Who can be liable for animal-related car accidents?

On Behalf of | Nov 22, 2023 | car accidents |

Drivers encounter numerous risky situations on the road, including animals suddenly dashing out of nowhere. Unfortunately, vehicles colliding with animals can be deadly.

Animal-related crash fatalities have seen a general upward trend for decades. By 2021, death rates declined and recorded 164 casualties.

With possibly catastrophic outcomes in question, establishing liability is crucial. Injured parties or surviving loved ones must determine who is responsible for covering the damage to prevent financial burdens.

Establishing liability after hitting an animal

Determining who is at fault after an animal is hit often depends on the California driver’s car insurance policy and the kind of animal involved.

  • Livestock: If cows, horses or goats got out of their supposedly fenced areas and crossed the roads, their owner may be responsible. Victims may prove that the owner was negligent for failing to maintain or guard the area.
  • Domestic: Leash laws vary across the state. But owners must generally keep their dogs strapped in public places. Injured car drivers may argue that owners with unleashed pets fail to protect humans and other animals, and must be accountable for car accidents.
  • Wildlife: Hitting a wild deer or coyote can leave victims too startled to know what to do. However, depending on the insurance policy they hold, they must know that additional comprehensive coverage can pay for damages to their car. Further, medical payments insurance can settle their medical expenses regardless of fault. Those who do not have any type of insurance may have to pay out-of-pocket.

After calling the authorities and emergency medical services, documenting the scene is a crucial step after an accident with an animal. Photos, videos or witness statements can validate a victim’s claim, revealing potentially liable parties.

Pursuing fair compensation after a roadkill

Animal deaths are heartbreaking for all parties. Between grieving pet parents and anxious livestock owners, seeking compensation can be more complex than it sounds. Thus, a legal advocate can help ease the worries and fears of victims by assisting them with fair recovery.