Hitting a deer or other animal with your car can cause serious injuries and damage to your vehicle. Depending on your auto insurance coverage, you may be able to file a damage claim with your car insurance company.
Below, the Knoxville car accident lawyers of Greg Coleman Law discuss insurance claims for car accidents involving wildlife. Request a free, no-obligation consultation today and learn what legal options may be available after this kind of accident.
Animal vs. Motor Vehicle Accidents in Tennessee
In 2016, Tennessee was ranked 26th nationally in car accidents involving deer, according to State Farm Insurance. From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, there were 31,408 accidents involving deer across the state – this was a 16 percent increase over the previous year, which had 27,039 accidents. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, accidents involving deer resulted in 330 known injuries in 2016.
Tennessee drivers are most likely to be involved in collisions with deer from October to January, during mating season. As deer travel to access mating grounds, they may cross highways and other roadways, increasing the likelihood of colliding with a vehicle.
Other wildlife that may cause an accident include:
- Domestic animals, including dogs or cats
- Escaped livestock
Even drivers who avoid an animal by making emergency maneuvers can lose control of their vehicle and veer off the road or swerve into opposing lanes of traffic. Drivers may hit a tree, crash into a ditch or be involved in a sideswipe or head-on collision with another vehicle.
Filing a Claim for Damages
While many standard auto insurance policies do not cover wildlife accidents, if you have comprehensive insurance coverage, you may be able to file a claim for damage caused by contact with an animal.
If you are involved in an accident with a wild animal that causes damage to your vehicle, it is also a good idea to contact police and file a report. This official record may provide helpful evidence for your personal injury claim.
In some areas, it may be the responsibility of a government entity to warn drivers about the potential for animals on the road. If there are no warning signs posted or there is inadequate lighting on the roadway, you may be able to file a claim against that government agency for damages.
If someone’s livestock gets loose and causes an accident after wandering onto the highway, the owner may be held liable. Depending on the circumstances, liable parties could include farmers, ranchers and even farmworkers who fail to maintain or repair animal enclosures.
Contact a Licensed Attorney After a Deer vs. Car Accident
If you were injured or your car was damaged in an automobile accident with a deer or other animal, our attorneys may be able to help. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your accident and injuries.
We charge no upfront fees and payment is only due if we are successful in recovering compensation on your behalf.