Collisions With Animals: Does My Insurance Cover It?
In 2018, Arizona saw more than 2,000 crashes caused by hitting an animal in the road, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. These crashes caused two fatalities and 249 injuries. There are all types of animals that can cause accidents: deer and other wildlife, but also dogs and farm animals that should be kept away from roads.
So, if you hit an animal, are you covered?
If you have comprehensive car insurance, the answer is most often yes – your insurance will cover the cost of the crash. However, if a dog darted into the road and caused an accident, it is possible that the owner of the dog is responsible for the crash. His insurance company, not yours, should cover the costs. Here’s why:
- Dogs running loose can be a sign of carelessness, and poor pet ownership.
- Some owners are warned more than once by law enforcement to keep their pets under control, and they choose to ignore this.
- An owner who doesn’t properly restrain a dog near a roadway can be held responsible if he didn’t take the correct preventative measures to keep his dog out of the road.
- Some dogs regularly chase cars and owners do little or nothing to stop this behavior.
The same is true for farm animals. If they are not properly fenced in and kept off the roads, the owner could be liable for the damages caused in a crash.
- Ranchers have a responsibility to repair damaged fencing and keep their animals on their property.
- Loose livestock should be rounded up and returned to a fenced area immediately to avoid causing crashes.
While ADOT doesn’t break down what type of animal caused these crashes, the report does show how many crashes happened in rural versus urban areas. In 2018, there were 309 collisions with animals in urban areas, leading to zero dead and 29 injured. Alternatively, there were 1,938 collisions with animals in rural areas, leading to two dead and 220 injured. The likely reasoning behind the increase in these types of crashes in rural areas is that there are more loose pets, farm animals, and wildlife on the road.
If you are the victim of a car crash involving an animal, especially a domesticated animal that should have been restrained, contact The Husband & Wife Law Team to see if you have a case. It’s possible the insurance company for the animal’s owner is responsible for your costs and could offer a settlement for your injuries.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer