On July 18, an entire family died in a collision with a semi truck whose driver swerved to avoid hitting a dog in the road. This tragic collision illustrates the danger that can result when a driver, in an attempt to avoid hitting an animal, ends up causing significantly more damage.
The most common type of vehicle-animal collision involves deer. According to InsuranceJournal.com, an estimated 1.23 million deer-vehicle collisions occurred in the U.S. between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012, costing more than $4 billion in vehicle damage, according to State Farm, the nation’s leading auto insurer. According to the Federal Highway Administration, less than 0.2 percent of all reported animal collisions resulted in the loss of human life, and approximately 5 percent of all animal crashes resulted in personal injuries. Compared to other types of crashes, driver and occupant injury severity is much lower for animal crashes. Of all reported crashes, about 0.5 percent are fatal and 29 percent are personal injury crashes.
Here at the Weinstein Firm, we have worked with many clients who have been injured in collisions involving animals and wildlife, most often in collisions where one driver swerves to avoid an animal and ends up causing greater damage to innocent bystanders. We understand that it may be instinctual to try to avoid an animal in the road, but in that split second you have to make a decision, please remember that your chances of being injured or killed, or of injuring or killing someone else, are significantly less if you do not try to swerve around the animal in the road.