBC used several expert witneses (physicians) who were flown in from Ontario, which undoubtedly increased their costs significantly.

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