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 Glossary of Injuries, Common Medical Terms, Legal Terms

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Emotional Injuries

Some people suffer emotional effects from car accidents, including experiencing symptoms such as nightmares, anxiety, nervousness, fear of driving, fear of being a passenger, fear of motorized vehicles and/or depression. Prior emotional illness or depression can make people more vulnerable to this sort of injury and may influence the speed and likelihood of recovery.

It is important to inform your family physician of emotional difficulties early on and to follow any advice your doctor recommends, including counselling and/or prescribed medication. Terms typically associated with emotional injuries include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Examination for Discovery (Discovery)

Discovery is a pre-trial process where one party gains vital information held by the adverse party concerning a case by asking a limited number of questions for a limited time period. This “out of the courtroom process” takes place under oath in the presence of a court reporter, is produced in the form of a transcript and forms part of the litigation process. Sometimes an examination of the defendant is also arranged.

In a personal injury litigation case, the ICBC’s lawyer will arrange for discovery after all the relevant information has been gathered from your lawyer, including the facts, documents and other such things that are exclusively within your knowledge or possession and necessary to the ICBC’s defence.

Your lawyer will prepare you in advance for the examination for discovery and will remain present during the discovery to object to any inappropriate questions, requests for admissions, interrogatories and other requests. Typically, the questions asked at discovery include those concerning the nature and extent of your injuries, the treatment you undertook, who treated you, how the accident happened and your condition, etc.

Facial Injuries & Scarring

Facial injuries and scarring include scarring and disfigurement caused by burns, lacerations, broken bones, etc. that usually require the intervention of a plastic surgeon such as laser treatment and scar revision. General factors considered in determining the value of scars for damages include: age, permanency, gender, marital status, location of the scar and severity.


Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by chronic musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, concentration, memory and mood issues. Symptoms also may include tension headaches, dizziness, numbness and tingling, joint stiffness, bowel and bladder abnormalities, abdominal cramping, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety and depression. Not all people with fibromyalgia experience all associated symptoms.

Fibromyalgia is frequently associated with psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety and sleep-related disorders such as post traumatic stress disorder. Fibromyalgia is typically diagnosed by a rheumatologist who finds the presence of intense pain in at least 11 out of 18 soft tissue areas recognized as trigger points.

Fractures & Joint Injuries

Fractures and joint injuries refer primarily to broken bones or injuries where two bones meet anywhere in the body, including dislocations, torn ligaments, strains, sprains and so forth. Factures are either incomplete (cracked), complete (broken all the way through), simple (closed) or compound (open). Damaged ligaments and tendons are either stretched, torn or ruptured. These kinds of injuries may require assessment and treatment from an orthopedic specialist or physiotherapist.

Functional Capacity Assessments (also called Work Capacity Evaluations)

Functional capacity assessments are usually performed by an occupational therapist (an OT) with special training as a Certified Work Capacity Evaluator who conducts a series of tests to obtain objective information on whether you can perform a certain level of activity or work.

A functional capacity assessment might also be requested by ICBC to evaluate an injured person’s credibility. This is because part of the OT's protocol includes testing to see if you are giving maximum effort during testing and not exaggerating your problems. As such, it is critical not to exaggerate or mislead about your challenges because it could undermine the positive evidence that is collected.

The assessment is usually done at the OT’s office and sometimes in a workplace setting or in your home. The OT will put you through extensive testing involving varied, real life situations over the course of the day to simulate work and activities. The purpose is to provide a report about your physical functional limits and your capability to perform sedentary, light, medium or heavy work or activities.

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