What Factors into Liability for a Collision with Wildlife?

Posted on behalf of Pfeifer Morgan & Stesiak

on December 15, 2020

. Updated on June 23, 2023


liability for accident with a deerOctober through December is breeding season for deer, which means Indiana drivers are more likely to encounter them on the road.

Wildlife on the roadways may cause collisions that result in serious injuries or damage to property, which raises the question of liability.

While you cannot file a claim against a wild animal, there are legal options for getting compensated for your injuries and property damage. Call the car accident lawyers in South Bend at our firm to discuss what your options may be after a collision with a wild animal.

Steps to Take After a Crash with an Animal

If you are ever involved in an accident with wildlife, there are a few things you should do:

  • Call 9-1-1 to file a police report
  • Stop your vehicle and pull over onto the side of the road if possible
  • Do not approach the animal – injured wild animals may be dangerous and aggressive
  • Take photos of the accident scene and damage to your vehicle

Wildlife collisions may cause serious injuries, so if you are injured you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible. After that, you should contact an attorney who may be able to help you recover compensation for your injuries.

What Your Auto Insurance May Cover

As there is no at-fault driver to file a claim against, you may have questions about how to seek compensation. Damage to your vehicle may be covered by comprehensive coverage, which is an optional form of insurance, although many drivers have it. Even though you were involved in a crash with an animal, your collision coverage would not pay for the damages. Comprehensive coverage may also pay for things like floods, theft of your vehicle, or another type of natural disaster.

What About Medical Expenses?

If you purchased medical benefits coverage, it may provide compensation for your medical bills. This coverage applies no matter who was at fault for a collision. This coverage is optional.

Could You be Found at Fault for a Collision Involving an Animal?

The insurance company will review how the accident happened to determine fault. Generally, if an accident involves only one vehicle and a wild animal such as a deer, insurance companies do not assign fault to the driver. Instead, they consider this situation an unavoidable accident.

However, if you swerve to avoid an animal and end up hitting another vehicle, a tree, rock or the side of a mountain, an insurance company may try to pin liability on you.

Tips for Avoiding Collisions with Wildlife

Wildlife is present in many parts of the state, especially in the more rural areas, so avoiding an encounter entirely may be unlikely.

But there are ways you may be able to keep yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road safely if you do encounter wildlife:

  • Focus on the road and avoid distracted driving
  • Obey wildlife crossing guidelines where they are posted
  • Use your vehicle’s high beam headlights in rural areas where it may be too dark to see

Have Questions? Call Us Today

Sometimes wild animals may jump out into the middle of the road without warning. If you find yourself in that situation, you could be seriously hurt. Larger animals like bucks, moose, or bears could cause significant damage to your vehicle. With enough speed, antlers could even be lethal.

If you or a loved one were injured in a collision with wildlife in Indiana it is important to know your options. The attorneys at Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak are here to answer your questions about liability in a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.

We do not charge you anything upfront and only get paid if we recover compensation on your behalf.

Let us review your claim. Schedule your free consultation today. (574) 444-0741

Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak

Serious Attorneys for Serious Cases