Who Is Liable in an Auto Collision With an Animal?

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Around 47% of people killed in auto collisions weren’t wearing seatbelts.

Wearing a seatbelt is one effective way to protect yourself while driving, but you can also take other steps. For example, you can follow the posted speed limit and stay off your phone.

You might avoid most auto collisions while driving if you’re cautious. But even so, you can still encounter accidents.

In some cases, you might not collide with other cars or people. Instead, you might hit an animal.

Who’s responsible for the accident when an animal auto collision occurs? Learn the answer by reading this guide.

The Type of Animal You Hit

Car accidents involving animals can happen at any time and with very little notice. You’ll need to understand that the person liable for the accident depends on the type of animal you hit.

Here are the three main categories of animals you might collide with while driving.

Wild Animals

If you have an accident with a wild animal, you’re not at fault. Instead, the law considers the animal at fault for the collision. However, you can’t sue an animal for compensation.

For example, if you hit a deer while driving, the law wouldn’t consider you at fault. After all, a deer can run out so quickly that a collision is unavoidable.

Domestic Animals

Domestic animals, aka pets, can also cause accidents. If this happens, the animal’s owner is liable for the collision.


When you encounter an accident with livestock, such as a cow or goat, the animal’s owner is usually liable for it. However, there are some exclusions to this rule.

Your Insurance Coverage

The next thing to consider is your auto insurance coverage. If the animal’s owner isn’t responsible for the accident, your auto insurance provider might cover the damages.

Comprehensive auto insurance protects you if you encounter animal injuries, and it even covers deaths from auto accidents.

So, for example, if you hit a deer while driving, you can file a comprehensive auto insurance claim for your damages.

What You Can Do After an Animal Auto Collision

If you encounter an accident with an animal that has an owner, you may want to contact a car accident attorney. Your attorney might recommend settling the case with the owner.

However, if this isn’t successful, your attorney might suggest filing a car accident lawsuit. Filing a lawsuit offers a way to receive the compensation you deserve after an accident that you’re not liable for causing.

If you’re interested in filing a lawsuit, you can get more information by speaking with an attorney.

Insure Yourself and Drive Safely to Reduce Your Risks

Driving safely and having the proper insurance coverage are important steps to take, but you might still encounter an animal auto collision. However, you’ll know what to do if this ever happens to you.

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