A sudden impact with an animal is one of the most common causes of car accidents year after year. In 2017, collisions with wildlife were the most harmful factor in 62 percent of fatalities in animal-related accidents, while many more injuries were caused by nearly missing an animal and colliding with another object instead. In most cases, recovering compensation for these accidents will depend on the driver’s insurance coverage and the underlying reason for the crash.
Liability and Payment Options After an Animal-Related Crash
A high-impact or head-on collision with an animal can cause physical, financial, and emotional trauma that can take years to overcome. Although it is not possible to hold an animal responsible for the accident it has caused, drivers can hold the animal’s owner liable for the accident or seek payment for their losses through one or more insurance policies.
For example, the party responsible for your injury costs and vehicle damage depends on whether the accident involved:
- Deer. Deer collisions are a common danger on Illinois roads. The Illinois Department of Transportation (DOT) reported that over 15,000 vehicle accidents in 2012 involved deer, or about 6 percent of the total number of crashes statewide. In most cases, a driver’s car insurance will not pay for a collision with a deer unless the driver has purchased comprehensive vehicle insurance—which is an optional form of coverage that is not required under Illinois law.
- Wildlife. If you suffered an injury or damage to your vehicle due to a collision with a wild turkey, opossum, raccoon, or other wild animal, comprehensive insurance may be the only way to secure payment. However, if the local road authority did not post warning signs about the presence of wildlife or did not make sure the area was well-lit, you may be able to file a claim against the person or department in charge of highway safety.
- Domestic animals. Pets, farm animals, and livestock can all cause havoc if they are let loose onto a roadway. If the animal you struck had an owner, you should speak with an attorney about collecting compensation from the at-fault party’s homeowners insurance or commercial liability policy.
If you have suffered due to a car accident, our injury attorneys have offices in Illinois and Missouri to advise you on your next steps and legal rights. Contact the Tapella & Eberspacher Law Firm via our online contact form to schedule an appointment.