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When Animals Contribute To Wrong-Way Accidents

By Timothy Bussey on September 20, 2022

In Colorado, you may encounter different types of animals on the road, including livestock and wild animals. Wild animal accidents often include deer, fox, squirrels, and other animals. In Colorado, wild animal accidents may be more common than you think and are typically not the fault of the driver. This is because the driver may not have been able to leave sufficient space for following traffic if they had to react quickly after hitting the animal.

Livestock animals are another common reason for car accidents in Colorado. Livestock accidents often include cows, horses, or goats. Because livestock may wander from private property onto a public road, these accidents give rise to the question of negligence, as a court must determine who was at fault, the driver or the owner of the livestock.

What If It Is a Pet? Is a Pet Owner Ever Liable In This Kind Of Situation?

When a pet causes a driver to swerve and cause your injury, generally, it’s not the driver who’s at fault, but the owner of the pet. Although it’s heart-breaking for the owner, they usually bear the responsibility to ensure that the pet is secure and not on the road.

However, in some circumstances, either the owner or the driver may be liable. It may also be that no one is liable if a pet causes a car accident. When a car accident involving a pet occurs, the law looks to the actions of each party involved. If an owner or the city has fences that should have prevented the animal from escaping, they may not be at fault if the dog did escape.

So How Should a Driver Properly React To an Animal in the Road?

A driver on the road is responsible for following the road rules and driving within the specific speed. However, the driver is not required to, nor should they, swerve to avoid hitting an animal that’s on the road.

Although they should slow down and attempt to not hit the animal, swerving is dangerous and can lead to additional damage. If a driver swerves to avoid an animal, it’s easy for them to lose control, particularly if the car is traveling at a high speed. When a car swerves, the driver puts not only themselves and the animal at risk, but others on the road as well.

What Should You Do After This Type of Accident?

In the unfortunate event you or the vehicle you are in has been in an accident involving an animal, first ensure that everyone involved is safe. Thereafter, you should call the police and while you’re waiting, do your best to stay away from the animal.

During this time, if you’re able to, you should document the scene and take pictures where applicable. If you have comprehensive insurance, you also need to contact your insurance company and explain what has occurred.

Should You Photograph the Animal After This Type of Accident?

It may be a good idea to document the scene of the accident, even if your car doesn’t show damage. It’s important to take pictures of the area (including around the accident) and make notes on what happened before, during, and after hitting the animal. To ensure optimal safety, you should ensure that it is safe to pull over or to get out of the car before doing this.

How a Lawyer Can Help

Animals are unpredictable and in Colorado many instances arise where livestock, wild animals, or pets can cause accidents. It’s important to know your rights and what your legal position is in the specific set of circumstances. For instance, if you have comprehensive insurance you may be able to file a claim against an accident.

The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. have experienced attorneys for vehicle accidents involving animals. The law relating to animal accidents and who is liable is complex. We can help you determine your legal rights and your entitlement to compensation.

Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. today at (719) 475-2555 to discuss your needs.

Posted in: Car Accidents


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