In this bus accident injury settlement, (Zhang v. Heikkila,2013 BCSC 2275) following the examinations for discovery and after three medical reports had been obtained the matter settled for $11,000.00 plus costs and disbursements. ICBC refused however to pay the cost of three medical legal reports but in this application was forced by the court to pay for the costs as part of the settlement. Notably, the ICBC adjuster had not requested these reports before settlement was concluded.
What does it mean when a personal injury case settles for an amount plus “costs and disbursements”? Well, costs are meant as a contribution toward the winning parties legal fees and disbursements are the case expenses. Sometimes cases settle for an amount plus “costs”. When this term is used alone without the term “disbursements” it usually means that it includes the disbursements.
In this case ICBC settled the case but submitted that three medical reports were obtained as a result of excessive zeal and that they should be disallowed. The court disagreed pointing out,
 In my view, in evaluating whether or not it was necessary or proper to incur these disbursements for the medical legal reports, one must consider more broadly what should be done in the preparation of the Plaintiff’s case.
 To be properly equipped to advise a client on the merits of settlement in circumstances such as existed in this case competent counsel not only has to investigate and assess the liability issue but also consider the likely range of damages. It would be expected that competent counsel would obtain medical opinions in a timely fashion and that is what occurred in this case.
 Fundamentally, I am keeping in mind that in a situation such as this, the assessing officer ought not to second guess competent counsel doing a competent job because other counsel might have handled the matter differently.
In addition to costs, claimants are also entitled to compensation for the expense of the actual treatment, even some private health costs. To learn more watch our short video about claiming private health care costs in a personal injury case.
Posted by Personal Injury Lawyer Mr. Renn A. Holness, B.A. LL.B.