Collisions with Wild Animals
Just last year, a Florida resident and her two young children lost their lives after their vehicle collided with an alligator in the road, skidded out of control, and struck a nearby tree. Tragically, upon impact, the vehicle burst into flames and all three passengers were killed. Unfortunately, this type of accident is not uncommon in coastal states that are located along the Gulf of Mexico. In fact, the USDA reports that motorists sustain around one billion dollars in collision damage with wildlife every year.
Figuring out what to do after this type of accident can be difficult, especially when no other drivers are involved, so if you were injured in an animal-vehicle collision and have questions about liability, it is critical to speak with an experienced car accident attorney who can advise you.
Avoiding a Wildlife Accident
In some cases, there is simply no way to avoid a collision with wildlife, but there are certain strategies that drivers can take to avoid these types of crash. For instance, while refraining from driving while distracted is crucial when it comes to helping motorists avoid collisions with any type of obstruction, it can play a life-saving role when wildlife is involved. This is true even for drivers who think they’re alone on the road. Even in these cases, a GPS app, podcast, or playlist can all pose distractions that could result in a collision.
Knowing that your area is populated by wildlife can also help drivers avoid collisions with wildlife, as can researching what seasons the animals are most active, as well as their basic life habits. This information can help drivers navigate various landscapes, including their regular routes, especially crossing areas. Drivers should also consider:
- Using auto safety features, such as adaptive headlights that can help them see better;
- Remaining on heightened alert during dusk and dawn when many wild animals are most active; and
- Keeping their eyes lower than they would if watching for taller animals, such as deer.
Finally, Florida drivers should keep to posted speeds at all times, as roadway engineers specifically consider aspects of the environment when developing speed recommendations. In many cases, low speeds are in place specifically to give drivers enough time to brake for local wildlife. In the event that you do see an animal on the road and have to stop quickly, you should remember to quickly tap your brakes a number of times to warn drivers behind you, honk your horn to frighten the animal, and refrain from attempting to swerve out of the way, which can reduce animal-vehicle impact associated damage.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
Most comprehensive insurance plans cover vehicles against physical damage caused by wildlife. However, a claim must still meet certain requirements before an insurer will honor it, which unfortunately, many fail to do. To ensure that your own interests are represented during this process and that you are able to receive compensation for your losses, please contact one of the dedicated Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyers at Boone & Davis by calling 954-566-9919 today.