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 car accident attorneys explore how to collect compensation to cover injuries and vehicle repairs after this kind of crash.
How to 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 might be able to collect compensation for medical bills and car repairs through their own insurance provider.
After a wreck that involves an animal, you should:
- Call 911. A collision with a large animal (such as a deer) can shatter your windshield and cause significant damage to your vehicle. If you attempt to continue driving after a wreck, you could become stranded as fluids leak from the car—or even lose consciousness from your injuries. Don’t risk it! Call 911 for help.
- Alert the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA). If the animal you struck is lying in the road or creating a hazard, you should alert authorities to remove it. Even if the animal ran off the road, wounded animals can be extremely dangerous, and the TWRA may prevent anyone from approaching it. Contacting TWRA to document the crash can also benefit your claim, as your insurance company may require proof that the accident involved a deer in order to process your paperwork.
- Go to the hospital. You should get checked out by a medical professional as soon as possible, even if you think your injuries are minor. It may take an x-ray or CT scan to know the full extent of your condition, and it may be harder to treat injuries that have progressed in the days after the accident. It is perfectly acceptable to use your health insurance coverage to pay for your medical costs, but you should keep track of how much insurance will cover and any costs you pay out of pocket.
- File a claim with your own insurance provider. The medical coverage on your car insurance (MedPay) may cover some of the costs of your injury. This is an optional form of insurance with the limits set by each policyholder, so check your policy carefully to see how much you may be owed.
- See if your coverage extends to vehicle repairs. Standard insurance coverage typically will not pay for property damage caused by a run-in with a deer or other wild animal. Only comprehensive insurance—which is optional in Tennessee—will pay for vehicle repairs after a collision with an animal. That said, your policy may include rental car coverage to pay for a rental vehicle while yours is getting repaired.
- Check the other driver’s coverage. If another vehicle was involved, you might be able to make a claim through the other driver’s collision coverage, liability coverage, or uninsured motorist coverage.
The injury attorneys at GriffithLaw thoroughly investigate the factors in your case to determine all potential sources of compensation. We also deal with insurance companies on your behalf, ensuring that any settlement offered will cover the costs of injuries and losses now and in the future.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury in a car accident, our lawyers can discuss your next steps in your free initial consultation—and we do not collect anything unless we secure a recovery for you. To learn more about your claim, please call (615) 807-7900 today or download a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.