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McComb Witten Marcoux

Anatomy of a Liability Trial - Part 1

Robert Marcoux, B.A., LL.B.
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In order to recover any money from a car accident in BC, your have to prove that the other driver was at fault for the accident.  Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes it can be downright contentious.  Even with 8 eyewitnesses, figuring out what happened can be surprisingly elusive.
The devil, they say, is in the details.  When I first became involved in this particular case, I did a thorough review of the evidence.  There were 2-3 witness statements from 8 witnesses.  Not all of the witnesses said the same thing between statements and some gave very opposite evidence.
The police did, in my view, a poor job.  They took statements but failed to collect complete or even meaningful information at the scene.
Complicating matters, the private investigator we retained on this file was, in my view, incompetent.  He appeared to have had a story in his head of how this accident happened and his drawings did not match the words in the statements. He failed to obtain complete information.
I was brought into this case about 4 months before trial.
To unpack this tangled mess, I made an imaginary intersection on my wall at work and used post-it notes to represent cars.  I included key information on the post-it notes and kept reviewing the statements until I knew every version and inconsistency by heart.  The whole process resembled a scene from good legal drama on TV.
The reality of what happened was closer to a good legal drama than reality for a lawyer most days (which to be honest is really quite boring most of the time).  In a moment of staring at my post-it note intersection, I developed profound clarity of what happened and how we were going to win this case.  It hit me like a hammer.  I knew what I could prove.  I knew the gaps in my evidence that I needed to tie off.  I knew exactly the path forward and I knew how to get there.
Part 2 - learn more about the details of this case

Category: Car Accidents

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