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ICBC criticized for use of “hired guns” (January 22, 2002)

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- An investigation by the Vancouver Sun has revealed that the Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) has p...


VANCOUVER, B.C. — An investigation by the Vancouver Sun has revealed that the Insurance Corp. of B.C. (ICBC) has paid out more than $31 million to doctors since 1990 to avoid paying claims.

That news has prompted one lawyer to speak out against the use of “hired guns” while a judge has voiced concern the corporation’s so-called expert witnesses may lose their credibility.

In fact, it was revealed that of the 14 doctors who ICBC calls on for assistance, more than half of them made more money billing ICBC than they did seeing regular patients.

On orthopedic surgeon, in particular, was found to be seeking economic reward by representing ICBC in court and had his testimony dismissed by a Supreme Court judge.

Thomas Harding, a family and personal injury lawyer says ICBC clearly chooses the experts it wants based on partisanship and whether they will provide the desired opinions.

“Of course doctors are partisans,” Harding tells the Sun. “I would describe this as using hired guns. I call it ICBC’s stable of doctors.”

Meanwhile, ICBC spokesman, Hal Wake, insists, “We don’t do that. There is no point in introducing a witness whose viewpoints aren’t going to be accepted.”

One of ICBC’s old favorites, however, has said that after 20 years of being called upon by the Crown auto insurer, his referrals were dramatically dropped five years ago after he changed his opinion about issues surrounding soft tissue injuries.


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