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 Glossary of Injuries, Common Medical Terms, Legal Terms

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Minors – Personal Injury Claims (Infant Claims)

In British Columbia, minors are people under the age of 19. Minors have the same rights as anyone else to recover damages for their injuries, but they need to be assisted by an adult guardian (normally a parent) in legal matters – this person is referred to as a guardian ad litem and the process involves the Public Guardian and Trustee.

The limitation period (the time limit to file a lawsuit) may be longer for a minor but we recommend you retain a lawyer to obtain legal advice for the minor immediately. These cases are more procedurally complex because of the additional parties involved, the obligation to make additional submissions and the requirement to obtain court approval on settlements.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

An MRI is an injury diagnostic tool that uses an electromagnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within your body. Certain atoms are subjected to a radio frequency pulse, causing them to absorb and release energy, which is passed through a radio frequency receiver and transformed into an image. An MRI is valuable in providing soft-tissue images of the central nervous system and musculoskeletal systems and is useful in examining soft tissue, swelling and the pooling of blood or other fluids in the body.

Orthopedic Injuries

Orthopedic injures are injuries of the bones, joints and associated muscles. Orthopedic injuries are treated by emergency room doctors and orthopedic specialists.

Paraplegia & Quadriplegia

Paraplegia is paralysis or impairment of the motor or sensory function of your lower extremities resulting from a spinal cord injury to the thoracic, lumbar or sacral regions.

Quadriplegia is paralysis that results in the partial or total loss of all four limbs; both arms and lower extremities. Quadriplegia usually affects arm movement and some kind of finger dysfunction such that it is not uncommon to have fully functional arms with only the fingers not working.

Most spinal cord injuries result in the loss of sensation and function below the level of injury, including loss of controlled function of the bladder and bowel.

Both paraplegia and quadriplegia are serious, debilitating injuries that often require ongoing future medical care and treatment.

Part 7 Benefits (also called: Accident Benefits, No-Fault Benefits, or Recovery Benefits)

A party to a motor vehicle accident who is injured or killed, even if found at fault in causing the accident, may still be entitled to ICBC Accident Benefits or Part 7 Benefits (because they are described in Part 7 of the regulations to the Insurance (Motor Vehicle) Act) or “no-fault benefits." These benefits are intended to:

Strict time limits exist on the application process. Having a lawyer helps ensure you do not miss any critical deadlines and that your documentation is complete and properly filed with ICBC or your insurance company.

Accident benefits are separate from compensation for your injury that you may be entitled to claim from an “at-fault” driver, though compensation is reduced for the accident benefits received.

Pre-existing Injuries & Conditions

Pre-existing injuries and conditions are those you were coping with before your accident which may reduce compensation if it is proven that they were causing symptoms at the time of your accident. Sometimes you may not even be aware the injuries and conditions were pre-existing. However, courts generally accept the “Thin Skull Rule,” that the defendant in a personal injury claim must “take his victim as he finds him.” The “at-fault” driver is deemed responsible for the damage he or she causes even if the victim is more prone to harm or if the injuries ended up being more severe because of a pre-existing injury or condition.

There is a common perception that a prior injury or condition (like arthritis for example) will void entitlement to accident benefit compensation. However, this is not always the case and you should not assume that you cannot recover damages if that condition or injury is aggravated because of a motor vehicle accident, or when your recovery time is prolonged, or if the injury suffered in the accident was worse because of a pre-existing injury or condition.

Requests for Admissions

A request for admission is when a party asks the other side to admit a statement is true, in generally to allow the case to focus on issues in dispute. Reponses can be used at trial.

Requests for Production of Documents

A request for the production of documents may be made for a particular document or a class of documents likely to be relevant to your case.


A rheumatologist is a physician that specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases and can assess and document arthritic exacerbation.

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