Collisions with Animals

Imagine driving at night and a deer jumps out of nowhere. The creature comes through the windshield and causes injury.

You are the passenger and say to the police or to an adjuster that there’s nothing the driver could have done – it’s no one’s fault. The adjuster at ICBC says you don’t have a claim. She sarcastically says,

“Who can you sue, the deer?”

You will be told if it’s one hundred percent the fault of the animal, you don’t have a claim. My suggestion is to consult with a lawyer experienced in ICBC cases before making any statements or claims to ICBC or any other party.

Numerous clients have described and told me they experienced the scenario set out above. Is it true that you don’t have a case? It may be but…

When I come across someone in this scenario, I want to know a lot more details. I want to know how the collision happened second by second. I want to know all the details leading up to the collision. Did the passenger see the animal sooner than the driver? Was the driver going too fast? Was the driver not paying attention?

What I am looking for is someone besides my client (usually the driver) who is even partially at fault. Was the driver blinded by an oncoming vehicle with high beams on? Even if a person is one percent at fault, this person is fully liable and ICBC or their insurance company has to pay out damages on their behalf.

Another concern is what statements have been made to ICBC. Very often, the injured passenger has given a statement where they say something to the effect that the driver was not at fault. Sometimes that’s said as the conduct was very minor or the injured party doesn’t want to say bad things about the driver and they don’t know this statement will be used to deny the claim.

If you’re the driver, chances are you don’t have a claim as it’s the fault of the deer and maybe yourself. A passenger may have a claim. This is a situation where you want to speak to a lawyer prior to giving a statement. If you have given a statement, the lawyer will need to see the exact wording prior to giving an opinion.

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