A wild animal on the road can be a huge danger. Drivers don’t expect them to run across the road, they hit the breaks or swivel the wheel which could lead to a harsh collision with another vehicle, tree, or another object.
Hitting the animal is a huge danger as well; the crash can cause huge damage to the vehicle and severely injure the driver and passengers. It’s not uncommon for accidents like these to end fatally.
So, when an accident like this happens, who carries responsibility? The answer isn’t simple; critters don’t always run across the road. If a driver who managed to avoid the creature hit another car, are they at fault?
If you were involved in such an accident, be sure to seek legal assistance from an Indiana auto accident lawyer.
Accidents Involving Wild Animals or Domestic Animals
Accidents caused by animals aren’t easy; it should be determined whether the animal was wild or domestic. Domestic animals can cause accidents, and if that’s the case, the responsibility will be sought in the animal’s owner. The owner is expected to keep their animals under control and off the roadway. The accident can happen because of cats, dogs, cows, horses.
However, when the accident occurred because of a wild animal such as deer, fox, wolf, then there’s no negligent animal owner. The entire responsibility for the crash will fall on the driver.
What Happens If You Hit a Wild Animal
Hitting the animal might be the least severe outcome in such an accident. If you managed not to hit another vehicle, or crash your car and injure yourself, then you can consider that you were lucky.
In such a case your insurers will cover the vehicle damages and injury costs.
What Happens When a Wild Animal Causes an Accident
In case the driver swerves trying to avoid the wild animal and hits another vehicle, or ends up in a one-vehicle crash, the driver will be responsible for the outcome.
No matter how careful you are and even if the animal has surprised you as it happens in most cases, you will be at fault and liable for the costs.
Although it’s a bad thing to run over an animal, the law considers it
unreasonable to put the lives of other human beings at risk when you try to miss the animal.
And while this may be the first instinct of the driver, to avoid the obstacle, the law has decided that you as a driver have the chance to avoid the crash by simply hitting the animal.
This is a matter of split second, but the law is clear – human lives over animal lives.
What to Do After You Hit a Wild Animal
When sitting behind the wheel, you are exposed to the potential danger of car accidents. And while none of us thinks it could happen to them, when an accident happens, and it was caused by a wild animal, there are several things you can do.
Before any accident happens, it’s important to have suitable car insurance that will cover crashes caused by wild animals. This is important if the area where you live and drive is known for (wild) animals crossing the road.
After the accident, stop and pull the car to the side of the road. Exit carefully and check the damage (in case you haven’t crashed your car with another car). Also, it’s important to find the animal. Although it’s not the smartest move to approach wild animals, get closer and see if that is truly a wild animal. In many cases, it could be a domestic one.
If the animal has tags on it, it likely has an owner. If there’s any info on the tag, write it down or take a photo. Take a photo of your damaged vehicle and injuries (if any).
If another vehicle was involved in the accident, the procedure is standard as in an accident. Check if everyone is all right, call the police and the medics.
In any case, hiring a car accident attorney is a smart idea. If the animal belonged to someone, your attorney will advise you to file a compensation claim against the owner for being negligent and not keeping the animal off the road.
If you’re looking for car accident attorney’s help our team at Rowe and Hamilton is here to help you. Schedule your first free consultation today.