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Claim for yoga rejected

If I am injured, and I find yoga helpful for my symptoms, should ICBC have to pay for a lifetime membership?  What if my doctor cannot say that it is necessary to promote my health, and the court does not find me a credible witness?

In the 2015 decision of Bhandal v. Charlebois, 2015 BCSC 2315, Justice Warren of the BC Supreme Court considered a significant claim for future care expenses. Most expensive was a claim for the cost of a yoga membership to age 65 (the plaintiff’s future care claim was in the range of $50K). The court considered whether there was medical justification that the expense was reasonably necessary to promote his health.

In rejecting the claim for yoga, and limiting the future care compensation to $1,000.00 for future prescriptions, Justice Warren provided the following decision and overview of the relevant legal principles:

166      Mr. Bhandal is entitled to compensation for the cost of future care based on what is reasonably necessary to restore him to his pre-accident condition insofar as that is possible. The award is to be based on what is reasonably necessary on the medical evidence, to preserve and promote his mental and physical health: Gignac v. Rozylo, 2012 BCCA 351 (B.C. C.A.) at paras. 29-30.
167      The test for assessing an appropriate award for the cost of future care is an objective one based on the medical evidence. It is twofold: first, there must be a medical justification for the cost; and second, the claim must be reasonable: Tsalamandris v. MacDonald, 2012 BCCA 239 (B.C. C.A.) at paras. 62-63.

169      Dr. Nagle testified at trial that yoga was probably helpful; however, her testimony fell short of establishing that it was reasonably necessary to preserve or promote his health. Further, it was based on her understanding of Mr. Bhandal’s condition which depended upon his subjective reporting and which I have concluded was not credible. I am not satisfied that there is a medical justification for the ongoing cost of yoga.

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