Animal-Related Auto Accidents: What You Need To Know

Any time you get into an accident with your vehicle it can be a traumatic experience. However, while most people get into accidents with other vehicles, it's possible that you get into an accident by hitting an animal. If you make the wrong move in those split seconds before the impact, you could end up making the situation much worse. Here is what you should know about car accidents where animals on the road are involved.

Know Who Is Liable

One concern you may have about this type of accident is who is liable. If it is someone's pet in the middle of the road, are you liable for injuring the animal, or is the owner of the pet liable for causing damage to your car? Your personal damages can include your medical expenses and the vehicle damage. The owner of the pet will have potential medical bills for the animal if they survive the impact.

While the laws are different in each state, know that liability will likely belong to the owner of the pet. This would be if the pet was in the road because they were not on a leash and were allowed to be in the road by their owner. That said, there are some circumstances where you can be partially found responsible for the accident with the pet. For example, reckless driving or driving under the influence may put some of the liability on you.

Know How To Reduce Personal Liability

As a pet owner, the best thing you can do is keep your animal on a leash when you are near the street. While a dog that escapes a backyard may seem out of the owner's control, they must take steps to prevent it from happening.

As a driver, the way you react to the animal can reduce your personal liability. It will be important that you brake and do not swerve out of your lane in an attempt to avoid the animal. If you leave your lane and hit another vehicle, you would be liable for causing the accident. If the sudden braking causes someone to rear end your vehicle, you would not be responsible for causing the accident. Liability may fall on the driver that hit you or the animal's owner for causing the accident.

If you have questions about an auto accident regarding an animal, be sure to reach out to car accident attorneys, like those at Carter & Fulton, P.S., since they specialize and understand laws relating to car accidents.