When wildlife causes your car accident
It might seem obvious, and we say this tongue in cheek. Although wildlife car accidents can be serious, you cannot sue the animal who crossed in front of your vehicle. Bears, deer, and other wildlife do not carry liability insurance. We suspect that you already guessed this is to be the case. However, what happens to fixing your vehicle when it involves an animal?
Comprehensive Car Insurance
Many of our clients come to us insisting that they have signed up for “full coverage.” What exactly does this mean? To us, one of the components of a full automobile insurance policy is comprehensive coverage. Like collision insurance, comprehensive coverage is optional in New Jersey. Both types of coverage involve payment for property damage.
Comprehensive coverage kicks in when the damages to your vehicle are related to something other than a collision. This may include:
- Car fires
- Damages caused by flood waters
- An accident with some form of wildlife
- Damages caused by natural disasters
- Problems caused by acts of theft or vandalism
Collision Car Insurance
Comprehensive coverage is applicable when you actually make contact with an animal and sustain property damage. However, what happens when you swerve to avoid the creature and hit another vehicle? In that case, you will file a claim under the collision coverage portion of your policy. The same is true if you are forced into a telephone pole or a guardrail. Statistically, it seems that you risk less personal injuries if you slow down and actually hit the animal. We agree that this is a sad realization, but turning sharply puts you at a higher risk.
How great is the Risk?
Deer are in prime season right now. You see them on local roads, as well as on such major highways as Route 80 and the Garden State Parkway. According to the website carinsurance.com, the likelihood of hitting a deer while travelling in New Jersey are 1 in 234. In nearby Pennsylvania, the odds are even greater at 1 in 70. It makes sense to use appropriate safety measures to avoid such a crash. Later this week, we will provide you with some hints regarding averting accidents with animals.
Were you injured in an accident that involved someone attempting to avoid hitting a deer or some other wildlife? It is important that you secure experienced legal advice for injuries arising from any motor vehicle accident. At the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone, we have that experience. Contact us for an appointment to discuss your case.