Minimizing Damage in a Collision with an Animal

Posted on January 23, 2012

As an animal lover, it can be one of the most heartbreaking things you’re ever likely to encounter on the road.  You’re driving along when suddenly a deer or a dog or some other animal darts out in front of your vehicle.  Your first instinct will be to slam on the brakes and swerve, but this might not always be the best course of action.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Spokesman Russ Rader put it best in a recent report:  “These crashes happen so fast, often times drivers don’t have the option of making a decision about what to do, but the best thing, unfortunately, in most cases is to hit the animal and try to avoid swerving or doing something that could cause you to lose control and hit somebody else or an object or go off the road and roll over.”

In 2009, 173 deaths resulted from crashes involving animals, with an additional 12,000 injuries.  Deer are the biggest culprits, with upwards of 1.5 million crashes each year, creating more than $1 billion in damages annually.

But what if your own loyal dog gets loose and is in danger of wandering into traffic?  Cheryl Conway, a spokesperson for the Aurora Animal Shelter in Colorado, offered some advice.  The best thing, she said, is not to chase it, which poses a danger to the animal, yourself, and vehicles.  Instead, Conway offered, one should call to it and run in the opposite direction, as if you’re playing a game.

As a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, I understand how difficult dealing with such an accident can be.  But if you’re involved in a crash involving an animal, it’s important to take stock and hire someone who can look at the incident objectively.  Find a great car accident lawyer to sort out the case, and you’ll be better off for it.

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