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Could cow claim be bull

12 Mar 2017

A man wants NZI to pay for his damaged car after he swerved to avoid hitting a cow in the road and ended up hitting another cow.

Angus Hamilton, an 18-year-old engineering apprentice from Tauranga, said his vehicle sustained NZ$14,000 in damage in the accident, rendering it useless. After he swerved to avoid the first cow, Mr. Hamilton and his car slid on loose gravel, went down a bank, through a fence and hit another cow standing in a paddock, according to a report in the New Zealand Herald.

Mr. Hamilton filed a claim with NZI, which insures the farmer who purportedly owns both cows. The driver said if the first cow had not been in the middle of the road, the accident would not have happened. NZI declined to compensate Mr. Hamilton, saying there were no witnesses or independent evidence to support his claim, according to the report.

Mr. Hamilton said not only were there witnesses, but he and the witnesses attended to the injured cow and helped round up additional livestock that had got loose.

“First they (NZI) said there was no cow, then they said I was going too fast, even though I was going 60 km in a 100 km area, then they said there was a cow but there was no proof it belonged to the farmer,” Mr. Hamilton told the New Zealand Herald. “If it’s not his, then whose is it? His is the only farm in that area.”

A spokesman for NZI told the Herald on Sunday the matter needed to be decided by the Disputes Tribunal.

"Having studied the evidence available to us we don't agree that our insured is liable.

"Without talking about specifics due to matters of privacy, there are a number of factors to consider including information reports of the incident, that have led to our view that liability does not exist."  NZI said the case should be decided by the Disputes Tribunal, which settles small claims up to $15,000.

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