Will the ICBC Cover Me If I Hit an Animal While Driving?

Hitting a large animal, such as a moose or deer, can cause serious injuries and significant damage to your vehicle. Since these wild creatures do not obey the rules of the road, many drivers assume ICBC will cover them. If you have comprehensive insurance, vehicle damage is covered, but if you were negligent, they might deny your claim. If the accident involves another vehicle, it is also possible that the case could go to trial.

Our personal injury law firm can protect your rights and assist you in dealing with the ICBC. We can also represent you should the case go to court.

Driver Negligence

Again, whether or not the ICBC will pay the claim depends on whether it determines you were negligent– and, therefore, responsible. For example, if a deer runs in front of a car from behind a tree, a driver has little time to react—and is likely, not negligent. However, there are cases in which the driver has been found negligent in crashes involving wild animals.

In the case of Knight vs. Knight, decided by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2014, the defendant, Richard Knight, was found at fault when he hit a moose on Highway 37. His wife, pregnant at the time, suffered a traumatic brain injury in the collision, and can no longer work. Her guardian sued Richard Knight on her behalf. It was determined that Knight was at fault because, according to an eyewitness, the moose was slowly crossing the highway.

Therefore, Knight had several seconds in which to take some form of “evasive action.” The area had numerous moose warning signs posted.  Accident reconstruction experts also testified at the trial.

In other cases, drivers were also found negligent for causing serious injuries after vehicle and animal collisions. For example, in a 2006 case, the driver was not liable for hitting a moose—but found at fault for not removing his vehicle from the road and putting on his warning lights. This resulted in a car pulling around his vehicle but hitting the animal– causing injuries to the car’s occupants.

Domestic Animals

Large domestic animals may cause similar injuries and vehicle damage when hit by a car. The difference here, of course, is that the horse, cow, or other animals should have an owner. In these incidents, the owner should prove liable if the animal was running loose and caused the accident.

Part 7 Benefits

In the majority of cases involving an accident between a vehicle and a wild animal, injury damages are limited to Part 7 benefits. Keep in mind that these benefits may not pay for all expenses if the driver or passengers sustain severe injuries.

Other Circumstances

Every motor vehicle accident is unique, and that is even truer when it involves hitting an animal. If you hit a deer or moose and the force of the impact causes your vehicle to collide with another, the person you hit may sue. If that happens, whether or not you are held liable– may depend on the speed at which you were travelling.

If you were obeying the speed limit, it is unlikely that you will prove at fault. However, if you were not—first, you are breaking the law, and second– it is arguable that if you were going slower, you would’ve had time to see the animal and stop in time.

Contact a Vancouver ICBC Lawyer

If you or a loved one hit an animal and are injured or experienced damage to your vehicle, contact our ICBC law firm. We will review your case and advise you of your options. For more than 60 years, our dedicated lawyers have helped clients receive the compensation they deserve, and our record speaks for itself.

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