The truth is in the details, and so is the devil.
Uncovering the truth of what happened at the scene of a car accident is one of the most important aspects of a motor vehicle accident claim. In order to win your case, we must convince a Judge and Jury that the defendant driver was at-fault for the accident. This involves advancing a detailed narrative of what happened on the date of loss that favours our client.
However, surprises arise throughout the course of litigation making what initially looked like a straight forward case of liability more difficult.
So, what all is involved in the investigation?
Obtaining evidence from the police is one of the first steps in investigating a motor vehicle accident.
After a motor vehicle accident, police are often the first responders on scene. They document evidence. They speak to witnesses. In some cases, they complete a full investigation and commission a report.
As part of our initial investigation, we work with the local police detachments to obtain the officer’s notes, statements from any witnesses, photographs, and accident reports.
In more serious accidents involving serious injuries or fatalities, the police will complete a technical traffic collision investigation (TTCI) report. These reports are highly detailed and provide specific data including position of the vehicles, speed, and any other factors that can be identified to explain how the collision occurred.
In some cases, one of the drivers will have been charged with a criminal offense. Although a criminal conviction is not determinative of liability in the civil context, it is persuasive. When a defendant is charged, we keep a close eye on the criminal proceedings and obtain transcripts and other documentation from the criminal matter.
In some cases, plaintiff’s counsel is unable to obtain the police file while the criminal matter is ongoing, however the court provides a remedy to obtain police information that is otherwise concealed. This is called a WAGG Motion and usually allows the plaintiff’s counsel to obtain all relevant evidence to support a client’s case.
About the Author
Casey Dorey is an associate lawyer at Bergeron Clifford LLP. He works primarily in Kingston but travels across Eastern Ontario.