Have You Been Involved in an Accident with a Crossing Animal in New Iberia?
In many parts of Louisiana animals do make their ways onto roadways, and animal crossings are possible. This means there is the risk of collisions with crossing animals. Reacting fast to a crossing animal can be dangerous in itself.
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports 725,000-1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions in the country annually with the Federal Highway Administration reporting approximately 100,000 injuries from animal crossing collisions each year.
Your chances of coming across wildlife while driving in Louisiana may be more common than you think. Many Louisiana roads and interstates cross and border different types of ecosystems with a variety of animals within them. Because of this, sometimes accidents happen. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports somewhere between one and two million collisions with wildlife occur each year.
The most common of these collisions are those with deers which results in approximately 200 deaths each year, nearly 30,000 injuries, and $8 billion in damages to vehicles. Not only are humans affected, accidents like these severely affect wildlife populations. Many drivers on the road don’t imagine they will get into an accident with an animal.
But just this year, a bear was killed which had been roaming Port Allen and was being tracked by Wildlife and Fisheries agents on Interstate-10 near mile marker 137.
If you have been in an accident with a crossing animal, you may want to consult with an attorney to understand your options and the next steps to take. Determining who is at fault in accidents like these may not always be easy, but an attorney can assist you in making these determinations. Call Cueria Law Firm today for a free consultation.
How can I avoid accidents with crossing animals?
Collisions with animals can cause extensive damage, which can be expensive to repair, or even cause personal injury to the driver. The following are a number of tips to follow in order to decrease your chances of a serious accident with a crossing animal.
- First, it is always important to remain focused on the road and aware of your surroundings. You want to be sure that you are always keeping your eyes on the road and are not participating in distracted driving on Louisiana roadways. If you are paying close attention to the road, it is likely that you will have faster reactions to a crossing animal and will be able to come to a stop or change lanes before making impact.
- Drive slower. Driving slower is another way you can give yourself more time to react to a crossing animal on the roadway. Always slow down as much as possible if you see an animal crossing the roadwat from a distance, but do not slam on your brakes as your vehicle may skid.
- Do not panic, and resist swerving into another lane if something crosses your path. Although it may feel like a jerk reaction, you should always resist from swerving into another lane if an animal is crossing the road. Hitting another vehicle in another lane could injure someone else or cause serious damages to both vehicles. If you make impact with the animal and can call emergency services, it is advised that you do so.
- Use your headlights properly. While driving on Louisiana roadways, always be sure to have your headlights on. Usually, at night, a lot of nocturnal animals will be on the roadways. There may be moments where turning on your high beam headlights is necessary. Just be sure to turn them off when cars approach in the opposite direction so other drivers can see.
- After an accident, do not approach to tend to the animal. After impact with an animal, it is advised that you stay inside of your vehicle, turn on your emergency flasher lights, and call 911 for assistance. Touching an injured animal, especially wildlife, can lead to a dangerous situation.
- Get a police report if possible. A police report will explain the circumstances of the accident and identify the animal which caused it. If the animal is owned by someone, you will want the police report to identify this person as well.
- Contact your auto insurance company to file a claim for damage to your vehicle.
Who is at fault for crossing animal accidents?
Under Louisiana law, there are presumptions for who is responsible for the cause of an accident. One presumption that Louisiana has is that the owner of an animal will be presumed negligent of their animal, that escapes the owner’s property and causes an accident on a Louisiana roadway, highway, or interstate. The only way the own can deflect liability is by rebutting this presumption and proving that he took all safety measures and precaution that a reasonably prudent person would take in order to keep their livestock from escaping their enclosures. In doing so, he must demonstrate exactly how the animal may have escaped, and all of the precautions that he reasonably took to ensure that the animal would not escape. General evidence showing reasonable precautions is not sufficient to rebut this heavy presumption.
Important to note is that there are farm animal immunity statutes in Louisiana that one must consider. If you have been injured or your property damaged in an accident due to the fault of an animal owner, you will want to consult with an attorney before taking action. The attorneys at Cueria Law Firm have experience with these types of accidents, can identify the proper parties, and help you obtain maximum recovery. Call our office today for a consultation.