small dog running in front of a moving vehicle

The squirrel, deer, family dog, or another animal that darted into the road can’t be legally responsible for the motor vehicle accident it caused. Yet, you were left with severe injuries in an animal avoidance accident and you may be wondering how to protect your legal right to a fair recovery.

Who Could Be Liable in an Animal Avoidance Accident?

Since we’ve ruled out the animal as a potential defendant, we are left with various humans who may be liable for an animal-related crash. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the potential defendants in an animal avoidance accident may include:

  • The other driver. The other driver’s reaction to the animal may have caused the crash. Sometimes stopping suddenly or swerving to avoid the animal is more dangerous than hitting the animal, particularly when the driver crashes into another vehicle. If the driver was speeding, distracted, drowsy, drunk, or otherwise negligent, the driver might not have used reasonable care when encountering the animal on the road.
  • The animal’s owner. If a pet or farm animal gets loose and onto the road, the animal’s owner may share some legal responsibility for the accident. For example, if the owner’s fence was broken or if the owner was negligent in supervising the animal, then the owner may be liable.
  • You. The animal owner, another driver, or insurance company may argue that you were partly at fault for the crash. They may raise a comparative negligence defense and claim that you shouldn’t recover any damages because you were primarily responsible for the accident. In Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois, you may still recover damages in a motor vehicle accident case as long as your share of the liability was not 51% or greater. However, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault attributed to you.

A full investigation into how all of the drivers reacted to the animal and how it got into the road (if it was a domestic or farm animal) will determine who was legally responsible for your crash injuries.

Animals May Cause Serious Injuries

You may suffer significant injuries if you hit the animal or your motorcycle, truck, or car collides with another motor vehicle. These injuries include, but are not limited to:

  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Broken arms, hands, legs, feet, ribs, pelvis, hips, and other bones
  • Internal injuries, including organ damage and internal bleeding
  • Whiplash
  • Other injuries

The most serious crashes can result in death.

Possible Compensation in Animal-Related Crashes

Your potential damages depend on your specific injuries. Generally, you may recover for things such as past, current, and future:

  • Healthcare costs including hospitalizations, surgeries, doctors’ appointments, medications, rehabilitation services, and assistive medical devices
  • Lost income for any wages, bonuses, raises, benefits, and self-employment income you could not earn because of your injuries
  • Pain and suffering for your physical pain and emotional suffering
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for any other accident-related costs

You will need to prove the value of your damages to the insurance company or court.

Make Sure All of Your Legal Rights are Protected

Animal-related accidents are often contested. If you’re hurt, you deserve to know your rights and to have an experienced Midwest personal injury lawyer fight for your full recovery.

Insurance companies throughout Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa know that Hupy and Abraham means business. We will go to court to protect our clients’ recoveries if the insurance company doesn’t provide a fair settlement. So far, we’ve recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of more than 70,000 clients. Now, we want to know what happened to you, fight for your fair recovery, if appropriate, and offer you our Win or It’s Free Guarantee.

We invite you to contact us any time for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to meet with you in any of our Wisconsin, Illinois, or Iowa personal injury law offices, in your home or hospital room, or by phone or video conference.


Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.