Canadian Underwriter

No, you can’t ram a car in a fit of road rage and collect insurance for the damage

September 18, 2020   by David Gambrill

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A B.C. driver recently learned the hard way that you can’t ram your car into another car during a parking lot road rage incident and then make an insurance claim for the repair.

Majid Abood was waiting in his car in a restaurant parking lot in Surrey, B.C., on Nov. 20, 2019, while Redzep Nukovic was backing her car into a parking space. The two cars collided and Abood later made a claim to the Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) for $2,000 worth of damage to his car.

The drivers’ explanations to ICBC about who was responsible for the crash differed greatly.

Abood told ICBC and the B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal (CRT) that Nukovic was taking too long to park while talking on her cell phone. He says he honked his horn to let her know he was waiting. He claimed he rolled down his window and told Nukovic that it was not right to keep him waiting while talking on her cell phone. When Nukovic finished parking, Abood said, he drove past her car, but Nukovic suddenly drove forward out of her parking space and hit the right front bumper of his car.

Abood provided accident scene photos showing Nukovic’s car parked a foot or so forward from the back of the parking space. This proved that Nukovic must have driven forward out of the spot to hit his car, he told the insurer and the CRT.

However, Nukovic’s claim, corroborated by an off-duty police officer who witnessed the scene, told the story of a road rage incident, the CRT found. [Three Nukovics were listed in the decision, so the CRT decision refers to Redzep Nukovic by her first name.]

“On Nov. 21, 2019, Redzep reported the accident to ICBC by telephone. Redzep said Mr. Abood was honking his horn and flashing his lights as Redzep reversed into the parking stall. When Redzep finished parking, Mr. Abood pulled his vehicle up to hers while yelling and swearing, then “rammed” his car into Redzep’s car.”

As it turned out, an off-duty police officer witnessed the scene.

“On Dec. 25, 2019, Constable S. [whose last name does not appear in the court document] emailed ICBC a copy of his written police statement,” the CRT wrote in its decision. “Constable S. wrote that he was off-duty and in his forward-facing car in the parking lot when he saw Mr. Abood’s vehicle in the parking lot aisle. Constable S saw Mr. Abood honk his horn repeatedly, then roll down his window and start to yell and swear at Nukovic. Constable S. heard Redzep apologize to Mr. Abood as Mr. Abood continued to swear and honk his horn.

“Constable S. wrote that he heard Mr. Abood rev his engine and then suddenly lurch forward and hit Redzep’s vehicle. Constable S. got out of his car and intervened between the parties. He saw that Mr. Abood was quite agitated and upset.”

The court preferred the testimony of the off-duty cop, and approved ICBC’s counterclaim calling for Abood to pay the cost of the car repair. ICBC said Abood breached his insurance contract by intentionally colliding with Nukovic’s car and by willfully making a false statement about the accident.

Section 55(7.1) of the B.C. Insurance (Vehicle) Regulations says insured drivers breach their insurance contract if they intentionally commit an act of violence with a vehicle.

ICBC counterclaimed $1,298.04 from Abood to fix Nukovic’s car. The CRT cut that down to $791.74, finding that ICBC was not entitled to the $500 deductible for which Nukovic was responsible to pay.


Feature image courtesy of iStock/EzumeImages

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