Can I claim compensation if a kangaroo jumps in front of my car?
Published 08 Aug 2018
Author: Garbis Kolokossian
Animals cause more car accidents in the ACT than you might think. In 2015, 172 crashes involved a vehicle striking an animal, according to the latest territory government statistics.
New research from insurer AAMI shows almost one-in-ten car accidents in Canberra are animal-related collisions, making the city the country’s biggest hot spot for such incidents. Canberra has received this dubious honour for two consecutive years.
Kangaroos are the most common creature that drivers encounter. More than four-fifths (81 per cent) of crashes involve roos, AAMI revealed. So what compensation is available to people who are injured when their vehicle hits a kangaroo?
Dry weather leads to kangaroo crisis
The issue of kangaroo-related motor accident compensation is particularly pertinent at the moment.
In July, ACT Parks and Conservation Director Daniel Iglesias told the Canberra Times that the territory is heading for a record year for car accidents caused by kangaroos. He said 2018’s cold and dry weather conditions are encouraging more animals to move out of the bush and into suburban areas.
“The way we’re tracking, it’s likely we’re going to have more than 4,000 kangaroo incidents by the time the year is done. They’re looking for food, which means they’re more mobile and it always ends up with more roadkill,” he explained.
Animal collisions are normally classified as ‘blameless’ accidents in the ACT. This means the driver isn’t at fault, but they are also unable to demonstrate another road user was responsible.
No compensation is provided for blameless accidents under the existing compulsory third-party (CTP) insurance scheme, with only a $5,000 early medical payment benefit available.
Will new CTP system change kangaroo compensation rules?
The rules surrounding CTP insurance are set to change following a citizens’ jury decision earlier this year. The participants chose a new insurance model designed to ensure everyone who is injured in a car accident will receive up to five years’ treatment, medical care and benefits, regardless of who was at fault. The ACT government is currently drafting legislation to enforce the new system, which is expected to commence in the second half of 2018.
Under both the current and new systems, motorists are free to pursue common law damages for injuries they sustain in car accidents. In cases where an individual’s injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence, they could receive a substantial payout for pain and suffering, as well as financial losses.
Blameless accidents involving a kangaroo may not qualify for common law damages, but you should still discuss the circumstances of a crash with an expert.