When most people think about getting into a car crash caused by an animal, they often think of the deer, or even cows, that sometimes wander onto the road in Colorado. But even smaller animals such as porcupines and raccoons can do significant damage to a car, especially if they are hit at a high speed. So what can drivers do when they get into a car crash caused by an animal?
In most cases, it will strictly be an insurance issue. A personal injury lawsuit cannot be filed against an animal. Not all insurance policies will provide coverage for car crashes caused by animals in Denver. It may be critical to speak with a distinguished car accident attorney should they have an accident involving animals in the road.
Drivers that only carry liability coverage will not be able to go through their insurance to pay for the damage to their car. Liability coverage only applies to damage to other cars; it will not provide coverage made to the policyholder’s car.
Understanding Comprehensive Insurance Coverage
In order to receive coverage for damage caused to the driver’s vehicle by an animal, that driver will need to have comprehensive insurance coverage. Drivers will still likely have to pay to have the damage repaired. Like most insurance policies, comprehensive coverage typically carries a deductible that will need to be paid by the policyholder before coverage is provided.
Drivers should never swerve to avoid hitting an animal that is on the road. While they should slow down and do everything they can to avoid hitting the animal, swerving can cause even more damage. When a car swerves, particularly when it is traveling at a high speed, it is easy for the driver to lose control. They could also swerve into other traffic, which could cause an accident with another vehicle.
In this instance, the insurance company of the at-fault party would provide coverage and that would likely be the person that swerved to miss the animal. If the driver or passengers of the other vehicle are injured or there is a lot of damage to the vehicle, they may also be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver that swerved to avoid an animal.
Open Range Laws in Relation to Negligence
Colorado has also seen unique instances in which cattle have been hit after they have wandered onto the road. Colorado is considered an ‘open range’ state, meaning that cows and other cattle may graze on any property that is not fenced. But owners of livestock are to keep them from wandering onto roads and highways. In these instances, the owner of the livestock may be found negligent if they have allowed their cattle to wander in a restricted area.
However, Colorado is also a comparative negligence state. This means that if the driver was partly at fault, such as if they were texting at the time and did not see the cattle, they could be found partially at fault. When that is the case, any compensation they may receive for car crashes caused by animals in Denver would be deducted by a certain percentage.
Importance of Contacting an Attorney
Animals are unpredictable, and there are many instances in which Colorado drivers may encounter them on the state’s roads. It is important that drivers slow down and be very cautious when they are in areas with large wildlife or farm populations. An animal can cause a great deal of damage to both vehicles and people, and drivers might be surprised to learn that car crashes caused by animals in Denver could cost them more than they thought.