Court Finds ICBC Doctor’s Evidence Biased and Unreliable

Posted on by Mussio Goodman

In a personal injury case, the court requires medical evidence to determine the extent of a claimant’s injuries. To this end, it is common for both ICBC and the claimant to hire independent medical experts to assess the claimant’s injuries.

When considering the medical opinions of these experts, the court has a key requirement: objectivity. A medical expert needs to provide honest, unbiased opinions of the claimant’s injuries in order to be reliable.

This common-sense principle is also entrenched in law. The Rules of Court in British Columbia state that any doctor who provides a written, expert opinion to the court has a duty to assist the court impartially and not advocate for either party.

While the Court and most lawyers take these obligations seriously, this hasn’t always appeared to be the case with ICBC, as they often commission expert doctors who are known to provide biased reports.

The court recently criticized a psychiatrist, Dr. Solomons, for this exact reason. Speaking for the Court in her recent decision, Miller v. Resurreccion, Madame Justice Baker refused to accept Dr. Solomons’ evidence. She found that it was “completely at odds with the evidence at trial” and that his evidence was tailored to meet the position of ICBC.

This is unsurprising given that Dr. Solomons has been previously and repeatedly criticized for bias by our Court. It is also telling that, as noted by the Court, Dr. Solomons was paid over $1.25 million dollars by ICBC for medical assessments over the past 15 months. The decision states in part:

[52] Dr. Solomons, a psychiatrist, assessed Ms. Miller and provided an expert opinion. Dr. Solomons’ practice is generally limited to providing medico-legal reports, with 95% of his work under retainer for defendants. He agreed he received approximately $1,282,000 from ICBC for reports he generated in the previous 15 months. He currently has minimal MSP billings and has no hospital privileges.

[55] I cannot accept the opinion of Dr. Solomons. His assessment of Ms. Miller’s pain and the impact of her injuries on her work and social life are completely at odds with the evidence at trial. The evidence of Ms. Miller was credible, as was the evidence of her co-workers, supervisors, and friends. All of these witnesses described significant pain and impacts on her daily life. While she was upset as any person would be by the suicide of a friend, none of the witnesses described the suicide of Ms. Miller’s friend as having a significant or lasting psychological impact on Ms. Miller. In fact, Dr. Kjernisted, who was Ms. Miller’s treating psychiatrist from 2008 to 2018, testified that she did not mention her friend’s suicide to him. Overall, I find that Dr. Solomons was not an impartial or credible witness, and tailored his evidence to meet the position of his defendant client.

Indeed, this is not an isolated incident. ICBC has routinely hired biased doctors in the past, and will likely continue to do so in the future. At Mussio Goodman, we are always vigilant against biased experts and we ensure that our clients’ injuries are assessed in a fair, impartial manner.