An Abbotsford driver has lost his bid for compensation for a crash involving three cows on Downes Road.
Jan Gerrit Wiebe was seeking damages after he struck the cattle driving his 2001 Toyota Corolla on Downes Road at 9 p.m. on April 15, 2011.
The cattle, owned by rancher Paul Schmidt, had wandered onto the road after a fallen tree branch damaged a barbwire fence and allowed their escape.
Although the cows weren't hurt in the crash, the Corolla did not escape injury.
One of the animals slid across the hood of Wiebe's car and smashed the windshield.
Contact with the other cows on both sides of the vehicle caused the front quarter panels to buckle and forced the driver's side mirror into the driver's window, causing it to break.
It cost Wiebe $4,125 to tow and repair his car.
Wiebe argued that the crash was unavoidable along the dark, rainy road and was Schmidt's fault because he failed to keep his cattle properly penned.
Schmidt asserted he wasn't liable under the Livestock Act that exempts owners if they take reasonable care to ensure their animals can't escape.
The rancher argued he and his sons walk the fence regularly, and he couldn't have predicted the branch would fall and damage the barbwire.
He also suggested Wiebe was driving too fast for the road
conditions arguing "unlike deer or other wildlife, cattle do not dart out suddenly into traffic. They are slow moving animals and so the claimant struck an almost stationary object."
Although Abbotsford provincial court judge Kenneth Skilnick found both witnesses credible, he dismissed the evidence they had gleaned from the Internet saying neither party had the "expertise" to testify on the subjects they'd researched.
"I have no reason to find that either of them intentionally gave false evidence," wrote Skilnick in his Feb. 6 decision.
The judge did not fault Wiebe for the cow crash, noting police did not charge him and there was no evidence he was speeding the night of the accident.
However, Skilnick also said Schmidt couldn't have predicted his animals would escape and was indeed protected under the Livestock Act.
"In the final analysis, neither party are at fault for the claimant's damages," said Skilnick, who dismissed Wiebe's claim.
"In my view, this is an unfortunate situation which occurred without either party being at fault and therefore it would be unfair to penalize either party with costs."