Insurance giant State Farm recently released the results of a study in which it was found that the likelihood of striking a deer while driving in Iowa is higher than all but two other states in the nation. In other words, Iowa drivers have submitted the third highest number of car versus deer claims nationally.
Can I Make A Personal Injury Claim If I Am Involved In A Crash With A Deer Or Another Animal?
Unfortunately, this question doesn’t have one stock answer. Rather, the answer is one that is often heard in the practice of law – maybe.
If you were the driver of a car that hits a deer or other wild animal, there is likely nothing that you can do in the way of a personal injury claim. However, if you strike a cow, for example, you may well have a claim against the owner of the cow depending on how and why the cow was on the road.
If you were a passenger in a car and the driver strikes a deer, you may have a claim against the driver for negligence. Although it might seem unjust since the deer just “popped out of the ditch”, the driver of a car has a duty to see what there is to be seen and respond appropriately.
The lawyers at Des Moines Injury Law.com have handled many car versus animal cases and have first hand experience in cases where the driver was oblivious to the animals to the side of the road while the passengers reported seeing them hundreds of yards in advance. In such cases, a claim can be made that the driver was operating his car in a negligent manner and, thus, a personal injury claim is appropriate.
Likewise, if you are a passenger in a car that strikes a domestic animal, you might have a claim both against the driver as well as the animal owner.
Car versus animal cases can be quite complex and you should consult with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers today if you find yourself injured in one of these types of accidents.
Why Does An Insurance Company Care About Car Versus Deer Crashes?
The easy answer to the above question is – money. The more claims that are submitted, the more money the insurance companies have to pay out and the less money they have to go to their bottom line.
Why Should I care About Car Versus Deer Crashes?
The same reason insurance companies care! Money. Just like every other business that has expenses, claims are an expense to the insurer and in order to cover the expense, they simply raise rates either to the individual driver or to all drivers collectively. Therefore, driving carefully may help you save money by keeping your premiums low. Additionally, even if your insurance company pays your claim you are likely stuck with having to pay the deductible.
Tips For Avoiding Crashes With Animals
• Be Alert. Although this goes without saying, being on alert while driving is particularly important during the fall when deer are in rut. The reason being that deer are more active during this time and will often wander outside their comfort zones thus putting drivers at a higher risk of crashes.
• Use Your Headlights Wisely. While virtually every driver knows to turn on their headlights as dusk arrives, not as many know how deer respond to them. Deer often become “blinded” by headlights so flashing between high and low beams when you spot a deer can sometimes break the gaze of the deer and send them back into the woods rather than into your path of travel.
• Don’t Swerve. If you find yourself in a position in which an impact with an animal is inevitable, don’t swerve to avoid it. The injuries you sustain from going off the road or into another car can be far worse than what you might experience just hitting the animal.
• Wear Your Seatbelt. Again, this is driver’s ed 101 but it bears repeating.
• Brake Appropriately. If you come across an animal on the road, locking up your tires and skidding may be the temptation but be aware of other cars on the road. Coming to a dead stop on the road is a good way to rear-ended and suffering injury. Perhaps just as bad is going into a skid and ending up in oncoming traffic.
If you have been involved in a car versus animal crash and suffered injury, contact one of our personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. We can be reached at 515-493-4878 or via EMAIL.