A B.C. man whose quick reflexes to slam his brakes to the floor before hitting a large moose on a highway near Smithers was miraculously able to leave the scene alive, but it was the car repairs that proved to be much more chaotic.
Ronald Driedger hit the moose late in the evening on Aug. 3, 2018, according to documents released by B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal on Tuesday. The tribunal handles small claim disputes in the province.
The moose survived and ran off, Driedger told the tribunal, but the brakes on his 2008 Mazda 3 were wrecked
Two days after the crash, “he noticed his brakes were ‘soft.’ He had to pump the brakes repeatedly to fully stop,” the decision reads. “When the vehicle was stopped but in gear, the brakes cou;d not keep the car from creeping forward.”
Another two days later, Driedger called ICBC and placed a claim for the damage.
According to an estimator, the brake problem was likely caused by the master cylinder failing, making it unable to create enough pressure for the brake fluid to be pushed into the brake circuit.
But ICBC denied Driedger’s claim shortly after, and said he hadn’t proved the damage was caused by the collision and insinuated it was likely due to wear and tear.
The tribunal heard that an ICBC employee didn’t believe the estimator’s hypothesis, and concluded that “one simple panic stop should under no circumstances result in brake system damage.”
Driedger appealed ICBC’s decision to the incurance corporation’s Claims Coverage Committee. On April 16 of this year – roughly eight months after the crash – the committee also rejected the claim, and said it “found that this pre-existing defect would have eventually failed under hard braking, even though the applicant may not have known about it.”
That is when Driedger filed his claim with the Civil Rights Tribunal, which sided with the B.C. man.
In his decision, tribunal member Eric Regehr wrote that the brakes were damaged “very close in time to the collision” and that the sequence of events which led to the wrecked brakes added up.
“I find that whether there was a pre-existing issue with the brakes, as ICBC alleges, is not relevant,” he added.
ICBC was ordered to pay Driedger roughly $1,900 in compensation – including $1,700 for the brake repairs and $200 for tribunal fees and additional reimbursement.