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Home » Blog » Car Accidents » Who Is Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Animals?

Who Is Liable for Car Accidents Caused by Animals?

Posted in on December 24, 2019

Car accidents caused by animals are a problem throughout the United States. When an accident happens, a driver needs to know what their legal rights and obligations are. Some car accidents caused by animals are truly accidents. But sometimes, an accident involving an animal may be the fault of the owner of the animal or the vehicle driver. There are a lot of things to think about when you’re in a car accident caused by an animal. Our car accident attorneys in Colorado explain animal accidents.

Before Car Accident involving an animal

Is Hitting an Animal an At-Fault Accident?

Hitting an animal is an at-fault accident in some circumstances. On the one hand, drivers have to leave enough following distance to stop for things in the road ahead of them. However, unexpected obstructions like animals that dart into traffic don’t count as predictable obstructions that drivers can avoid.

Then again, a driver who is speeding or otherwise breaking a traffic law is responsible if their bad driving causes an animal accident. Hitting an animal can be an at-fault accident if the driver breaks a traffic law in a way that leads to the accident.

Wild Animal Accidents

Wild animal accidents can occur with deer, squirrels, fox, and other animals. Living in Colorado, we all know what a problem wild animal accidents can be. When wild animal accidents occur, they’re typically not the fault of a driver. A driver has to leave sufficient following distance for the traffic in front of them. However, wild animals don’t care about crosswalks or the rules of the road. Generally, wild animal accidents are viewed by law enforcement and the law as true accidents.

However, if the driver is breaking a driving rule, it’s another story. If a driver is speeding, tailgating, passing where it’s prohibited, or otherwise breaking the law, the bad driving behavior can cause a chain reaction that results in a wild animal accident. When the accident is, at least in part, due to the driving behavior of one or more drivers, a driver may have legal fault for the wild animal accident. Any victims may seek financial compensation from the responsible driver.

Livestock Accidents

In addition to wild animal accidents, another common cause of animal accidents, especially in Colorado, is livestock accidents. Even when a cow, horse, or goat is livestock on private property, livestock can still wander into a public road. When that happens, the livestock owner is generally liable for the accident.

Under Colorado law, negligence is the determining factor for who is responsible for a car accident. The negligent person isn’t always the driver. A person who owns livestock can cause an accident by negligently allowing their livestock to wander. The owner of the livestock is not strictly liable under every circumstance; however, they must take reasonable steps to prevent their livestock from getting loose.

Who Is Responsible If You Hit a Cow?

Who is responsible if you hit a cow depends on how the accident occurs. If the cow got loose because its owner didn’t take enough steps to keep it secure, the cow’s owner is responsible. However, the driver is responsible if they drive improperly in a way that causes the accident.

Speeding is an example of bad driving behavior that can make a driver responsible for an accident with a cow. To know who is responsible for an accident with a cow, you must look at how the accident occurs and whose actions cause the accident.

Dog Causes Car Accident Who’s Liable?

When a dog causes a car accident, the dog’s owner is typically liable. Even though it’s always tragic when an accident occurs involving a dog, it’s up to the dog’s owner to keep their pet secure. When a pet runs into traffic, the dog isn’t secure.

However, it’s possible that the dog could have gotten loose despite all efforts on the part of the dog owner. In that case, it might really be a tragic accident. The vehicle driver and the dog’s owner may be liable when a dog causes a car accident. It may also be that no one is liable when a dog causes a car accident.

Does Car Insurance Cover Animal Damages?

Yes, car insurance may cover animal damage. It depends on what type of insurance coverage you have. If you have collision insurance or comprehensive insurance, it likely covers animal damage. If you have only the minimum liability policy, it probably does not cover animal damages. Whether car insurance covers animal damages depends on your insurance coverage, the laws in your state, and how the accident occurs.

Car Accidents With Animals

In terms of determining legal liability, car accidents with animals may be more complex than they might seem. While it’s tragic when an accident occurs with an animal, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the vehicle driver is at fault. Both pet owners and drivers have an obligation to do their part. Pet owners have to keep their pets safe and out of the road. Drivers have to drive at a safe speed and obey traffic laws.

When a car accident with an animal occurs, the law looks at the actions of each party. A vehicle driver may have significant accident injuries and property damage, especially if the animal in the road causes a chain reaction that results in an accident with another vehicle or an object by the road. Sorting out legal liability in a car accident involving animals is often a complex matter. It may require going in-depth to look carefully at the actions of each party. Once you evaluate legal liability, you can examine damages to know the financial rights and obligations of each party as they relate to the accident.

Denver Attorneys for Accidents Involving Animals

Our Denver attorneys for accidents involving animals can help you examine the complex legal and factual issues in play in an animal accident. We can help you determine if you may claim financial compensation and what you might stand to receive. Our team of Denver attorneys for accidents involving animals can help you fight for your rights under the law. Call us today.

Kyle Bachus

Kyle opened Bachus & Schanker, with little more than a tiny, rented office and a lot of determination. Starting with less than $15,000, their business has grown into one of the largest, most well respected personal injury firms in the Colorado region. Kyle and his partner Darin Schanker are committed to understanding the circumstances confronting their clients, and ensuring that responsible parties are held accountable for damages they have caused.

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Super Lawyers - Kyle Bachus
Million Dollar Advocates Forum
Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence
Super Lawyers - Darin Schanker
The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyer
5280 Top Lawyers of Denver
Expertise logo: best car accident lawyers in Colorado Springs