No one wants to be in a car accident, especially a crash that involves an animal. Unfortunately, colliding with an animal is sometimes unavoidable. When driving in Utah, you might encounter deer, elk, or bears. These animals often run into the road at night, colliding with vehicles. If you or someone you know were in a car accident with an animal, you might be able to pursue compensation for your losses. Doing so might be complex on your own, but a Layton car accident attorney can help.
Auto Accidents Caused by Wild Animals in Utah
The United States Department of Transportation estimates that there are 1.5 million collisions between vehicles and large animals every year. Hitting a wild animal at a low speed might not amount to severe damage, but it can still cost a few thousand dollars. Conversely, hitting a deer or elk at highway speeds of 50-60 miles per hour might cause severe damage to the front end of your vehicle. If you are not wearing a seatbelt, you may sustain a severe injury. Unfortunately, responsibility for hitting a wild animal in Utah usually falls on the driver, but you might be able to collect compensation from your insurance provider.
What If the Animal I Hit Is Domesticated?
While hitting a deer is likely in Utah, you may also hit someone’s pet. When this happens, you might be eligible to pursue a claim against the pet owner if they were negligent. For example, say a dog runs in front of your car, and you cannot stop in time to avoid hitting it. Now, the front of your vehicle is damaged. If the dog’s owner did not have the animal on a leash, a court might find them liable for causing the accident.
What to Do after Hitting an Animal in Utah
The first thing you should do after hitting an animal is pull over. For your safety, do not approach the animal. If it is still alive, it may be defensive and be aggressive toward you, causing injuries. Instead, stay in your vehicle and call the police. Once the police arrive, they can help you with a few things:
- Filing a police report, which may aid your insurance claim.
- Gathering evidence at the accident scene
- Contacting the proper agency to care for the animal
- Blocking or diverting traffic to prevent another accident
You should also take photos of the accident scene when it is safe. This might mean waiting until the proper authorities arrive to remove the animal. While you wait, you should take a photo of the animal from your vehicle. It might help prove to your insurer that an animal caused the accident. Once the animal is gone, take photos of vehicle damage and injuries.
How to File a Claim after Hitting an Animal
Since Utah is a no-fault state, you will likely file a claim against your insurance regardless of if the animal was wild or domesticated. The amount that your insurance company may cover depends on various factors, including:
- Type of car insurance you have
- Terms and conditions of your deductible
- Your policy’s validity
Remember, you must first pay the deductible before your insurance kicks in if the insurance company approves your claim.
Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at Feller & Wendt Today
Many people pay their monthly premiums on the assumption that their insurance provider will provide coverage after an accident. Unfortunately, insurance companies may be reluctant to pay benefits to their policyholders. The injury attorneys at Feller & Wendt can help protect your rights and fight for you to receive financial compensation. If you were in an accident caused by an animal in Arizona, contact Feller & Wendt. To schedule a free consultation, call (801) 499-5060 or complete our contact form.