Going on a vacation after a car accident injury can change the direction of any ICBC injury claim. Whether it is for Spring break, pre-planned vacation or other time off work, here are three important tips to for travelling ICBC injury claimants:
Discuss Travel Plans with your Doctor
Tell your family doctor and therapists about travel plans before you leave. If the recommendation from the family doctor is to not attend, the trip or vacation should be cancelled. The costs of the cancellation and the opportunity cost can be claimed in your personal injury case.
If your trip is not discussed with any healthcare providers before your departure this may later present a roadblock in your case.
If you have a personal injury lawyer tell your lawyer about your plans and make sure you get specific legal advice well in advance of your departure.
Follow Treatment Recommendations while Away
It is preferable to get any treatment recommendations for your trip in writing from the doctor, therapist or both.
Medications can be easily carried but massage, physiotherapy, chiropractic and other forms of treatment will require that you attend a clinic in the foreign destination. Make sure these clinicians are licensed, which may require some research before you leave.
If you have attended any treatment while away, get a copy of their records. A cover page certifying that the records are complete will be important later potentially for court purposes.
Report Symptoms upon Return
Returning from March break, Christmas, Easter or other holiday or work break can be a defining moment in an ICBC personal injury case. Make sure your symptoms are properly reported to your doctor and therapist within the first week of your return. You will not only get better treatment, this will assist in the proper prosecution of your personal injury claim.
Many people on the outside of a personal injury claim have little understanding of how injuries effect everyday life, emotionally and physically. Therefore they may assume your abilities are much greater than actually they are simply if you travel.
You can avoid misunderstandings about your ability to perform sustained work or other activities by ensuring your treating doctors understand the demands of your work or employment. In a clinic with multiple doctors you may have to explain your work duties to several doctors, which will be in your best interest.
If you have hired a personal injury lawyer and have a legal advocate contact them upon your return. Your advocate will take steps specific to your case to help ensure the best evidence can be used to accurately reflect any ongoing losses.
Keep in mind that if you are an hourly employee and neither compensated for Christmas vacation or Spring Break, this time off may not be claimed as a loss of income in your ICBC claim, even if you are unable to work. Discuss this with a lawyer.
Here is an example of how one Supreme Court judge dealt with a claimants trips after a car accident injury:
It is true that [the claimant] accompanied her father on a trip to Europe in 2008, and has gone on several vacations with Mr. B. However, I do not consider those activities to be inconsistent with [the] claims of chronic pain or with the medical evidence. Suffering chronic pain does not rule out taking a vacation with a spouse, although it may well make the experience less enjoyable. It does not follow from the fact that an individual takes a vacation, that the individual cannot be suffering chronic pain.(Biefeld v. Neetz,2016 BCSC 689, para 148).