Injured driver with lawsuit against ICBC who lives in Maple Ridge was granted his request that ICBC pay for up to $700 for overnight hotel stay, meals to attend early morning appointment in Vancouver with ICBC doctor

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ICBC has been ordered by the B.C. Supreme Court to pay up to $700 for a hotel, meals and mileage for a Maple Ridge man to attend two mandated medical examinations in Vancouver by doctors appointed by the insurance corporation.

David McEvoy, 63, who in a lawsuit said he suffered several injuries after being hit by a car on his bike in 2018 and has mobility impairment and neurological issues, asked for ICBC to pay for a hotel room and meals in addition to the mileage the insurer agreed to so that he could attend the two appointments, according to court documents for the case.

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The case is being litigated under the old court-based model that B.C. used before it switched to no-fault insurance in 2021.

McEvoy’s request was for $1,040 for two nights at a Vancouver hotel plus $120 in meals per diem for two days so he could attend a 10:30 a.m. appointment called an independent medical examination on May 2, and a second one with a rheumatologist the next day at 8:30 a.m., according to court filings.

Independent medical examinations are commonly ordered by ICBC in personal injury lawsuits, and the insurer uses the doctor’s legal-medical report to question a plaintiff during a pre-trial hearing and to make a possible settlement offer. If the case goes to trial, the doctor would likely be asked to testify on his report as a defence witness.

McEvoy was also asking for $58.92 in mileage to drive the 55 kms from his Maple Ridge home to central Vancouver, and $80 for two nights of parking for a total of $1,419.43, according to the documents.

His lawyer argued the money was necessary because for McEvoy, who doesn’t drive, to make it to an 8:30 a.m. appointment, he would have to leave his house no later than 6:40 a.m. for a commute of between one hour and one hour, 40 minutes. He said his client, who lives alone and has sleep issues, would have to wake an hour before to get ready and he worried about oversleeping and missing the appointment.

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But ICBC, in an application asking the court to compel McEvoy see the doctors, said paying “for the plaintiff’s stay at a hotel and meals are an unreasonable and unnecessary condition for the plaintiff’s attendance.”

ICBC said McEvoy had attended a hearing in January by staying with his son in Coquitlam the night before and having his son drive him. But court documents indicated his son wasn’t able to drive him for the doctors appointments.

ICBC also said McEvoy had attended many other appointments. But McEvoy’s lawyer told the court that he gets to other appointments independently if he schedules them later in the day, as his lawyer had requested in this case.

The neurologist had rescheduled his May 2 appointment to 3 p.m. from 10:30 a.m. to accommodate McEvoy, the documents said.

ICBC said it was seeking an order to have McEvoy pay the cancellation costs for the doctors’ appointments if he failed to attend. His lawyer said that if ICBC lawyers are seeking that order, “the defence should be required to pay the fees so he won’t miss” the appointments.

McEvoy’s lawyer cited a 2021 B.C. Supreme Court judgment, in which a similar payment was requested for the plaintiff, who lives in Maple Ridge and whose appointments were in downtown Vancouver. His lawyer requested money for a hotel “so that he does not face an extremely stressful morning drive to be there on time. … He would certainly be in a better position to give a proper attendance and proper focus if he is not already harried by an extremely difficult commute.”

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The judge in that case granted the unspecified compensation after the ICBC lawyer agreed to the request.

In McEvoy’s case, Associate Judge Kimberley Robertson noted the rules of the court said judges are to consider convenience to those seeing ICBC-appointed doctors, and granted McEvoy up to $400 for one night, as opposed to $500 for each of two nights in a hotel and $120 for meals and taxi fare (which is about $200 for a return trip from Maple Ridge to Vancouver).

“I do agree that the more costly hotel is not necessary,” Robertson said in her reasons.

The trial is scheduled for 16 days beginning Oct. 24.

ICBC didn’t return a request for comment on Monday.

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