Motor vehicle accidents can happen when an animal suddenly darts into the roadway. The results can be incredibly serious—even deadly. Here’s what to know about animals and car accidents in Georgia.
Every year, around 247,000 vehicle accidents happen from the driver hitting an animal on the road. An estimated 200 people are killed by these crashes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Animal-related car accidents can occur because the driver either hits an animal or swerves to avoid hitting them. Either way, the consequences can result in serious injuries or death. Large animals can cause a lot of damage to a vehicle or even go through the windshield, colliding with drivers or passengers. The driver might swerve and hit another vehicle or an object off of the road, such as a pole or tree.
Wild Animals Versus Domestic Animals and Car Accidents
In Georgia, when two or more vehicles crash, the negligent party is responsible for the damages. The victim can seek damages as compensation (Georgia Code section 51-12-4). However, when the accident involves one driver and an animal, it depends on the details.
Owner Negligence in Animal-Related Car Accidents
If the accident is caused by a domestic animal running into the road, such as a dog, the owner of the animal is typically responsible. That’s because, in Georgia, an animal owner is expected to keep their pet under control and away from harming others. This can including dogs as well as cows, horses, or other livestock. If the owner allows their animal to stay into the roadway and an accident happens, they might be liable for resulting injuries.
Wild Animals and Car Accidents
Wild animals are a different story. Nine out of 10 car accidents involving wild animals happen with deer, but they can involve bears, cows, wild dogs, squirrels, or raccoons as well. Collisions with wild animals are fairly common in Georgia, and they are generally on the rise.
Unlike cattle and horses that can be fenced in away from traffic, there is nothing stopping animals like deer from walking in front of moving vehicles. When a wild animal (with no owner) has caused the accident, such as a deer or rabbit, is doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t recover damages for your injuries and vehicle damage.
After a wild animal-related collision, there are often insurance options. You may be able to recover from places like:
- Your own auto insurance company
- The local municipality
- Or the insurance company of a landowner nearby
In any of these situations, it’s generally good to consult with a car accident lawyer. Even claims against your own insurance company can get complicated. Insurers do not like to pay out on claims, so they will look for ways to reduce or deny your claim. An experienced lawyer can be your best advocate and make sure you are recovering what you deserve.
Animal Accidents Involving Other Drivers
If you swerved to avoid hitting an animal and ended up hitting another vehicle, you may be found liable for the accident costs. Georgia law puts the lives of drivers (and passengers) above the risk of hitting a wild animal. So, you may be found negligent if you swerved into another driver’s line of traffic to avoid hitting the animal.
In this situation, it’s still a good idea to call a lawyer. They can look at the details of your accident and determine your best course of action.
Talk to a Lawyer Who Understands Animals and Car Accidents in Georgia
If you were hurt in a car accident involving any type of animal in Georgia, contact John Foy & Associates today. We have been helping drivers hurt in an accident for over 20 years, and we can help you handle your case. That includes fighting for the compensation that can help pay for your medical bills and vehicle damage.
For a FREE consultation, call us today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.