In the course of your recovery, your family doctor may want to send you to a specialist such as an orthopedic surgeon or physical and rehabilitation specialist. You should be cautious about who you see because often times, the specialists tend to be overly optimistic about your recovery by downplaying the extent of your injuries. It is their job to be positive. Also, they see you for a very short period of time and may not necessarily accurately record your history.
As a result, ICBC will often get a hold of the consultation report from the specialist through disclosure of clinical records. These consultation reports tend to provide ICBC and its defense counsel with a lot of ammunition against your claim.
For example, if you have a pre-accident back injury and it is not noted in the consultation report, the defense lawyer may turn around and suggest you were hiding that information from the specialists, even though the topic was never raised in the appointment.
Also, ICBC often tries to rely on the optimistic outlook of these specialists by sending notice to the Plaintiff’s lawyer that they intend to call the specialist as an expert at trial. ICBC will argue that the specialist is unbiased and so the optimistic opinion of the specialist should be accepted over the opinion of an expert retained by your lawyer.
Based on the foregoing, unless your family doctor insists that medically you need the specialist referral don’t push the point. It is better to rely on your family doctor for advice then a specialist that may see you for under an hour total. Leave it to your lawyer to retain the expert to advance your claim.
Overall, if your family doctor wants you to see a specialist and you have hired a lawyer, contact your lawyer and discuss the issue. If you do not have legal representation, this may be a good time to go for a free initial consultation with a lawyer to see if the specialist is a good choice for you.
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