Carmen had just moved to Vancouver to take a new job in the film industry and she knew nobody in the city except for her new co-workers. She was driving to work at 6:30 in the morning when she was in a car accident. At the time, traffic was very light and Carmen was going through an intersection on a green light when she hit hard on the driver’s side. A car had failed to stop at the red light to her left and Carmen was 100% certain of that.
Unfortunately the driver that hit her was a police officer driving a police cruiser and the accident scene was just a few blocks from the police station.
There was not a doubt in Carmen’s mind that she had had a green light and that the car that hit her had gone through on a red one travelling very fast. The accident was a shock to her because she never saw the police car coming until it hit her on the driver’s side and shattered her driver’s door window.
What happened next made it even worse. Within minutes there were 5 or 6 police cars at the scene and Carmen, who was injured, in pain and in shock was in the back seat of a police cruiser being told by the officers that she was the one that had driven through the red light. She felt that they were pressuring her to admit she was at fault. Nobody was asking her if she was hurt, if she needed medical care or calling for an ambulance. The made her repeat her story over and over and told her that the police officer was 100% sure that the accident was her fault.
Later, when she came home from the hospital, she called ICBC and they told her that the officer said that she went through a red light and that the accident was her fault. Carmen was very upset.
When she returned to work, Carmen told the other people in her office what had happened and asked them what to do. She had never had an accident before and had never dealt with ICBC. It turns out that Crystal, one of our former clients worked with Carmen sand Crystal told Carmen how we helped her when she was in an accident. Carmen called us and we became her lawyer. Carmen was so sure she was in the right and we could see that she needed help.
Things got better. In the months that followed, we proved that Carmen was right. We knocked on doors and we were lucky to find a perfect witness. Mark was the owner of a small business located where the accident happened. Every morning he arrived at work a little early and sat by the window with his coffee, writing in his journal. He had been sitting by the window that morning and had looked up when he saw the crash. When he looked up, he saw a police car in the intersection with another damaged car. The police car’s front bumper and bits of lights etc., were still in the air and moving around on the ground and right above was the red traffic light the police officer should have stopped at. Mark was sure of it and he was happy to give us a written statement about what he saw. Then we got the records from the City of Vancouver to show the timing of the traffic light sequence and we were able to prove that the light had been red for the police officer as he entered the intersection. There was a police investigation that got messy for the officer, but our focus was on Carmen’s claim. We had started a lawsuit and ICBC had to reverse their decision on who was at fault. Then we were able to settle Carmen’s claim with ICBC paying 100% of Carmen’s damages and she was very happy with the way it all worked out.