Can I get compensation for a car accident involving an animal?

Published 05 Dec 2017

Though they might seem relatively harmless from a distance, or standing still, animals pose a huge threat to drivers and motorcyclists in NSW. In fact, an estimated 5.5 per cent of on-road casualties in Australia are caused by accidents with animals, according to research from Queensland’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety.

Individuals who have been in a collision with an animal or had another accident that was a result of an animal running onto the road might wonder what their options are for compensation.

Blameless accidents vs negligent accidents

As with most motor vehicle accident cases, the issue is complicated and varies widely depending on the specifics of each situation. However, the underlying rule that applies to most accidents is that individuals who have been injured as a result of a blameless car accident deserve compensation.

This ‘at fault’ rule becomes a bit complicated when an animal is thrown into the mix - for example, if a driver swerves to avoid a deer and ends up colliding with another car or object, there’s a good chance the case won’t hold up in court. The precedent shows that many judges find that the driver is at fault since the accident would have been avoided had the driver not swerved around the animal. This is also the case if the driver was over the speed limit or was otherwise distracted from the road, causing them not to see the animal.

However, some situations do allow for a driver or rider to be blameless - for example, if an animal runs onto the road at the very last minute and there is no other vehicle involved, it’s unlikely that the driver will be considered at fault.

How do I know whether or not my incident entitles me to compensation?

As you can see, these complexities regarding fault in motor vehicle accidents make it quite difficult to determine whether or not someone is owed compensation. Therefore, it’s important for individuals who have been involved in such an incident to seek legal help as soon as possible to get a professional opinion.

At Gerard Malouf & Partners Compensation, Medical Negligence & Will Dispute Lawyers, we offer our clients a free consultation to advise them on how to proceed with their claim. If you’ve been injured in an accident with an animal, or any other kind of motor vehicle accident, reach out to us to us today to hear how we can help you get compensated.