Most drivers do not expect to encounter an animal in the middle of a Michigan road or highway. Yet, according to Michigan State Police, there were close to 60,000 deer car accidents in 2022, a 13 percent increase over the previous year. As a result of these crashes, 11 people were killed and more than 1,600 were injured. In addition, the majority of these accidents (57,507) caused damage to vehicles and other property. And deer are not the only animals putting motorists at risk. Cows and other livestock can escape and wander onto roadways, and runaway dogs can cause drivers or bicyclists to lose control and crash.
Here is an overview of animal-related accidents and how an experienced car accident attorney can protect your rights and win the compensation you deserve.
Insurance coverage for accidents involving animals depends on the terms of the driver’s No-Fault policy and the circumstances of the accident. Coverage and liability vary depending on whether the crash involves wild animals, such as deer, or animals that are owned by someone else, such as livestock or dogs.
If a car is damaged in a collision with a deer or other wild animal, and no other vehicle is involved in the accident, repairs are covered only if the insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage. This optional protection pays for damages that occur in situations other than car accidents, such as animals, fire, theft, vandalism, glass/windshield damage, falling trees, lightning, hail and flooding.
However, comprehensive coverage only applies when the animal makes actual contact with the vehicle. If a car hits a tree or guardrail in order to avoid hitting an animal, repairs would be covered under the collision portion of the policy and the vehicle owner or driver would be responsible for paying the deductible.
Recommended reading: Does Insurance Cover Michigan Deer Car Accidents? What to Know Before Filing a Claim
Michigan law holds owners responsible for the actions of their animals. If a horse, cow or other type of livestock gets loose and causes damage to someone else’s property, the Michigan Animals Running at Large Act states the owner or person responsible for the animals is liable. This includes vehicle damage caused by animals that wander onto roads or highways.
Dogs or other pets can also cause accidents when they leave their property and chase after cars or bicycles. Michigan law includes a “strict liability” statute that holds owners responsible for injuries or other damage caused by their dogs.
However, it is wise to contact a qualified personal injury attorney if an animal owned by someone else, such as livestock or dogs, caused you to suffer harm.
Recommended reading: What Michigan Drivers Should Know About Cow/Livestock Car Accidents
Although any type of accident is possible when an animal crosses a road or highway, these are the most common:
Recommended reading: Important Facts About Rear-End Collisions
When another vehicle is involved in an accident with an animal, whether wild or privately owned, and someone is injured, each driver would seek reimbursement for medical bills and other accident-related expenses from the No-Fault policies covering their vehicles.
However, if one (or more) driver is at fault for the accident, the victim(s) may be able to file a lawsuit to recover intangible damages such as pain and suffering as well as medical expenses that exceed the limits of their Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits.
Because these cases are complex, it is best to contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible if you are injured in any type of crash with another vehicle.
If you or a loved one is injured in a Michigan car accident, we can help. Our experienced lawyers have the skills, knowledge and resources to win the compensation you and your family deserve.
Car accident law is complicated, but finding the right Michigan car accident attorney is simple.
Start your case today by clicking on the link below or calling 1-800-CALL-SAM for a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our legal team.
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