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Why drivers can be liable for accidents involving wildlife

On Behalf of | Feb 22, 2024 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Encountering wildlife on the roads can be a startling experience for any driver. In Kentucky, where natural habitats intersect with highways, these encounters are not uncommon.

However, drivers must recognize their responsibility in such situations, as they can be liable for car accident injuries involving wildlife.

Negligence in wildlife collision

When a driver hits an animal on the road, they may be liable for any resulting injuries or damages, including to other cars and people. This liability stems from the legal concept of negligence. It refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care while driving. In the context of wildlife collisions, negligence could include speeding, distracted driving or failing to maintain proper lookout for animals crossing the road.

Duty of care to avoid collisions

Drivers have a duty of care to operate their vehicles safely and responsibly at all times. This duty extends to taking precautions to avoid collisions with wildlife. This may involve obeying posted speed limits, staying attentive to road signs warning of animal crossings and being ready to stop or slow down if an animal suddenly appears on the road.

Potential consequences of wildlife collisions

Collisions with wildlife can result in serious injuries or fatalities for everyone on the road. Swerving to avoid an animal can lead to loss of control of the vehicle and subsequent crashes. Additionally, larger animals such as deer can cause significant damage to vehicles upon impact, increasing the risk of injury to occupants.

In Kentucky, if a driver’s negligence contributes to a car accident involving wildlife, they may be liable for any resulting injuries or property damage. This means they could be responsible for compensating victims for medical expenses, vehicle repairs and other losses as a result of the accident.

Drivers must remember their duty to exercise caution and take necessary precautions to prevent accidents. By doing this, drivers can help mitigate the risk of wildlife-related car accidents and the potential legal consequences that may follow.