One of the most terrifying accidents I was ever in occurred one night when a deer jumped out in front of my car at night on I-24 here in Tennessee. The damage the deer did to my vehicle was incredible. The kind Tennessee Highway Patrolman that helped me told me that Tennessee had more deer than people, so the odds are shockingly high that you too may hit a deer. Additionally, Tennessee and Georgia are rural states, so if it’s not a deer that steps out in front of your vehicle, it could easily be a cow or a horse.
Animals cause more than 260,000 car crashes a year and result in more than 150 fatalities.
Of course, you can usually avoid hitting animals by paying attention to your surroundings while driving, particularly in a rural area. Drive defensively. Stay cool if you can. And don’t swerve to avoid the animal unless you know you can do so safely.
WHEN YOU HIT AN ANIMAL, WHO IS AT FAULT?
Obviously, you can’t sue the animal that dashes out in front of you and causes you to wreck your car. However, if the owner of the animal negligently let the animal roam free and into the roadway, you do have a claim against the owner. So, if a cow or a horse wanders into the path of your vehicle and you hit it, tearing up your car and injuring you, you can sue the owner and his homeowner’s insurance. Unfortunately, wildlife such as deer, have no owners so there is no responsible party from whom you can collect.
WHAT IF YOU HIT A WILD ANIMAL?
If you have included “comprehensive coverage” in your insurance policy, your insurance will take care of the damage to your car. Since its not your fault, your insurance rates won’t go up. Unfortunately, in this situation, you will not be able to collect for pain and suffering if you suffer an injury from hitting a wild animal.
If you were in a Tennessee or Georgia car accident with an animal or just a regular person, call us at (423) 892-5533. We can help, even if you don’t hire us.