Filing an Insurance Claim for a Wildlife-Vehicle Collision

moose crossing the roadHitting a moose or another animal on the road can cause serious injuries and significant vehicle damage. These types of collisions can result in costly repairs and medical care to aid in your recovery.

If you have been in a wildlife-vehicle collision, you may be able to file a claim to help cover these damages. This will depend on your auto insurance coverage and the nature of the collision, among other factors.

Below, our Windsor-based car accident lawyers discuss how insurance providers handle wildlife collisions, tips on how to avoid hitting an animal while driving and what to do if it does happen. Our firm offers a free case review to discuss your claim and determine your eligibility for compensation.

Get answers to your legal questions. Call (866) 320-4770

Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions in Ontario

Canada has an abundance of wildlife, from moose to wood bison to polar bears and grizzlies. Unfortunately, it is also a place where collisions involving large animals have become a growing issue. About 14,000 wildlife collisions happen each year in Ontario alone. These collisions account for approximately 10 per cent of all accidents in the province.

According to the latest Ontario Road Safety Report, the number of animals hit on Ontario roads has increased year over year. 11,175 drivers reported vehicle damage and another 365 sustained injuries in a wildlife collision in 2017. However, many of these collisions surprisingly go unreported.

Wildlife is more active and likely to be seen on the road at dawn and dusk when visibility is reduced. During the wintertime, driving conditions make it more difficult to see an animal on the road and stop in ample time to prevent an accident. Autumn is actually peak season for collisions involving wildlife.

These collisions frequently happen due to a lack of attention and excess speed – both of which contribute to delayed reaction times from drivers.

What to Do If You Hit an Animal on the Road

Even good drivers can find themselves in a collision with an animal. By taking the following actions, you can protect your well-being and help preserve your claim for compensation.

  • Pull your vehicle over to a safe location away from traffic
  • Remain in your vehicle to avoid being in another accident
  • Turn on your hazard lights to alert drivers of an emergency
  • Check to see if you or anyone else involved is injured
  • Call 9-1-1 to report the collision and have a police report filed
  • Inform the police if the animal is blocking traffic or creating a hazard
  • Refrain from touching the animal even if it seems harmless

Additionally, be sure to take pictures of the collision, including any visible injuries and damage to your vehicle. Having an experienced lawyer on your side representing your best interests through the claims process can be beneficial as you seek the maximum amount possible for your damages.

Filing an Insurance Claim for Damages

It is important to have the right type of insurance coverage in the event of a collision, especially if you travel through areas where wildlife is prominent.

An accident with a large animal can result in a significant amount of damage to your vehicle. If you file an insurance claim with collision and comprehensive coverage – both of which are optional in Ontario – the costs for these damages may be covered under your policy.

Collision coverage offers protection if your car is damaged in an accident while comprehensive coverage offers protection for non-related accident damages, such as theft, vandalism or hitting an animal.

For instance, collision coverage may be used if an animal was already lying on the roadway from being previously hit but you also managed to hit the animal. You likely should have seen the animal in time to slow down and react safely to avoid an accident.

Comprehensive coverage, on the other hand, may be used if an animal suddenly runs into the road and you hit it. There was not much that you could have done to avoid the situation.

Avoiding a Collision with Wildlife

Driving defensively is important when traveling through wildlife-inhabited areas. This means being cautious of wildlife, driving within the posted speed limit and slowing down or coming to a stop if needed. Other ways to help reduce your chances of a collision with an animal include:

  • Try to avoid driving before or after dawn and dusk
  • Scan your surroundings and watch for animal movement
  • Reduce your speed if you see shining eyes on the road at night
  • Keep your windshield clean and headlights properly adjusted
  • Do not drive while distracted, drowsy or impaired
  • Use your high beams when you can to check the sides of the road
  • If an animal appears on or near the road, slow down and pass carefully
  • Do not swerve – If you must use your brake, do so firmly and stop quickly

Get Experienced Legal Assistance Today

If you have suffered damages in a collision, Greg Monforton & Partners is ready to discuss your available options in a risk-free consultation. To date, our firm has recovered $300 million for our clients.

You are under no obligation to hire our firm after meeting with a member of our legal team. We only get paid for our services if we successfully help you obtain compensation.

Free Case Review. Ph: (866) 320-4770