Nixon Wenger Lawyers LLP

Trusted. Results.

James Cotter, Partner

PRACTICE EMPHASIS

James has been a trial lawyer for 25 years, originally in Vancouver and then for the past 20 years in the Okanagan.  He has a wide ranging practice including injury claims, health law, school law, insurance issues, administrative law, estate litigation and corporate and commercial disputes.  He regularly conducts trials in the B.C. Supreme Court, including jury trials, and has appeared in the B.C. Court of Appeal.  He is a member of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.; the Canadian Bar Association; and is the VP for the North Okanagan Cycling Society.   When not working, James is usually in the great outdoors following his passions of mountain biking, skiing, and other outdoor pursuits. 


"I take pride in representing my clients by continually striving to bring a significant benefit to them, not only in the final result, but in providing peace of mind during the litigation process. I am acutely aware that my job is to solve problems for my clients, often during very stressful times. I am humbled to take on such responsibility. I enjoy the competitive nature of litigation, and I believe that you cannot reach a fair resolution without being fully prepared for all potential outcomes. There are no short cuts to a great result. I can truly say, that my best days at work are when I’ve achieved a real benefit for my client "   
 

PRACTICE AREAS

Personal Injury
Wills & Estates Litigation
Administrative Law
Health Law
Civil Litigation
Municipal Law
Insurance Law

EDUCATION

LLB in 1994.
Called to the British Columbia Bar in 1995.
Bachelor of Commerce in 1994.

PRACTICE DESCRIPTION

Personal Injury LawJames has acted for clients who have sustained all matters of injury, including brain injuries and spinal cord injuries. James has obtained strong results for his clients through his use of effective advocacy and strong knowledge of the law.

Wills and Estate Litigation – James has acted for executors, named beneficiaries and claimants in all matters of estate litigation. James has made successful applications under the Wills Variation Act as well as protecting beneficiaries from unwarranted distribution of estate assets to third party claimants.

Civil Litigation – James has wide ranging experience in civil litigation of all kinds, including construction, land and business disputes.

Municipal Law – James has defended and brought claims against municipalities for injury victims, as well as dealing with zoning bylaws, approving officers, and conflict of interest claims.

Health Law – James defends Hospitals in regard to claims for medical malpractice, coroners inquests, and slip and falls. Often these are complex claims involving a wide range of issues. He also advises on administrative law issues relating to privacy, consent, and elder law.

School Law – James acts on behalf of School Districts defending them against claims arising from alleged negligence of teachers and staff.

Insurance Law – James acts for private insurers defending claims, and also for insureds seeking coverage under insurance policies.  He has brought claims against disability insurers and life and critical illness insurers.  He has also litigated fire losses where insurance coverage is in dispute.

RECENT TRIAL DECISIONS AND SETTLEMENTS OBTAINED FOR CLIENTS

ICBC Denied Liability for PTSD Client: James’ client was a professional who was involved in a head-on collision.  The physical injuries were not significant, however severe PTSD arose due to the sudden and life threatening nature of the collision.  This client found that he was unable to work as he had done prior to the accident, due to severe anxiety and a loss in ability to focus and be efficient.  This injury led to his retirement earlier than what he had planned.  ICBC denied fault for the accident even though it was apparent that the defendant was negligent.  ICBC eventually conceded liability after James completed a discovery of the defendant and obtained an engineering report which supported the common sense conclusion that it was the defendant’s fault.  Notably the black box data was in the possession of the insurer, but was not produced until very late in the litigation.  The matter resolved shortly before trial for an amount in excess of $600,000.00, which reflected a significant reduction in the client’s working life. 

Bar Failed to Protect Customer: In this case, James’ client was walking out of the women’s bathroom during a night at a pub and fell heavily onto her arm breaking it.  The operators of the establishment allowed for drinks to be spilled throughout their premises without any reasonable system to ensure that the floors were safe for its clientele to walk upon.  As James’ client stepped into a puddle of spilled drinks, she fell and sustained a fractured arm.  The pub’s insurer vigorously defended on the basis that James’ client was intoxicated.  It turned out not to be true, and in the end the pub settled the claim in excess of $25,000.00.  Without legal representation by James, this client would not have received anything.

Road Rage Confrontation Resulting in a Hit and Run: This client was a middle-aged man who was referred to James by a Supreme Court judge.  It was an interesting fact pattern.  James’ client and the defendant had pulled to the side of the road to have a heated exchange about each other’s driving.  James’ client was at the window of the defendant expressing his agitation concerning the erratic and dangerous driving of the defendant.  No physical altercation occurred, but as the client was walking away from the vehicle, the defendant drove his vehicle right at him causing him to leap out of the way and sustain injuries.  The defendant was never found and ICBC denied the claim on the basis that it either didn’t occur, or it was entirely James’ client’s fault.  Unfortunately this client started undergoing cancer treatment which was diagnosed shortly after this incident.  This cancer treatment complicated the claim and the assessment of damages.  Shortly before trial, ICBC agreed to a significant settlement of over 100,000.00, finally acknowledging that this client had a valid claim.  Without the help of legal representation, this client would not have received anything.

Van Sprang v. Tweed – Multiple Vehicle Accident Caused by 90 Year Old Driver: Mr. Van Sprang is a man in his 30’s with a young family and was a key person in his dad’s business which was a heating and cooling service company.  Mr. Van Sprang’s father had plans to hand over the business to his son when he reached his retirement age.  The work was physical and also required ingenuity and problem solving skills.  Mr. Van Sprang was the “muscle” of the company, doing the heavier tasks and the more physical tasks such as working within tight crawl spaces and attics.  Unfortunately, Mr. Van Sprang was involved in an accident whereby the defendant Mr. Tweed, failed to yield as he entered onto the Trans-Canada Highway at an intersection.  His actions forced a commercial truck driver to move over in his lane which in turn caused Mr. Van Sprang’s vehicle to spin out of control and end up on its roof at the shoulder of the road.  Mr. Van Sprang suffered soft tissue injuries which limited his ability to be as productive as he used to be, and also limited his ability to continue on in his role with the company.  ICBC denied liability for this accident, even though it seemed obvious that the actions of Mr. Tweed set in motion this serious accident.  This matter went to trial for eight days.  During that time ICBC strenuously argued that Mr. Van Sprang was at fault for the accident as he must have been driving too fast for the road conditions, and that it had nothing to do with the Defendant failing to yield.   

The trial judge rejected this theory, and instead found that Mr. Tweed was indeed at fault for the accident.  The trial judge awarded close to $270,000.00 to Mr. Van Sprang.  This award reasonably assessed his damages for pain and suffering and loss of earning capacity.  It also vastly exceeded any attempts by ICBC to resolve the matter.  The trial was conducted by James Cotter and Allyson Edwards.

PDF: Van_Sprang_v._Tweed_-_Reasons_for_Judgement.PDF

Bar Fight Results in Serious Leg Injury: James’ client was referred to him by a former client.  This middle-aged man was at a bar speaking with another patron regarding his conduct towards other women at the bar. During this conversation the patron suddenly attacked the client which resulted in an altercation that lasted an estimated 1 – 2 minutes.  During this time the client sustained an orthopedic injury to his leg which in turn resulted in a permanent disability.  James brought a claim against the patron and against the bar, as there did not appear to be any security personnel on hand to prevent such an occurrence, or at least to intervene in a timely way.  Businesses that serve alcohol are required to have a reasonable system in place to keep patrons reasonably safe.  James’ argument was that this unprovoked attack was of such a nature that it was prolonged and serious, and that had proper security been present, the attack would have been halted before serious injury was inflicted upon his client.  While initially the insurers for the bar dismissed this claim as having no merit, eventually it was settled for over $190,000.00.  This was a very difficult claim which required aggressive legal representation in order to succeed.

Motorcyclist Injured when Vehicle in Front Stopped Suddenly: In this case James’ client was referred to him by a former client.   He was not sure if he had a claim, as he was riding his motorcycle in heavy traffic when the truck in front of him stopped suddenly.  He had to lay his bike down to avoid a collision, but sustained serious a leg injury in the process.  He had been told that it was his fault, because the rear-ending vehicle was always at fault.  Through James’ representation, the insurer for the stopping vehicle went from completely denying this claim, to paying over $450,000.00.  This required the retention of an engineering expert, and skillful cross-examination at discovery.  James was very pleased to be able to bring such a life-changing benefit to a client who was unsure if he even had a claim.

Kalashnikoff v. Halat – Russian Immigrant Injured in Head on Collision: This was a claim that involved a man in his 60’s who spoke little English and had worked at manual jobs all his life.  Mr. Kalashnikoff was referred to James by his brother who was also a client.  Mr. Kalashnikoff was involved in a head-on collision with the defendant.  It appeared that the defendant had strayed across the yellow line and into Mr. Kalashnikoff’s lane of travel when the accident happened.  Unfortunately, ICBC denied liability even though the facts seemed to point clearly to the defendant being at fault.  Mr. Kalashnikoff was not able to express how this accident had really impacted his life due to his limited English.  James was able to bring out his story through his two adult daughters as to the change the accident had brought about in him, and how he was not the same man he used to be.  ICBC offered very little to try and resolve this matter as they did not view this claim to be significant at all.  James was able to bring this matter successfully to trial and obtain an award of $130,000.00.  This was far greater than what ICBC was prepared to settle the matter for.  This decision illustrated how our court system can be used to help accident victims who are immigrants and may feel that they do not understand our system of laws and even fully understand our language.  James was pleased to be able to help such a vulnerable person in our society. 

PDF: Kalashnikoff_v._Halat.pdf

Fair Ride Results in Injury: This client was a young woman in her 20’s.  She had gone to a large fair where there was a midway with the expected amusement rides.  She and her friend got on one particular ride where the operators (two men) were trying to impress them with the way they operated the ride.  They each tried to operate the ride in a way that would thrill them.  Unfortunately, one of the operators stopped the ride whereby the cage collided heavily to the ground.  Fortunately this entire ride was captured on video.  This client sustained soft tissue injuries in the collision.  The insurer for the midway denied the claim on the basis that the collision was not violent enough to cause injury, and questioning the truthfulness of the claim.  At the end of the day, James was able to obtain a settlement of more than $25,000.00, which is a result that would never have happened without good legal representation. 

Rear-End Collision Impacts Small Business Entrepreneur: This client, a middle-aged man, was referred to James by another client.  He was involved in a collision whereby his vehicle was hit from behind.  He sustained significant soft tissue injuries.  He was able to continue working at his day job after taking several months off work due to disability.  He had a small business which was a source of additional income for him as well as a source of interest, as it involved a passion of his.  Unfortunately he was not able to continue with his small business.  ICBC aggressively defended this claim.  James was able to obtain a settlement for this client for an amount in excess of $100,000.00 which took into account the loss of his small business.  One of the issues in this claim was that the client looked physically fit and well and so ICBC did not appreciate the fact that he continued to suffer limited function and pain arising from his soft tissue injuries.  James was able to overcome this issue through the use of collateral witnesses who were able to confirm his client’s dysfunction and level of pain.  This included going to his place of work and speaking with his co-workers and supervisors.

Truck Knocked off of Highway by Passing Vehicle on Snowy Road: In this case, James’ client knew him through mutual friends.  This middle-aged man was a manager in an oil and gas related company.  He had just obtained this position and was doing well at it.  During the Christmas break, he was returning to northern Alberta to resume his employment, when he was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident.  The accident occurred as he was traveling along a snowy highway and a vehicle attempted to pass him, losing control on the snowy surface, and clipping this client’s vehicle causing it to spin off the highway into a creek bed on its roof.  Initially this client did not think he was injured however it soon became apparent that he suffered from significant soft tissue injuries and a mild traumatic brain injury.  The defendant’s lawyer argued that there was no liability and she argued that James’ client did not have a career in front of him, as the employer was not happy with his performance.  They also questioned James’ client’s injuries.  At the end of the day, James was able to settle this matter on the basis that the accident was caused by the defendant, and that the accident had taken away his client’s opportunity to have a successful career with this company.  The claim settled for in excess of $800,000.00.  James was also able to obtain a settlement for this client with his disability insurer in excess of $200,000.00.  He was also able to maintain payments through another insurer for this client.  This life altering settlement was a far cry from the defendant’s initial position, namely that this client was not entitled to any damages.

Aarts-Chinyanta v. Binkey/Hayer/Stewart et al – Three Motor Vehicle Accidents Contribute to Chronic Pain: Susan A-C was referred to Nixon Wenger by a friend.  James represented her initially for an accident that occurred in 2012.  While representing her, Susan was unfortunately involved in two other accidents, none of which were her fault.  Susan suffered chronic soft tissue injuries which affected her ability to move and function without pain and to suffer from intense migraines.  ICBC defended the claim of Susan for all three accidents.  They defended a claim in part on the basis that Susan’s claim of pain, migraines and disability far exceeded the injuries she could have suffered in any of these accidents, as none of the accidents were of such a nature as to cause such injury.  In other words, ICBC was saying that the accidents were of such a minimal nature that no one could be so disabled from any of the accidents.  Susan was unable to return to her job as a Walmart employee.  She had difficulty maintaining her home as she did prior to the accidents, and had a difficult time cooking and looking after her children.  James Cotter and Ryan Irving took this matter to a two-week trial in October of 2019.  They retained the foremost chronic pain specialist in British Columbia to assess Susan and to provide expert opinion evidence.  In addition, an occupational therapist was retained, an economist, and a doctor of physical and medicine rehabilitation.  ICBC retained its own experts.  This was a hotly contested trial with many arguments relating to evidentiary issues and expert evidence issues.  However, at the end of the day the trial judge agreed with our position that the culmination of these accidents resulted in significant disability for Susan.  She was awarded over $700,000.00 in damages.  This was a far greater sum than ICBC had ever offered her in the seven years since her first accident in 2012.  Susan was very pleased with the outcome and felt that it justly reflected her loss.  

PDF: Aarts-Chinyanta_v._Binkley.pdf

Care Aide Suffers Chronic Pain: This client was unhappy with her lawyer and asked James to take over her file.  Her claim had been wallowing for four years without any real progress.  She did not understand what was happening with her claim, and her lawyer was suggesting a settlement, which she did not understand.  This client was a care aide.  She had an accident in which she suffered soft tissue injuries that resulted in chronic pain.  She also suffered other trauma since the accident which ICBC suggested was more the cause of her issues than the accident itself.  This client was anxious to bring this litigation to an end for several reasons, some of which related to her personal issues within her life.  Within six months James was able to obtain a settlement in excess of $140,000.00.  This client was happy with the quick result and the compassion with which she was dealt with.

Yukon Car Accident: This client was a man in his 20’s who was of First Nations heritage.  He lived in Fort St. John and was involved as a passenger in a three-car accident in the Yukon.  He suffered a fracture of his neck but remarkably had a very good recovery from this serious injury.  He was a very strong and athletic young man, and the insurer used this to try and diminish the value of his claim.  James was able to obtain a settlement of over $200,000.00 for this client which not only reflected the seriousness of the injury and his initial recovery period, but the chance of disability and arthritis in the future. 

Goldie v. McLean/Kehler et al – Welder Was a Victim of Two Accidents: Matt Goldie was referred to James by a former client.  Initially he was involved in a serious rear-end collision accident which caused him significant disability in his low back.  At the time of this first accident, Matt was working in construction and took almost two months off of work before returning to this heavy manual labour job.  Upon returning to work, he discovered that he had excruciating pain in his low back, which greatly affected his ability to continue with the construction work.  He managed to continue with his work but was limited in his physical abilities as he had to be very careful with his low back.  James represented Matt and had set the matter down for a trial when unfortunately Matthew was involved in a second accident, which this time was a head-on collision.  At this stage, Matthew was training as a welder, and this second accident severely set Matt back in terms of his ability to work and to continue with his training.  The cumulative effect of both accidents caused him to be less able to be productive and efficient as a welder.  While the accidents did not prevent him from working as a welder, they had the potential of limiting the length of his career and limiting the available employment opportunities that might have existed absent the accidents.  ICBC did not provide what James considered a reasonable offer and so this matter went to a two-week trial in March of 2019.  Ryan Irving (Partner) was co-counsel with James in conducting the trial.  ICBC took the position that Matthew’s low back pain was not connected to his first accident because there was a delay in his discovering his back pain after the first accident.  The trial judge found that this was in fact an injury caused by the first accident based in part by the expert testimony of a spine specialist retained by James who assessed Matt.  At the end of the day the judge awarded over $400,000.00 to Matt for his losses arising from these two accidents.

PDF: Goldie_v._McLean.pdf

Ski Hill Accident Combined with Car Crash: This client was a young professional who suffered an injury at a ski hill due to a malfunction of the chair lift.  It caused some orthopedic injury and soft tissue injury.  This client recovered fairly well from this accident however was involved in a rear-end collision which was not her fault.  The car collision aggravated her previous injuries.  The insurer for the car accident and the ski hill blamed each other for any continuation of injuries.  Fortunately the client was able to continue with her career although she continued to have rehabilitation to deal with minor pain complaints.  The claim settled in excess of $145,000.00. 

Malfunctioning T-Bar Injures Couple: In this case, a couple were on a T-bar at a ski resort when the line holding the T-bar snapped, sending the couple falling backwards.  The couple suffered injury including soft tissue injury and potential knee injury.  This couple hired a lawyer who eventually told them, after several years, that they did not have a claim.  He wanted them to pay for the expenses he incurred and to go away.  By the time James took on their claim, these clients’ injuries for the most part resolved.  They wondered if he could do anything for them.  Within a relatively short time, James was able to obtain a settlement for them.  The clients were happy to get something from this unfortunate incident, especially in light of their former lawyer telling them they did not have a claim.

Motorcycle Crash Caused by Left-Turn Vehicle: James took over the claim on behalf of a client who was riding a motorcycle when a vehicle turned left in front of him causing a significant crash.  This client sustained significant orthopedic injuries.  His former lawyer advised him that his claim likely would not be successful, as both the police report and the witnesses indicated that he was traveling at excessive speeds and that that was the cause of the accident.  Upon review of the file, James determined that the witness information did not in fact confirm this, and that the one witness who said this, did not observe the accident nor the speed of the client as he approached the intersection where the accident occurred.  After some contentious court applications, and a deposition of the left-turning driver, ICBC conceded that it was the left turning vehicle’s fault.  Shortly after this they paid a settlement in excess of $600,000.00 plus costs.  Up until James took over the file, ICBC had taken the position that they would pay nothing on this claim as it was entirely the motorcyclist’s fault.

Cyclist Injured by Road Rage Driver: In this claim, a middle-aged woman was riding her bicycle with her friend on a quiet road in the countryside.  There was very little traffic and the two cyclists were riding their bikes almost side by side.  The defendant, in a pick-up truck, traveled from behind them and blared his horn at them and yelled at them that they should be traveling in single file as well as other obscenities.  He then pulled his vehicle in front of them and stopped abruptly, causing them to collide with the back of his vehicle and sustain injury.   The police came and ticketed the driver and the cyclists.  James’ client was rightfully outraged that she would be ticketed for the dangerous conduct of the driver which was in essence an assault on her and her friend.  ICBC initially took the position that the accident was caused by the cyclists and that it would not pay anything to resolve the matter.  Through James’ work, ICBC changed its tune and paid out a settlement in excess of $50,000.00.

Drunk Driver Causes Severe Ankle Injury: This client was referred to James by a mutual friend.  She was a young woman traveling home after a day of work when a drunk driver suddenly turned left in front of her causing a significant car accident.  This young woman suffered orthopedic injuries to her ankle which resulted in a functional limitation and chronic pain.  This was especially troubling to her as it impeded her ability to care for and participate with her children.  She was able to continue to do her job but the things outside of employment were gravely affected.  ICBC eventually agreed to a settlement in excess of $600,000.00.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Complicates Claim for Chronic Pain: In this case, a middle-aged woman was involved in a motor vehicle accident which caused her chronic pain.  Upon medical investigation, it was determined that she also had an autoimmune disease similar to rheumatoid arthritis which was not symptomatic at the time of the accident. The insurer was using this as a means to reduce her claim down to a very small amount.  James found a rheumatologist who was able to properly diagnose this client and to provide opinion that while this disease was not caused by the accident, it was certainly aggravated and made symptomatic by the trauma of the accident.  The effect of the trauma on the underlying arthritic process caused it to be much more severe than what it might have been.  Eventually James was able to resolve this matter for his client in excess of $400,000.00.

Small Business Logger Injured in Accident: In this case, a middle-aged man was hit head on when an oncoming vehicle strayed across the centerline on a sharp curve on the highway.  This man was referred to James by a former client of his.  He had tried to deal with ICBC directly but found he was getting nowhere with them.  James brought a claim on this client’s behalf, and ICBC denied liability.  Fortunately, after depositions, James was able to establish that it was the defendant driver who strayed across the line causing the head on collision.  Further, even though his client was still able to work in the lumber industry, he was less efficient in doing so, and as a result less profitable.  He relied on his physical attributes in order to carry out the duties of his occupation, and because of the accident he found that he was limited in what he could do.  This required a complex analysis as to the historical earnings of this small business and what losses that business incurred due to his client’s reduced capacity.  The claim was settled for in excess of $245,000.00 in August 2019.

Underlying Seizure Disorder Aggravated by Motor Vehicle Accident: In this case, the client was referred to James by a former client.  She was a passenger in a rear-end motor vehicle collision.  She suffered from chronic pain, headaches, and an increase in her previously controlled tremor disorder.  She was a small businessperson whose business’s success depended on her ability to organize and supervise her staff.  Even though her business grew after the accident, careful examination of the business records showed that it was not as profitable even though at first blush it would appear that it grew in profitability.  Expert business evaluators were retained by James to help prove the claim. At the end of the day this claim was settled for more than $450,000.00.

Woman with Prosthetic Leg Slips on Ice: This woman was in her 50’s and was working as an employee at a store.  She had parked her vehicle in a communal parking lot on a winter’s morning and as she walked to her work, she slipped on ice and snow sustaining a hip injury.  She had a prosthetic leg at the time.  The insurer denied liability, but was unable to explain why the contractor hired to clear the parking area had not done so.  This client, who was already dealing with a disability, had to now recover from a serious injury.  Her claim settled in excess of $150,000.00.

Patient with Severe Mental Disability over Prescribed Medications: James was referred a client who suffered from severe mental disabilities.  He was incapable of acting on his own behalf and as such needed his brother to act as his litigation guardian.  This client was suffering from significant kidney damage due to the over prescription of a medication by his family doctor over a number of years.  The kidney damage resulted in a reduction in kidney function which was another disability superimposed upon an already disabled patient.  James advanced a claim that the doctor should have been closely monitoring this client’s bloodwork in order to determine whether kidney damage was occurring.  James retained an appropriate standard of care expert and was able to obtain a settlement in favor of this client in excess of $300,000.00.  

Man Impaled by Tree While Boating: This client had retained a lawyer six years earlier to bring a claim on his behalf which was a result of a bizarre boating accident.  He was a passenger on a riverboat, in which the driver was operating the boat in a reckless manner causing the boat to slide precariously close to shore.  Unfortunately the boat nearly hit a dead tree which was overhanging the foreshore, which then impaled the passenger.  The client was rushed to hospital and spent several weeks convalescing.  Lucky for the client he was able to recover and return to his occupation.  The injury initially required hundreds of stitches and an operation.  The client’s former lawyer was stonewalled by the lawyer representing the boat operator.  They took the position that there was no liability and that there was no insurance to pay for any judgment in any event.  The client wasn’t sure if his claim was even active, as he hadn’t heard from his original lawyer for years.  James took on the claim and found that the lawyer who this client had initially retained had essentially given up on the claim.  James revived the claim, amended it to accurately plead a legal claim, and eventually was able to obtain a settlement in excess of $70,000.00.  The client was extremely happy as he had given up all hope that he even had a claim.

Head on Collision on Wintery Highway: This client was involved in a head-on collision on a wintery highway.  He suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and significant soft tissue injuries to his back and neck.  He was close to retirement but he had a good trade’s job which he expected to continue on for another couple of years.  He was a very tough and stoic client and it was remarkable that he survived the crash let alone recovered so well.  Unfortunately continued to be plagued by pain and some memory loss.  His claim was settled for over a million dollars

Head on Collision on 4 Lane Highway Caused by Distracted Driver and Negligent Highway Design: This client was a woman in her 30’s traveling to work when a car in the opposing lane of traffic drifted over the dividing line, hitting James’ client head-on at highway speeds.  In an instant this client’s life was changed forever.  She sustained several orthopedic injuries and a severe brain injury.  Initially liability was denied by ICBC.  James brought a claim against the defendant driver and the province, for unsafe highway design.  This was a difficult claim, involving highway traffic engineers and accident reconstruction experts.  In the end, a settlement of several million dollars was achieved.    While this was a very sad case, the client at least did not have financial worries.

Failed Hip Implant: This client had a hip replacement surgery which by all accounts was successful.  A few months post-surgery, the implant failed, necessitating a second surgery, with a different implant.  The original implant was defective, and so James brought a claim on this client’s behalf for damages due to the failure of the implant and the second surgery.  This claim resolved with a settlement amount received by his client.  This was a difficult claim in that the manufacturer was a company based in Austria, and so it had to be served with notice of claim according to Austrian laws.

Bar Attack Causing Client to Lose Eye: This client was a patron in a bar.  He was attacked by another patron without any notice, for a perceived insult.  The attack was with a broken bottle, which resulted in the client losing his eye.  The Bar’s lawyer took the position that there was no claim, as the attack occurred quickly and there was no chance for bar security to step in.  The bar’s lawyer wanted James to agree to dismiss the case.  James was able to find evidence that the attacking patron was known to be a trouble maker and that there was a lead up to the attack which should have been noticeable to the bar security.  Further, if the bar security had been in place, the attack could have been stopped in time.  The bar settled for over $160,000.00.  This was a compromise settlement, as the risk of going to trial was significant to the client.  It was also a very good result, considering the Bar’s position that this was not a valid claim.

 

TESTIMONIALS

"The lawyers and staff at Nixon Wenger have gone above and beyond in taking care of my affairs.  They were always there when I needed them, and are very accommodating, making my life a lot easier.  Whether it be in personal injury (James Cotter), family law (Kylie Walman) or real estate (Elise Allan), I highly recommend Nixon Wenger LLP"
- Cameron Lee

"We met with James Cotter approx. 6 years ago for legal advice when we had nearly reached the end of our 2 years working with ICBC after a car accident.  James was very patient, calm and professional as he reviewed our information and let us know how processes worked and what our expectations could be.  He and his assistant Caitlin were always available for questions and even took calls from us on evenings and weekends.  The process was long and we finally reached an end result this year. James had prepared us with the idea that it might take longer, so the time frame was not outside of our expectations.  The end result was better than what we had thought and hoped for.  We will always appreciate the hard work, care and dedication that James, Ryan and Caitlin put toward making sure we were looked after"
- Dawn and Matt Goldie

"James worked on my personal injury claim, providing support through a long and difficult experience.  Great people at the firm, I really appreciate their council.  Would recommend to anyone"
- Devon Lencucha

"From the start I felt very confident and comfortable with my decision to retain the firm Nixon Wenger, in particular James Cotter, as my representative and legal counsel. Having sustained an injury in a motor vehicle accident, it was immediately apparent to me that without legal advice I would have a challenging and somewhat unknown road ahead.
Nixon Wenger is a highly regarded legal firm in our community and after meeting with James I was convinced that he had my best interests at heart and was going to use all his resources at hand to assist me. James was very personable, knowledgeable, confident and always available for my questions and concerns. I am very happy with the services that I received from James and his team. I feel that they went above and beyond and ultimately ensured a result that I was truly pleased with and certainly one that I could have not achieved without James and his team. I am very appreciative to James and his team and highly recommend their services.  Lastly, I consider them to be a true leader in their field"
- Marion

"I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to James Cotter. Right from my first meeting with you I felt comfortable . Through the process you always kept me informed and on tract with my responsibility to the claim.i very much appreciate your professional skills with Desjardins, something I did not expect . Thank you so much. Also, thank you to Christine and others in your firm who worked so hard on my claim. I'm very happy with the outcome and would highly recommend you and your firm to others"
- Pam

"The team at Nixon Wenger were remarkable at making me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable time"
- J. Roy

"My lawyer and the paralegal team (and all front end staff) were professional and reliable, but most importantly, down to earth. The service provided was individualized and I was not treated solely as a client, but a person. I contacted Nixon Wenger initially to seek help in navigating the difficult relationship with ICBC. Their service went far beyond this and until the end, they carried my stress for me"
- B. Cumming

"The service was great. The staff was friendly, caring, professional. James Cotter was all of this plus he knew what health care professionals to send me to. Without James Cotter I would never had received the settlement from ICBC that I did. Thank you James"
- E. Power

" I got injured and was not sure what to do. l talked to James and felt much better about it. Over the time it took to go to court, both James and Caitlin helped me through appointments and many other things. When it came to court, l was very nervous and scared, but James and his staff made me feel much better and l am very happy about the outcome. It was better than l ever dreamed of"
- L. Lafond

" Nixon Wenger has been easy to work with. Thru my personal injury claim, James Cotter and his associates always kept me well informed, and were much needed moral support on meany occasions. Making a difficult process much less painful. Nixion Wenger has great people and resources and would recommend their legal services to anyone that needs help"
- Devon Patrick L.

" Thank you so much to James Cotter and the staff at Nixon Wenger. In 2016 I went through one of the most difficult times in my life when I was hit by a drunk driving while coming home from work. One of my first calls was to Nixon Wenger. James made my husband and I feel confident that we could focus on my road to recovery while the details of my ICBC claim were professionally dealt with. I felt listened to and my questions were efficiently answered. I was kept up to date with where my claim was and with what to expect next. I feel like James and the staff were my biggest advocates. We were able to successfully settle with ICBC. I would highly recommend Nixon Wenger to anybody!"
- Kimberly R.

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Municipal Limitation Periods

PROFESSIONAL & CIVIC INTERESTS

Current Vice President of the North Okanagan Cycling Society
Past Director with the Vernon Art gallery and Vernon & District Performing Arts Theatre
Past member of the Interior Health Authority Research Ethics Board
Past part-time instructor for BCIT law-related courses
Retired representative for the Yale Country, North, with the B.C. branch of Canadian Bar Association
Member of the Canadian Bar Association
Active participant in the Access Pro Bono program
Member of the Trial Lawyers Association of B.C.
Past coach in youth soccer and basketball
Member of the Interior BC Association for Injured Motorcyclists

 

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