Carfra Lawton LLP | Victoria BC

Cost of Pain Clinic is a Mandatory Part 7 Benefit and Deductible from Future Care Award

In Park v. Targonski 2015 BCSC 1531 the plaintiff was awarded damages for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle collision, including for costs of future care. The defendant subsequently applied to reduce the award to reflect deductions for “no fault” benefits to which the plaintiff was or would be entitled to, including $8,500 for attendance at a pain clinic. There was some evidence that the plaintiff was disinclined to follow medical recommendations to attend the pain clinic program, and the court was satisfied that she was likely not to attend.

The plaintiff argued for a cautious approach to applying possible deductions, due to uncertainty over whether or not the benefit would in fact be paid in the future. The defendant relied on an affidavit from the handling ICBC adjuster stating that if the plaintiff attended at a pain clinic, then ICBC would pay for up to $8,500 in coverage. The court held that a pain clinic focused on “necessary physical therapy” is a mandatory “no fault” benefit which ICBC would pay; but even if the expense was more properly characterized as “discretionary,” the affidavit assurance by the ICBC handling adjuster was sufficient certainty that the benefit would be paid to the stated amount. The court deducted the amount awarded for the pain clinic program.

This decision highlights the importance of ensuring that Part 7 benefits are deducted from future care awards, in order to prevent double recovery.

Case law summary by: Fareeha Qaiser