ICBC’s “Inevitable Accident” Defense

In certain cases, ICBC will raise the defense of “inevitable accident” to try and deny an injury claim.  It is a difficult defense for ICBC to establish.  The defense comes up when the defendant driver says the accident happened even though he/she was driving with due care and so it could not reasonably have been avoided.  Typical examples of this defense are when a driver unexpectedly slips on black ice, or a driver suddenly loses consciousness because of a completely unanticipated medical condition.

The defendant has the onus of proving the inevitable accident defense.  An example of how it works is as follows: assume the defendant rear-ends the plaintiff’s vehicle in winter road conditions.  The plaintiff would say this is clear evidence that the defendant was driving in a negligent manner.  To rebut the inference of negligence, the defendant would argue that he was driving carefully but his vehicle slipped on black ice that was completely unexpected.  In other words, the accident was unavoidable.  This is a difficult defense to make out because the defendant would have to show not only that he slipped on black ice, but also that he was going slow enough for the prevailing road conditions, had good tires, had no reason whatsoever to expect black ice, and other vehicles also slipped in the same area.  In most cases, ICBC is unable to succeed with this defense, but when ICBC does succeed, the plaintiff’s claim will be dismissed (unless some other party, such as the road maintenance contractor, is found at fault).

If you have an injury claim and ICBC says the accident was unavoidable or inevitable, call us immediately.  We have successfully opposed this defense in numerous cases in the past.

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