Personal Injury Law Blog

How to Handle a Car Accident Caused by an Animal on the Road

Most of us have a general understanding of what to do after getting into an accident with another vehicle. It may be a different story, however, when it comes to car accidents caused by animals. Given the fact that car accidents involving animals aren’t nearly as common as car accidents involving other vehicles, many people have no idea how to proceed following a collision with an animal. In this article, we explain how to handle a car accident caused by an animal on the road. If you’ve been involved in an accident involving an animal on the road and have suffered injuries, please contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible for guidance.

Different Types of Car Accidents Caused by an Animal on the Road

There are three primary types of car accidents involving animals on the road in California:

Car accidents caused by wild animals: Unfortunately, when it comes to car crashes caused by wild animals, drivers are left with little legal recourse. Insurance companies usually only cover the costs of damage caused by wild animals if the driver carries comprehensive car insurance. However, this type of car insurance is not included in the liability insurance California drivers are required to carry by law, so not all drivers spend the extra money to purchase this coverage.

Car accidents caused by domesticated animals: When a car accident is caused by someone’s pet, the owner of the animal can be found at fault for the accident. In California, pet owners are required by law to remain in control of their animals at all times, particularly when not on the owner’s property.

Car accidents caused by livestock: Car accidents caused by livestock are far more common than you may think. Such accidents often result in serious property damage and injuries, as some livestock, such as cattle, can weigh well over 1,000 pounds. Interestingly, although the owner may be found liable for an accident caused by livestock on the road, language exists in the California Food and Agriculture Code allowing an owner to contest such a decision. Specifically, pursuant to the code, a livestock owner can be found negligent for allowing livestock to escape if there were fences, buildings, or sidewalks separating the roadway from the livestock owner’s property. However, another section of the code states that a livestock owner will not automatically be assumed to be negligent or at fault for a collision caused by his or her animals. Livestock owners sometimes successfully use this language to avoid liability for accidents caused by their animals.

Regardless of the type of animal involved, one thing is certain: if you’ve been involved in an auto accident involving an animal, you should immediately contact an experienced car accident lawyer for assistance. 

Tips for Avoiding Collisions with Animals on the Road

Although car accidents involving animals happen suddenly and without warning, there are several steps drivers can take to reduce their odds of being involved in one, including:

Stay alert: When on the road, always pay attention to your surroundings. In addition to watching the road, you should occasionally scan the grass and trees along the sides of the road for animals. Also, when possible, you should use your high beams at night to increase visibility except when there is oncoming traffic.

Keep your distance: Although refraining from tailgating the car in front of you is always a good idea while driving, it also applies to the avoidance of animal-related accidents. By keeping at least two car lengths between you and other vehicles, you’ll have more room to brake should an animal run into the street.

Don’t swerve: If an animal jumps in front of your vehicle, try not to swerve. By swerving out of your lane, you could potentially make a bad situation far worse. Instead, as we discuss below, hit the brakes to slow down.

Brake: Rather than attempt to swerve out of the way of a wild animal in the road, you should brake. In an ideal situation, the animal will have enough time to get out of your way. If not, however, you’re far better off colliding with the animal than swerving into another vehicle. 

Steps to Take After a Car Accident Caused by an Animal on the Road

Although avoidance is the best-case scenario, some car accidents involving animals are unavoidable. So, if you are ever involved in a car accident caused by an animal on the road, you should take the following steps, many of which should be taken in any type of car accident:

Move your vehicle to a safe location: Immediately following your accident, you should put your hazard lights on and attempt to relocate your vehicle to a safe location.

Seek medical attention: After ensuring that you are safely out of the way of passing traffic, you should seek immediate medical attention. You can ensure that you receive appropriate medical care by calling the police after your accident and alerting them to any injuries you may have sustained. In addition, if the animal was injured in the accident, you should report this information as well.

Obtain a police report: The officer who responds to the scene of the accident will complete a police report. You should obtain a copy of this report, especially if there is property damage or you have sustained injuries.

Stay away from the injured animal: Although it may be tempting to try to help the injured animal, you should keep your distance. Remember, an injured animal can be a dangerous animal.

Take pictures: If you’re able to, you should take pictures and videos of the accident scene, including any property damage.

Gather information: If there were any witnesses to the accident, you should record their names and contact information. In addition, you should write down as many details as possible regarding the accident as soon as you can.  

Contact a car accident lawyer: Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you should contact an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible following a car accident involving an animal in California. At Glotzer & Leib, LLP, we know what it takes to help you recover following a car accident. When you reach out to us for help, attorney Joshua Glotzer will guide you through the legal process to ensure that you have the best possible chance at obtaining compensation for your injuries. Please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Request Your
Free Consultation

Schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced lawyers today by filling out the form below, or call us at 844-821-5271

      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img

      “Mr. Glotzer represented me after I was involved in a car accident. I was badly injured,but the insurance company refused to offer me a reasonable settlement. I decided to find an attorney and decided to hire Josh.

      His law firm did a great job on my case. They were very responsive to all my questions and obtained a great resolution for me. I received way more money than was originally offered. I would recommend their firm to friends and family.”

      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img

      “Mr. Josh Glotzer is a great attorney. Over the last 15 years he has helped me on a number of cases with professionalism, and more importantly a positive outcome in my favor. I have referred him to a number of friends and colleagues, all of which have been equally as happy with his legal representation. I trust him and confident in legal ability. I highly recommend his law firm.”

      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img

      “Don’t try to deal with insurance companies on your own. They strung me along for almost two years before I gave the case to Glotzer & Leib. Josh and his team quickly obtained a settlement that netted me many times what the insurance company was offering. Thank You!”

      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img

      “My wife was in a car accident last year and Josh did an amazing job representing her. It’s very refreshing to see someone in his profession that actually cares and puts his clients first. He’s the best in the business and I feel so fortunate that I was referred to him. Keep up the great work and thanks for everything you did for my family!”

      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img
      • img

      “I was in a rear end car accident last year and hired Mr. Glotzer’s office. It wasn’t a big case but their office helped me with my property damage claim and did a good job resolving the injury portion of the case as well.”

    view all testimonials

    $1,250,000

    Slip and fall
    view all case results

    Personal Injury Blog

    Helpful information, news about the firm and latest updates

    view all blog posts