A car accident involving wildlife or a domestic animal can be traumatic. A collision with a deer, cow, dog or any type of animal can cause property damage to your vehicle and result in you and your passengers suffering severe injuries.
Animals of any size can cause a car accident to occur. If a smaller animal, such as a squirrel, wanders onto the road, the driver may swerve into an oncoming lane or slam on the brakes to avoid hitting it. Even these protective actions could result in a major car accident and injury.
If you were injured in an animal crossing car accident, you may be unsure of how to recover compensation for your losses. A personal injury lawyer from Judd Shaw Injury Law would be glad to review your case and inform you of your options for compensation. Call us at 866-909-6894 to schedule a free case evaluation today.
Types of Animal Crossing Car Accidents
It is estimated that there are over 1.9 million animal insurance claims filed every year in the US. Drivers have a 1 in 57 chance of being involved in a collision with an animal.
An animal crossing car accident can involve a wild animal, livestock, or a domestic animal. The type of animal involved in the incident is important when determining liability.
Deer and other large wildlife
The majority of wildlife-related collisions involve deer. The risk of hitting a deer with your vehicle varies greatly depending on the season and the time of day. The most dangerous months for wildlife collisions are October, November, and December. Most wild animals, including deer, are more active in the evenings and early morning.
Deer, elk, raccoons, and other animals tend to travel in groups. If you see one animal, this is a sign to be alert and reduce your speed. There are likely more animals to follow.
A white-tailed deer can weigh up to 250 lbs. When your vehicle collides with an animal of this size, the impact can result in substantial property damage and severe injury to you and your passengers. This is especially true if the animal’s antlers or hooves crash through the windshield.
Squirrels, raccoons, and other smaller wildlife
Depending on where you live, there is any number of different smaller animals that may cross the road while you are driving, including:
A direct collision with one of these animals may result in only minimal property damage to your vehicle. However, when an animal suddenly appears on the road, you may swerve off the road or veer into oncoming traffic. The result may be a rollover, head-on collision, sideswipe, or another type of serious accident.
Cows and other livestock
A fully grown cow can weigh 1600 lbs or more, causing major damage if you hit one with your vehicle. Liability in accidents involving these types of animals will depend on if you hit the cow in an area where the livestock can legally roam free.
When involved in a collision with a cow or other type of livestock animal, you should try to find the owner of the animal and inform him or her of the accident. This may be challenging if you are in a rural area and there is no farm or house in sight. In this situation, you may want to contact law enforcement and ask for help in locating the animal’s owner.
Depending on the state you are in, there are laws preventing livestock animals from roaming freely. These regulations might involve:
- Having adequate fencing to contain the animals
- Performing routine maintenance to secure the fencing
- Ensuring that gates are always closed and secured
- Monitoring all livestock to verify it has not left designated roaming areas
If the cow’s owner has been negligent in keeping the livestock in a contained area, then the owner could be held liable for damages you sustained in the accident.
Dogs and other domestic animals
If you collide with a cat, dog, or other pet, it is important to identify and contact the owner of the animal. Domestic pets are viewed as personal property, and any harm done to the animal must be reported. Failure to do so could be considered a hit-and-run.
Most state laws require cats, dogs, and other pets to be restrained by their owners when not on their own private property. If the animal was roaming freely and caused a car accident, the pet’s owner could be held liable for any resulting damages.
In some situations, the driver could be found liable for harming the domestic animal. The driver may be required to pay vet fees, burial costs, the price of a new pet, and other damages.
Why Hire a Lawyer After an Animal Crossing Car Accident
After sustaining injuries in a motor vehicle collision caused by an animal crossing the street, you may be unsure of who is liable for damages. A personal injury attorney can handle all aspects of your car accident claim while you focus on your recovery.
If you hit a wild animal and suffered bodily injury and property damage, you may choose to file a claim with your auto insurance company. The types of damages and the amount covered will depend on your policy limits. A personal injury lawyer can read over the details of your policy and guide you through the compensation you qualify to receive.
An attorney can also review your case and determine whether a separate party has contributed to your animal-crossing car accident. For instance, if a poorly maintained road surface was a contributing factor in the collision, the government agency responsible for maintaining the road could be found liable.
If your collision was with an unleashed pet or roaming livestock, then the owner of the animal may be responsible for damages. You could recover damages through the owner’s rental insurance, homeowners insurance, or auto insurance policy. In addition, you may have a case to file a personal injury lawsuit against the animal’s owner.
Schedule a Free Case Evaluation With a Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Accidents involving animals crossing the street can be legally complex cases. It can be challenging to recover fair compensation for your injuries and property damage.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an animal crossing car accident, the legal team at Judd Shaw Injury Law is here to help. We can help you identify liability for your injuries and file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
Our law firm is committed to helping our clients recover the maximum compensation they are entitled to after an accident. We take all car accident cases on contingency, which means you don’t owe us anything unless your case is successful and you are awarded a settlement.
Our compassionate lawyers understand that any car accident, especially one that involves an animal, is difficult to deal with. But you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. Call us 24/7 at 1-866-909-6894 to start your free case review today.