Car collisions with animals can be very devastating to all involved. Depending on the circumstances, this can mean a vehicle colliding with a 1,000 pound unmoving, unpredictable obstacle. There are many animals that may get in the way of a driver, such as a dog, turkey, deer, cat, moose, mountain lion, etc. It can be heartbreaking to think of the suffering of an animal, but as long as roads trespass through their territory, we can expect these collisions to occur.
The average deer weighs between 125 and 300 pounds and stands at over 4 feet. Deer are extremely common throughout rural and suburban areas throughout the United States, including California. Additionally, there are approximately 3800 elk in the state of California. These animals can weigh 500 pounds for females and over 700 pounds for males. Colliding with an animal of this size can do serious damage to your car and can even result in death for the driver or passengers. If you have been involved in a collision involving a large animal, contact accident lawyers in Sacramento immediately.
Young drivers 15 to 24 years of age are more likely to be involved in a collision with a large animal than any other group. Young drivers also are less likely to wear seat belts. This combination of statistics is quite alarming and may indicate a higher likelihood of fatalities in young drivers who don’t wear their seat belts and encounter a large animal on the road. While only 2% of collisions with deer result in human fatalities, serious injury may still occur. This is especially true if the driver or passengers are not wearing seat belts. Collisions involving deer and motorcycles, on the other hand, result in a human fatality 85% of the time.
No matter what animal a driver happens to encounter, there is likely to be some amount of property damage and medical costs.
Who will pay for these costs? If there is ownership of the animal in question, there may be a negotiation regarding fault and payment of damages. When a driver encounters a wild animal, the driver may be fronting the costs if they don’t have the right insurance. The legal nuances can get tricky. Make sure to contact accident lawyers in Sacramento regarding your case specifically.
Most people believe collision coverage would apply to an encounter with an animal, but this is not true. Collision coverage typically only covers collisions with other vehicles and does not offer coverage for a car accident involving an animal.
There is specific insurance a driver may request that could cover these costs. Comprehensive coverage, also called other-than-collision coverage, helps drivers pay for costs incurred when there is damage to their vehicle that occurs outside the scope of an accident with another vehicle.
Some damage comprehensive coverage covers include:
Individuals who own very expensive vehicles are often encouraged to buy this additional coverage, but it may be a good idea for certain other individuals to consider it. When a vehicle is an integral part of a person’s life, losing access to it may be wise to cover other possible damages. Also, if a driver lives in a location that is known to have a lot of natural disasters, crime, or wildlife, it may be wise to purchase comprehensive coverage.
When a driver has comprehensive coverage and collides with an animal, the insurance company pays for the repair costs after the deductible. This means that there will be a certain amount the driver must pay, but the insurance company will cover all excess costs. The average deductible in the United States is approximately $500.
Drivers with comprehensive insurance may file a claim without worrying about it affecting their rates. Claims covered by comprehensive coverage do not count against the driver in insurance rate calculations.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average cost of repairs from hitting a deer is $3,000. This cost skyrockets to $10,000 if an individual was injured in the crash. In the state of California, the annual cost of comprehensive and collision coverage is approximately $980. If a driver hits a deer in this time, that $980 could certainly be worth it. If you have been injured, you may be entitled to seek compensation through the help of accident lawyers.
Pet and livestock owners are required to keep their animals in a safe and enclosed area. It is likely that the pet or livestock owner will be considered liable for the costs of any injuries or property damages incurred. If the owner can not be located, the driver’s personal injury and comprehensive car insurance coverage should pay for the damage.
It’s important to seek legal advice of injury lawyers in order to understand your options and to receive guidance through a potentially confusing process.
There are many unpredictable variables on the road, including animals. The accident attorneys at The Weinberger Law Firm know exactly how an unpredictable and catastrophic car collision can be on your life. We have the experience and resources to fight for your rights in the court of law and seek maximum compensation you deserve for any injuries you suffered. Give us a call now for a free consultation.