The expansive and varied landscapes of the United States harbor a diverse array of wildlife, contributing to the nation’s rich biodiversity. However, this ecological richness occasionally comes with a price tag – the occurrence of road accidents involving animals.

The collision between vehicles and wildlife not only poses a considerable threat to human safety but also challenges ongoing efforts in wildlife conservation.

Understanding how your car insurance addresses incidents related to animal accidents is imperative. This comprehension is key to effectively navigating the aftermath of such encounters.

Risk of Animal-Vehicle Collisions

The United States, renowned for its wealth, boasts a diverse and thriving biodiversity, with numerous animals freely roaming its highways. While wildlife encounters are more common on remote roads and at night, collisions with animals can happen anywhere.

According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), approximately 1 in 20 reported vehicle accidents are attributed to animal-vehicle collisions (AVCs). With more drivers and increasing deer populations, the likelihood of encountering animals on the road has risen by nearly 50 percent.

This underscores the pressing need for heightened awareness and precautions to mitigate the risks associated with wildlife-vehicle interactions.

Areas Most at Risk

Bankrate underscores that animal-vehicle collisions (AVCs) aren’t confined to specific areas. A study from the Department of Transportation (DOT) reveals heightened risk in certain regions.

  • In Michigan, collisions between motor vehicles and deer occur approximately every eight minutes.
  • New York annually witnesses a staggering toll of over 75,000 deer fatalities resulting from vehicle collisions.
  • In Colorado, a quarter of AVCs involve wildlife, highlighting the challenges faced by drivers in the state.

In the United States, deer collisions notably increase during October, November, and December. In Illinois in 2021, out of 14,500 crashes involving deer, 42% occurred in these three months, with November registering the highest incidence.

This is because the breeding season during these months prompts deer to venture onto busy roads, contributing to the elevated collision risk.

In 2019, Illinois faced 16,213 deer-related crashes. Cook County, Chicago, led the state with 472 collisions, underscoring that deer-vehicle accidents can happen in both rural and urban areas.

Recognizing these trends is crucial. In light of these trends, the guidance of a car accident attorney is indispensable for individuals involved in deer-related car accidents.

Additionally, the heightened animal movement during peak seasons in Chicago also demands heightened vigilance for potential encounters with reckless drivers.

These individuals may struggle to control their vehicles when faced with unexpected deer crossings, potentially leading to collisions with other vehicles on the road. The intricate dynamics of such situations emphasize the crucial role of a personal injury lawyer in Chicago, IL.

TorHoerman Law notes that their guidance becomes essential in addressing legal intricacies, insurance claims, and potential liabilities associated with such unfortunate events.

Insurance Coverage for Animal-Related Damage

If you possess a comprehensive car insurance policy, it typically offers coverage for damage resulting from animal-related incidents, including collisions. Full coverage usually encompasses both comprehensive and collision coverage, in addition to the mandatory state-required insurance. Comprehensive coverage, in particular, safeguards against events beyond your control, such as collisions with animals.

Information from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm data reveals that U.S. drivers filed approximately 1.8 million animal collision insurance claims. This occurred during the period spanning from July 2022 to June 2023.

In case of such an incident, initiate the claims process, pay the deductible, and let your insurance provider handle the remaining costs. It is essential to distinguish between comprehensive and collision coverage, as the latter primarily addresses damage resulting from collisions with other vehicles or stationary objects.

Swerving to Avoid an Animal

Swerving to avoid an animal and subsequently colliding may result in your insurer deeming you at fault for the accident. Despite being a knee-jerk reaction that might seem appropriate at the moment, swerving poses risks to both the driver and others on the road.

Although collision coverage can assist in covering repair expenses, it’s crucial to consider the potential increase in insurance premiums resulting from an at-fault accident. Before deciding to file a claim, it’s essential to assess the repair costs against your deductible to avoid potential rises in insurance rates.

Collision with Your Pet or Someone Else’s Pet

From the perspective of insurance, it’s important to recognize that your beloved pet is considered personal property. Regrettably, standard property damage liability coverage applies to damage to someone else’s property and doesn’t extend to cover injuries to your cherished pet. This means that if, tragically, your pet is injured, you’ll bear the responsibility of covering veterinary bills.

If you accidentally harm someone else’s pet, there might be a ray of assistance. Property damage liability coverage could potentially step in to help, but this is contingent on the specific negligence laws in your state.

Handling Animals on the Road

When encountering animals on the road, maintaining composure and taking precautionary measures is paramount. Firstly, slowing down to allow for increased reaction time can be instrumental in avoiding collisions. Employing headlights and horns to alert animals helps mitigate potential risks.

It’s advised to refrain from swerving, as this action can elevate the likelihood of a collision. Additionally, adhering to posted signs indicating animal crossings enhances awareness and contributes to overall road safety.

Following these guidelines ensures a more controlled and secure response when faced with wildlife encounters on the road.

After a Collision with an Animal

In the unfortunate event of colliding with an animal, it’s crucial to follow a series of steps for a systematic response. Firstly, pull over safely and activate hazard lights to signal potential hazards to other drivers. Second, carefully check for damages to your vehicle and assess its safety. Next, promptly call the police to report the incident and seek assistance for injured animals.

Additionally, contact a wildlife resource for specialized help in dealing with injured animals. It’s essential to document the incident by taking photos for insurance purposes.

Lastly, contact your insurance provider to understand coverage details. Initiate the claims process, ensuring a comprehensive and organized approach to addressing the aftermath of the collision.

In conclusion, being informed about insurance coverage and practicing precautionary measures is crucial when dealing with animal-related car crashes. The diverse landscapes of the United States bring the potential for wildlife collisions on our roads, necessitating heightened awareness and adherence to safety guidelines.

Having a personal injury lawyer on standby can offer essential legal assistance. Moreover, comprehensive insurance coverage plays a vital role in mitigating the financial impact of such incidents.

Exercising caution and following recommended steps as responsible drivers in the unfortunate event of a collision with an animal ensures our safety. Additionally, it contributes to the well-being of the wildlife sharing our roads.