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Can I Make a Claim if the Car Accident Was Caused by an Animal?

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If you hit an animal while driving, you can claim compensation for any damages you suffered. These damages include medical bills for severe injuries and vehicle repair expenses. 

If you have comprehensive coverage, you can pursue an insurance claim and get compensation from your insurance company. Otherwise, you can file a personal injury claim against the negligent pet owner if you don’t have comprehensive insurance. 

If you are unsure about your options, Uptown Injury Law, PLLC car accident lawyers can provide you with a FREE, no-obligation consultation. Feel free to reach out online or call 917-540-8728

What to Do If You Hit an Animal With Your Car? 

If you ever hit an animal while driving in New York, follow these steps to ensure everyone’s safety and protect your legal rights.

  1. Firstly, pull over to a safe location and turn on your hazard lights to alert others. Then, call 911. The police will arrive to help and investigate the scene. They make an accident report, which is helpful later if you need to pursue compensation. Remember, you must contact the police or locate the negligent owner if you injure a domestic animal.
  2. Be cautious if you decide to check on the animal’s condition. If injured but still alive, it may retaliate if you get too close. Your safety always comes first.
  3. Get medical treatment right away if you or someone else is injured. Your medical records will be essential if you consider filing a personal injury claim. Thus, prompt treatment is vital to protect your legal rights to recover financial compensation.
  4. Lastly, report the accident to the New York Department of Motor Vehicles within ten days if you or others are injured or the property damage is over $1,000. Otherwise, there is a risk of suspension of your driver’s license.

Are You At-fault in a Car Accident Involving an Animal?

You can be at fault when you hit an animal while driving. That’s why you should maintain a safe following distance to avoid hitting animals that suddenly appear on the road. If you are driving recklessly by speeding or breaking traffic laws, and your negligence leads to an animal accident, it is classified as an at-fault accident.

Who Is at Fault for Livestock Accidents?

Determining fault in a livestock accident can be a complicated process. The livestock owner is generally responsible for ensuring that their animals are properly contained and not roaming freely. If a cow, horse, or other large animal wanders onto the road and causes an accident, the animal owner may be held liable for any damages and injuries.

However, there are some situations where the fault may not be clear-cut. For example, if you speed or fail to pay attention and hit a cow on the road, you may bear partial or complete responsibility for the accident. 

Similarly, if a fence is broken and allows animals to escape, the property owner may share some of the responsibility for any accidents.

Therefore, the question of who is at fault in a livestock accident will depend on the specific circumstances of the incident. In some cases, both parties may share some responsibility for what happened. Regardless, it is essential for drivers to always be aware and take extra caution when driving in areas where livestock may be present.

Will My Car Insurance Company Cover Accident With an Animal?

Your insurance company will cover a car accident with an animal, depending on your insurance policy. However, you must confirm insurance coverage limits to stay safe. If you have a comprehensive insurance policy, it will cover animal collisions, whereas basic collision insurance may only cover accidents with other vehicles.

For personal injury cases, the no-fault auto insurance laws are applicable in some states like New York. That’s why drivers turn to their insurance policies to cover medical bills after a crash. However, there are circumstances where you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the party at fault.

For instance, if you hit a farm animal because the owner didn’t fence properly, you can make a personal injury claim for severe injuries. Similarly, you can sue the owner if you hit a domestic animal roaming freely.

However, if you hit a wild animal like a deer, there’s no one to sue. In such a case, your compensation would come from your own insurance company.

How Do You File A Car Insurance Claim For Animal Accidents?

If you were in a car accident caused by an animal, you can take some essential steps to file a car insurance claim. First, contact your insurance agent and provide them with all the details about the accident, including the time, location, and any injuries sustained. Next, check your insurance coverage to see what it includes, such as vehicle repairs and any related medical bills you may have paid. 

If required by your coverage, pay the deductible before your insurance begins. Your insurance provider will then determine who is at fault for the accident and work with the at-fault party’s insurance provider to resolve any disputes. 

To ensure a smooth claims process, provide your insurance provider with as much information as possible, including pictures of the vehicle’s damage, contact information from witnesses, and a police report, if available. Remember to be proactive and responsive throughout the claims process to get timely compensation.

Which Animal Collision Damages Are Covered by Insurance?

Comprehensive coverage protects you against various types of damages caused by animal collisions. It typically includes the following:

  • Vehicle Repairs: If your car sustains damages due to an animal collision, such as dented panels, broken headlights, or damaged fenders, your comprehensive coverage will generally pay for the repairs.
  • Windshield Damage: Animal collisions often result in cracked or shattered windshields. Fortunately, comprehensive coverage typically covers windshield repairs or replacements caused by such incidents.
  • Other Vehicle Damage: Depending on the circumstances of the collision, there may be additional damages to your vehicle, such as damage to the undercarriage, suspension, or exhaust system. Comprehensive coverage may cover these repairs as well.

How Much Does Collision Coverage Recover in Animal Accidents?

In general, collision coverage covers damages to your vehicle if you hit an animal, such as a deer or a dog. The amount of coverage depends on the limits you have set for your collision insurance. Your insurance policy may have a maximum payout amount for animal accidents, or it may be unlimited.

However, collision coverage typically has a deductible of $250, $500, or $1000 and higher that you will need to pay. It’s important to review your policy and understand your coverage limits so you know what to expect in the event of an animal accident.

Should You File a Personal Injury Claim?

To decide whether to pursue a personal injury claim, you need to consider the circumstances of your injury. If a domestic pet caused your injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim against the owner. 

For instance, if the animal in question is a domestic animal, such as someone’s dog, you may be able to file a claim with the owner’s insurance company. The pet owner may be responsible for your injuries if they were negligent in controlling their pet or if the pet has a history of attacking people.

For example, in New York, a pet owner may also be responsible for a vehicle accident caused by their domestic animal if allowed to run free in areas other than the owner’s property, such as on a public road. You can claim the pet owner’s insurance policy. 

It’s also possible that another driver may be held responsible if they swerved to avoid an animal and hit your vehicle instead. 

On the other hand, if your accident involved a wild animal, no pet owner can be held responsible. In this case, you may need to explore alternative options for financial recovery, such as seeking compensation from the government. 

For example, the city or state government could be responsible for a road defect that led to your accident, such as a lack of proper street lighting. 

A personal injury attorney can determine and prove the liability for your accident. They can review your case and guide you about your legal options, so you receive maximum compensation.

Types of Compensation for Personal Injury Claims

If you have been in an accident involving an animal, you may be eligible for different types of compensation. These compensation types include:

  1. Medical Expenses: If you were injured in an animal-related accident, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses. This could include the cost of hospitalization, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, and other related expenses.
  2. Lost Earnings: If you’ve suffered injuries that have prevented you from working, you may be able to claim compensation for lost earnings. This could include wages lost during your recovery period, as well as any future lost earnings if your injuries have left you with a permanent disability.
  3. Vehicle Damage: If an animal-related accident has caused damage to your vehicle, you may be eligible for compensation to cover the repair cost or car replacement.
  4. Pain and Suffering: It is usually awarded to victims in addition to compensation for medical expenses and lost earnings. Pain and suffering damages act as compensation for the emotional and physical pain as a result of the crash.
  5. Lost Enjoyment of Life: If you’ve suffered a permanent disability or disfigurement due to an animal-related accident, you may be eligible for compensation for lost enjoyment of life. This type of compensation covers the loss of the ability to enjoy the life and activities you previously could.

Contact Uptown Injury Car Accident Lawyers Today!

At Uptown Injury Law, PLLC, we understand the pain and challenges you’re facing after a car accident. We’ve spent 15 years helping victims like you and secured over $100 million in compensation for our clients.

You don’t have to go through this alone. Our experienced lawyers are here to fight for your rights, serving clients in the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Westchester, and Long Island. No matter where you are – our office, your home, or the hospital – we’ll be there for you.

Contact us online or call us today at 917-540-8728 to schedule a FREE consultation.

FAQs

Can I File a Claim if a Dog’s Owner Caused the Car Accident?

Yes, you can pursue a claim if the dog owner acts negligently and causes a vehicle accident. The claims might include compensation for property damage or personal injury damages. It’s essential to gather evidence and consult an experienced attorney to understand your options and rights.

How Common Are Accidents Involving Hitting Animals on the Road?

Car accidents with animals are common in areas with wildlife or when you don’t properly restrain domestic animals. The frequency of such accidents can vary by region and road conditions. The American Automobile Association (AAA) states that animals are the fifth leading cause of increased crashes in New York. According to AAA reports, there were over 36,000 accidents involving animals last year.

What Should I Do if I Witness an Animal-Related Accident?

If you witness an animal accident, stay safe and contact the authorities to report the incident. The provided information about the accident and the involved parties can be valuable in determining liability and assisting accident victims.

Are You Responsible For Car Accidents Caused By Animals?

If you cause a car accident involving animals due to negligence, you will be held responsible for it. The negligence may include reckless or drunk driving. Therefore, maintaining a safe following distance and adhering to traffic laws to minimize the risk of such accidents is essential.

Who Are the Liable Parties in Car Accidents Involving Animal Collision?

In car accidents involving hitting an animal, liability can extend to various parties. The driver, the animal’s owner, or even the authority responsible for maintaining the road can be liable for the accident. To determine liability, gather evidence and consult a car accident lawyer.

What Should You Do if You Hit a Wild Animal?

Upon hitting a wild animal while driving, pull over to a safe location, turn on your emergency lights, and contact the authorities. Then, seek medical attention and contact your insurance company to report the accident. These steps will protect you and others and ensure proper documentation and coverage.

Who Covers Damages for Car Accidents Involving Wild Animals?

If you hit an animal while driving, your comprehensive insurance policy should cover the damages to your vehicle. However, if you hit someone else’s vehicle or property while avoiding the animal, your liability insurance policy may be applicable. Contact your insurance company to clarify the specifics of your policy.

Can You Sue Pet Owners For Causing Vehicle Accidents?

Yes, you can sue pet owners for causing vehicle accidents. If pet owners fail to secure their pets properly, they may be held liable for any resulting injury or harm to others. The damages in such cases can be significant.

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Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers
WRITTEN AND REVIEWED BY
Kyle Newman Founder and Senior Trial Lawyer at Uptown Injury Law New York's Best Personal Injury Medical Malpractice and Accident Law firm New York's Top Trial Lawyers

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