Wild animals are everywhere and unfortunately can’t always be kept out of traffic. Unfortunately, larger animals, like deer, can cause very serious damage and injuries when they collide with a vehicle. These collisions aren’t uncommon in New Mexico; in fact, it’s the eighth state in the U.S. for animal-related accidents. Here’s what to know if an animal causes your car accident.
Car Insurance and Animal Accidents
While animal-vehicle accidents can be extremely upsetting and damaging, there is some good news: most insurance companies will cover this kind of accident so long as you have comprehensive coverage for your policy. Comprehensive coverage is so important because it helps to pay for damage and injuries caused by things that weren’t within the control of the driver. For instance, this includes not only animals but also weather, fire, and vandalism. However, comprehensive insurance is not automatically included in basic insurance in New Mexico. By checking your policy or speaking with an agent of your provider, you can find out if you have comprehensive, first-party insurance if you are hit by an animal.
If your accident was caused by a domestic animal that is owned by someone else (such as a dog), you may have the ability to file a claim with the pet owner’s insurance company to recover your medical bills and property damage. It’s also important to note that most insurance claims involving a domestic animal are filed with the pet owner’s homeowners’ property insurance policy. If the animal is wild, the city or state government could potentially be held liable for the accident if the road you were on doesn’t have proper signage warning of certain animals or lacks adequate lighting.
If another driver hit your vehicle because he or she was trying to avoid an animal, that driver may be liable to you for damages.
What to Do After an Animal-Vehicle Collision
If you are involved in an animal-vehicle collision, stay calm and remember to take the following steps:
- Pull over to the side of the road or a nearby safe location and turn on your hazard lights
- See if you or any other passenger has suffered an injury
- If possible to do so safely, get out of the vehicle and check it for damage
- Call the police to report the accident (this helps to not only protect others but to also document the incident)
- Photograph the scene of the accident, including your vehicle and any injuries
- Call your insurance company to file an initial claim – but DO NOT provide any recorded statement or accept any settlement
- Contact a qualified attorney who can help you to figure out who can be held liable for your damages
MPJ Law Firm Can Help Those in NM Who Have Suffered an Injury Due to an Animal-Vehicle Accident
If you or a loved one has suffered an injury due to an animal-vehicle collision, it can greatly impact your life. It can be difficult enough to deal with your injuries, but it can be even harder when you are left to pick up the pieces financially.
At MPJ Law Firm, we have a deep understanding of animal-vehicle accidents and will always act in your best interest, working to investigate your claim, collect evidence, and do what is necessary to prove you weren’t responsible for the accident. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!
Posted in: Automobile Accidents