Personal Injury Law: Westerhof a welcome decision that will reduce litigation costs

Posted March 30, 2015

While litigation experts hired by a party to a lawsuit must comply with the comprehensive expert report rules set out in Rule 53.03 of the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure, participant experts such as treating health practitioners and non-party experts such as those hired by a non-party insurer don’t need to comply with the rule in order to provide expert opinion evidence at trial, according to the Ontario Court of Appeal in its pragmatic and much-anticipated decision in Westerhof v. Gee.

In Westerhof, the Ontario Court of Appeal determined the expert report rules don’t apply to those involved for reasons unrelated to the litigation as they weren’t “engaged by or on behalf of a party.” As a result, plaintiff’s personal injury lawyers may now return to the customary, economical, and sensible practice of relying on expert opinions from treating health practitioners actively involved in the care and treatment of an accident victim without obligating the treatment provider to write a thorough Rule 53.03-compliant expert report.

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