Car Crashes Caused by Animals in Cherry Hill
Car crashes can leave accident victims wondering what to do next, if their insurance policy will cover damages, and who will pay for injuries resulting from the accident. Crashing into an animal, especially a large one like a deer can be very serious and often leave the driver with injuries. New Jersey is known for its large deer population and the problems they can cause. But animals do not carry insurance policies and they also cannot be sued. So what is a driver supposed to do when they crash into an animal? If you want to know more about how to conduct yourself following one of the car crashes caused by animals in Cherry Hill, speak with a distinguished car accident lawyer.
Avoid Hitting Other Cars
The first step to take when involved in car crashes caused by animals in Cherry Hill is to avoid hitting other cars or people. It is a natural instinct to try and swerve to avoid hitting the animal, but this is not a good idea. Swerving can cause a driver to hit another car or pedestrians on the side of the road.
If an animal enters the roadway in front of your vehicle, apply the brake and come to a controlled stop. Do not speed up, as many suggest. While some say that this causes the hood of the car to go up on impact, reducing the chance the animal will come through the windshield, this is not true.
Moving the Vehicle Out of the Roadway
The next step is to move the vehicle out of the roadway if it can still be driven. Pull over to the shoulder and turn on the hazard lights in the car. This will alert other drivers that there is something going on, and they should slow down.
Once the car has been moved, contact the authorities. If there are injuries, which is a possibility when hitting a larger animal, contact a hospital or the ambulance if necessary. Stay on the side of the road until the police arrive. They will want to know what happened, and they will likely file an accident report. This report could help the driver when they speak to their insurance company.
Contacting Law Enforcement
If there are no injuries, it is important to contact the police department. They will be able to remove the animal from the road, as this should never be done by the driver. If the animal is still alive, they will be frightened and could injure the driver by kicking or biting. Even if the animal is not alive, they may carry diseases which could be transferred to a human after touching the animal. The animal needs to be moved, in order to avoid even more accidents, but it should only be done by police.
Notifying Pet Owners
It is important to note that not all car crashes with animals involve wildlife. It is not uncommon for domestic animals such as dogs and cats to wander out onto the road and get hit by a car. When this is the case, it is courteous to try and find the owner of the animal, apologize, and tell them what happened. It is unlikely that the driver will be held liable for the crash. In fact, the owner may be held liable for not keeping their pet under control. But they should still be notified. Keep in mind that all the other steps, such as contacting the police, are still required by law when a domestic animal is hit.
Calling the Insurance Company
When a driver is injured, or their vehicle has suffered damages, after hitting an animal on the road, the car insurance policy may cover it. This is likely only going to be the case when the driver has comprehensive coverage, as this type of policy will provide benefits for accidents that do not involve another vehicle.
Before speaking to the insurance company, it is important to read the insurance policy to determine what kind of insurance applies. Car crashes caused by animals in Cherry Hill are a common enough occurence that the insurance company should be able to help in some capacity.
Hitting an animal with a car can be a traumatic experience for all involved. While the driver is unlikely to be held legally responsible, unless they have hit another car, there are still certain measures that must be taken. It is important drivers follow them to keep themselves, and everyone else on the road as safe as possible.