Car Accidents Caused by Animals in the Road
South Florida is not only a metropolitan area, but is also surrounded by rural areas and swamplands, which can lead to animals crossing busy roads and highways. Additionally, pets or strays may wander into a vehicle’s path, leading to serious car accidents. Animal-related collisions can be dangerous for drivers and passengers, as well as nearby bicyclists or pedestrians. Injuries that accompany such accidents may include broken bones, internal injuries, and brain or head trauma. Dealing with insurance companies, especially if it is a single vehicle crash, can be complicated following an animal-related accident. Miami car accident attorney Robert Dixon of the Law Offices of Robert Dixon assists those who have been involved in animal-related collisions in pursuing the compensation they need from their insurance carrier, as well as any legally liable party. Our firm offers dedicated and experienced legal representation to clients across South Florida, including in Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. If you need assistance following a car accident caused by animals in the road, contact our office to find out more about your legal options.Car Accidents Caused by Animals in the Road
Early mornings, between five and eight, and evening hours between five and ten are the most common times for collisions involving an animal, as visibility and traffic can be issues, and wild animal activity is at its highest. Not every animal-related accident is avoidable, but there are precautions motorists can take in order to minimize their risk of involvement, including:
- Being aware of your surroundings, paying attention to crossing animal signs as well as not being distracted by your phone or other objects in or outside the vehicle.
- Using high beam lights when appropriate during nighttime hours.
- Driving slower in areas where animals are expected, or when turning around curves.
- Not tailgating other cars, so if there is an animal in the road, the front vehicle can slow and stop as necessary and prevent a rear-end accident.
- Avoiding swerving if an animal is spotted in the road. Although swerving is a natural reaction, this maneuver can cause a more serious collision, especially when a driver swerves into oncoming traffic to avoid hitting an animal.
If you are involved in an animal-related car accident, it is important to pull off the road and call law enforcement as soon as possible. You should put on your vehicle’s emergency flashing lights, and, if possible, use flares or place another indicator around the animal to warn other drivers of the danger. Even if the animal involved is a dog or cat, it is important not to touch the animal in case it could be prompted to attack under the stress of its injury.
Although many of these accidents can be unavoidable, and therefore not the fault of any one party, insurance benefits are still available to help cover the costs of related losses. However, sometimes another party’s negligence is involved. A passenger can hold a negligent driver responsible for injuries sustained in an animal-related collision, where the driver has swerved to into an object or another vehicle or engaged in another unreasonable action. Or, an injured driver can also pursue action against another negligent party.Making a Claim for Negligence
Negligence is present when a party breaches his or her duty to act as a reasonable person would given the circumstances, causing another’s injury and resulting in damages. For example, a vehicle that is tailgating a driver at high speeds, and therefore does not have a reasonable stopping distance behind the vehicle that must avoid an animal and causes a more significant accident, can be found responsible for the escalated collision. Those injured in a car accident may pursue a personal injury claim against a liable party for compensation related to property loss, medical expenses, and other costs incurred due to the collision.Insurance Claims
Making an insurance claim related to these accidents can sometimes be complicated. Even though Florida is a ‘no-fault’ state, meaning that insurers are required to pay policyholders’ claims regardless of who is liable for causing an accident, sometimes insurance companies will try to offer lower than reasonable settlements to cut costs. Insurance companies have a duty to act in a fair and reasonable manner when assessing a claim, and if they fail to do so, they may be held accountable for acting in bad faith. Consulting a knowledgeable attorney in the aftermath of a collision involving an animal in the road is helpful in making sure your rights are protected.Attorneys for Miami Car Accident Claims
All car accidents have the potential to lead to significant injuries to the victims involved, and those caused by an animal are no different. Injury lawyer Robert Dixon and his staff at the Law Offices of Robert Dixon are dedicated to helping victims seek the support they need in the aftermath of a serious collision. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused by an animal in the road, and have questions regarding your legal rights and options, please call 877.499.4878 or contact us online today to set up a free, no obligation consultation and find out more about how we can help. We serve clients in areas including Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.