Quantum Before Liability?
Rule 12-5(67) allows the BC Supreme Court to order that one issue “be tried and determined before the others“.
In the personal injury context, where fault is contested, it is not unusual for a Court to agree to determine the issue of fault before valuing the case. The reason being that if a Defendant is found faultless splitting the issues can save both parties the substantial costs associated with proving the value of the claim.
Interestingly, reasons for judgement were released yesterday by the BC Supreme Court, Vancouver Registry, assessing the value of a claim before determining the issue of fault.
In yesterday’s case (Simmavong v. Haddock) the Plaintiff was involved in a 2007 head on collision. The Plaintiff suffered various injuries and the value of her claim was assessed at just over $332,000 in global damages. In what must be a very rare set of circumstances, the Court did so prior to the issue of fault being addressed. The parties apparently consented to this turn of events and unfortunately the judgement does not provide any discussion addressing when such an approach is warranted but does provide the following introductory comments:
 This trial concerns the plaintiff’s claim for damages arising from a motor vehicle accident, which occurred on June 24, 2007.
 Liability for the accident is denied as there is an action yet to be commenced relating to the plaintiff’s daughter. The parties have agreed to litigate the claim for the plaintiff’s damages only at this time.