Tennessee is known for its beautiful wildlife and unspoiled nature, but these things do not always exist peacefully with their neighbors—especially those in cars. From rabbits and squirrels to free-roaming livestock, a collision with an animal can cause physical and emotional injuries that may take years to heal. Our attorneys explore who may be at fault for a collision with an animal, as well as how to collect compensation to cover injuries and vehicle repairs after this kind of crash.
Who May Pay the Costs of a Car Accident with an Animal in Tennessee
Thousands of drivers and passengers are injured every year as a result of a collision with an animal, and many more are hurt as a result of swerving away to avoid a crash. While it is impossible to hold an animal responsible for the costs of a crash, drivers may be able to collect compensation from the animal’s owner or through their own insurance coverage.
There could be a variety of parties responsible for covering your injury costs, depending on whether the accident involved:
- Deer. According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, deer were involved in over 7,000 crashes in 2016, causing 330 known injuries. Deer-car collisions are highest during mating season (between October and December), and are most likely to occur during the early dawn and dusk when deer are most active. In most cases, standard car insurance will not pay for a run-in with a deer. Only comprehensive insurance—which is optional in Tennessee—will pay for a collision with a deer.
- Wild animals. Comprehensive insurance coverage is typically the only option for claiming damages caused by a raccoon, bird, bear, or other wild animal. However, if the accident occurred in an area where these animals are frequently seen and there were no warning signs or proper road lighting, you may be able to seek compensation from the local government in charge of highway safety.
- Farm animals. Livestock may escape their enclosures and wander onto the roadway, placing drivers on both highways and city streets at significant risk. Ranchers and dairy farmers may be held liable for accidents caused by unsecured horses, goats, cattle, sheep, pigs, and other domesticated animals. Other third-parties may also be named in a car accident injury claim, such as farmhands who failed to repair broken fences or municipalities who did not properly maintain guardrails along the roadside.
- Emergency maneuvers. Some injuries occur not because of a collision with an animal, but as a result of a driver’s evasive action to avoid hitting it. The sudden appearance of an animal can cause a driver to swerve off to the left into oncoming traffic, veer right off the side of the road into a ditch or tree, or even roll over.
- Multiple vehicles. Not all car-animal accidents involve just one vehicle. If an animal is loose on a busy street, a driver may sideswipe another car, enter the oncoming lane and cause a head-on collision, or even be involved in a multi-car pileup. If several vehicles are involved, drivers may have to make claims through their collision coverage, liability coverage, or uninsured motorist coverage to get the maximum amount of compensation.
The injury attorneys at GriffithLaw are familiar with the complexities of car accidents involving wild and domesticated animals. We thoroughly investigate all factors leading up to and after the crash, and determine all potential sources of compensation for victims. We also deal with insurance companies on our clients’ behalf, ensuring that any settlement offered will cover the costs of injuries and losses now and in the future.
Not only do our car accident lawyers provide initial consultations free of charge, we do not collect any legal fees until your case is resolved. To learn more about your rights, simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.