There are a lot of variables in determining who is at fault for hitting an animal. The most important issue is what type of animal is involved. The three basic types of animals are wild animals, livestock, and domestic animals. In general, there is no legal fault if you hit a wild animal. Wild animals would include deer, Elk, and other smaller animals.
In most states, if you hit livestock, there are special laws that control. In free range states the livestock owner is not responsible. In states that require fencing, the livestock owner is responsible when they were negligent in allowing the animal to roam free. Livestock include cows, horses, sheep, and goats.
If you hit a domesticated animal, the owner of the animal is usually liable because most states have a leash law that requires the pet owner to keep the animal from running free. Pets include dogs and cats.
WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN YOU HIT A DEER?
A deer is a wild animal. They are unpredictable and they are fast. They can dart into the road so quickly that they can be impossible to avoid. For this reason, car insurance companies do not consider hitting a deer with a car the fault of the driver. Instead, hitting a deer is considered an unavoidable accident.
Will Your Rates Go up if You Hit a Deer?
Because hitting a deer is usually unavoidable, most insurance companies will not raise your rates if this happens. But some insurance companies may. So you should definitely check with your carrier to see what they will do.
Do Not Swerve
Many people do their best to swerve to try and avoid hitting the deer. Most experts will tell you not to do this. The reason is that swerving can put you and other drivers at a greater risk. Your split second decision to swerve may end up causing you to run off the road and hit a tree. Worse yet it may cause you to over react, head into on coming traffic, and cause a head on collision with another car.
Filing a Police Report is Recommended but Not Necessary if you hit a deer
Most insurance companies do not require you to report hitting a deer to the police. But doing so will make your claim process smoother. The documentation will prevent the insurance company from later claiming the event did not happen.
On course, hitting a deer is not without its consequences. They are big enough animals that hitting them will usually do a lot of damage to your car. So the most important question after hitting a deer is who will pay for the damage. The simple answer is that it depends on whether you purchased comprehensive coverage.
Who Pays for the damage to Your Car if You Hit a Deer?
Comprehensive insurance coverage pays for damage to your vehicle from random, unpredictable events like hitting a deer. So if you have comprehensive insurance coverage on your vehicle, your insurance company will pay to fix it. But you will still be responsible for paying whatever deductible you have. If you do not have comprehensive insurance coverage, you will have to pay for the damage to your car.
WHO IS AT FAULT IF I HIT A COW?
A cow is considered live stock. In most states, livestock like a cow should be kept fenced in and away from roadways. But in some states, cow owners are allowed to let their cows run free. As a result, it is impossible to give you a hard and fast rule.
Fault for Hitting a Cow Depends on the Law of the State You are In
Most states have specific laws that address livestock owner’s responsibilities. These statutes will generally apply to all types of livestock including cows, horses, sheep, or even goats. So, these statutes will address who is at fault when you hit a cow. As a result, deciding who is at fault will depend on the law of which state you are in.
Open Range Livestock States
In some states, the laws allow livestock to roam free. In these states livestock owners and farmers are not required to fence in their livestock animals. If you hit a cow in one of these states, no one is at fault for hitting the cow. But you still might have to pay for the cost of the cow.
States That Require Livestock to be Fenced
In Florida, like most states today, livestock, including cows, horses, sheep, and even goats must be fenced. Of course, the laws in each state are a little different. But in most states that have livestock fencing requirements, the general rule is that a cow owner is responsible if they were negligent in letting the cow out of its fencing. This means that if they failed to properly maintain the fencing or they forgot to properly latch the gate, then the cow owner would be at fault. On the other hand, if the cow got out into the road because someone cut their fencing, the cow owner may not be at not be at fault in most states.
File a Police Report if You Hit a Cow
Unlike a deer, a cow has an owner. So it is important to file a police report. In fact, in some states, if you do not file a police report, it might be considered a hit and run crime. But even if it is not a crime. It is the right thing to do. The police report will help ensure the cow owner is found and if the owner is responsible, it will help ensure the owner pays for the damage caused.
WHO IS AT FAULT WHEN A DOG IS HIT BY A CAR?
A dog is considered a domesticated animal. Every state has different laws that cover domesticated animals like dogs. Furthermore, the laws in different parts of a particular state may also be different in different areas of the state. In general, the law will either allow dogs to roam freely or they will require the owner to keep their dog on a leash. Because of the differences between states, it is impossible to give you a hard and fast rule.
States That Allow Dogs to Roam Freely
Some states allow dogs to roam freely. In states that allow dogs to roam freely, the owner of the dog will generally not be responsible if their pet is hit by a car. Whether the driver will be responsible will depend on whether the driver could have avoided hitting the dog.
States That Have a Leash Law
Some states require dogs to be on a leash at all times. In states that have leash laws, if the dog was not on a leash at the time of the accident, the owner of the dog will generally be at fault for the dog getting hit. Although the driver could also be comparatively negligent if the driver could have done something to avoid the accident.
Do You Have to Stop if You hit a Dog
If you hit a dog the right thing to do is stop and try to render assistance. It is also the law to stop in many states. In those states leaving the scene of the accident can be considered a hit and run.