Stray animals cause hundreds of accidents every year on our roads. Although the general rule is that you should only try to avoid it if it is safe to do so, many people instinctively try to swerve around them and sometimes into the path of other vehicles.
Accidents caused by wild animals
If it was a wild animal that caused the accident, and you swerved to avoid it then you will be liable. Because a wild animal has no owner and no one responsible for keeping it under control, then there will also be no one to claim against.
Accidents caused by livestock
Anyone who owns animals has a legal responsibility to ensure that they are contained securely and are prevented from escaping into public areas. If they escape and cause a road accident then you have a legal right to claim against their owner, provided that you can prove that the owner failed provide suitable containment.
Accidents caused by household pets
If an accident happens as a result of a pet running into the road such as a dog, then you may also be able to make a claim against them. Once again you have to prove that they failed in their responsibility to control the animal. However if it was a cat, then it may not be possible as they are usually free roaming.
Generally a house owner should be covered for such things on their household insurance.
What to do if you hit an animal
If the animal is small, injured and causing an obstruction, you could attempt to move it off the road - but be wary, injured wild animals can sometimes be aggressive
If the animal is large, do not attempt to move it. If it's obstructing the road, put your hazard lights on and warn other drivers and contact the police
For injured pets, you should look for some kind of identity tag and contact the owner
For livestock animals or horses you should contact the police. You may have a case to claim for damage to your vehicle, or compensation for injuries
Stay with the animal until further assistance arrives
If you have had a car accident that was not your fault, please give us a call us on 02392 484 244 or start your free claim enquiry online using the button below, and one of our experienced claims advisors will be happy to assist you.