What is the legal test for requiring an independent medical examination?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Edgar v. Moore, 2005 BCSC 1877 (CanLII):

Stainer v. Plaza, along with many other cases, establishes the purpose of an independent medical examination is to put the parties on equal footing with respect to medical evidence. The requirement that a physician undertaking an independent medical examination prepare a report containing his opinion, and that the report be provided to the plaintiff, in light of the authorities, would be an infringement of the solicitor's brief and would tend to create an inequality between the parties.

The Court of Appeal in Stainer v. Plaza held that an order requiring the plaintiff to attend for the independent medical examination on a term that the defendant deliver to the plaintiff all documents generated by the examining physician where the third party did not request a report from the doctor was a condition too broadly expressed. Mr. Justice Finch stated at paragraph 13: It therefore appears to me to be within the proper exercise of the discretion afforded under Rule 30 to impose, as a condition of ordering an independent medical examination, delivery up to a plaintiff of the examining doctor's notes that record any history given to him by the plaintiff on the examination, and any notes that record the doctor's observations or findings on physical examination. It would not usually, however, be fair to go further, and to require the defendant or third party to disclose any documents prepared by the doctor which contain his confidential opinions or advice to the lawyer who requested the examination, whether for the purposes of trial preparation, cross-examination at trial, or otherwise.

Madam Justice Beames, in Inhoff v. Irwin (2005), 9 C.P.C. (6th) 357, 2005 BCSC 280, was dealing with a situation where the plaintiff had made full disclosure and agreed to submit to an independent medical examination in exchange only for a copy of the results of the examination in writing. She held that the order should be made unless there existed some exceptional circumstances which weighed against it. Madam Justice Beames was considering what did and did not fall within the phrase "the results of the examination" and at paragraph 37 stated: Clearly a report setting out the results of an examination must include the doctor's notes of the history taken from the plaintiff. It must also contain the doctor's observations and findings.

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