When the other party is on 4 legs instead of 4 wheels what should you do?
Every year we deal with numerous cases where a vehicle has been in an accident caused by animals such as cows, sheep and horses as well as by domestic pets like cats and dogs. This is often a misunderstood area and motorists are often unsure of their rights in such circumstances.
To help you JMK Solicitors have compiled this short guide should you ever be involved in a collision with an animal:-
1. Stop the vehicle when safe to do so and put on your hazard lights if necessary.
2. Note your exact locality and the point of impact on your vehicle.
3. Always act with caution when exiting the vehicle as injured animals can often be dangerous.
4. Immediately report the incident to the PSNI, and depending upon the level of damage or injury to yourself, your passengers or the animal itself, medical/veterinary attention may need to be obtained.
5. Where relevant check if the animal has a tag. Domestic pets should have a collar which will contain the owner’s contact details and farm animals will have a tag number which will identify the Registered Keeper.
6. Check the surrounding area for open gates or damaged hedging/fencing, this will potentially be important for proving liability against the owner of the animal.
7. Take photographs of the damage to your vehicle, your vehicle’s location after the impact, the animal, including identifying marks, tags or collars and other evidence such as open gates/damaged fencing.
For incidents involving animals, there will usually be insurance in place by the owner to cover liabilities to others but it is important to take swift action to identify the owner and ascertain if this is the case and what the prospects for recovery are.
Animals classified as ‘dangerous’ are covered by strict liability and there is no need to prove negligence in such cases.
However, accidents involving animals are rarely completely straightforward which is why you need expert assistance.
Let us investigate
This article has been written to give general advice and every incident will have its own unique circumstances. If you are in involved in an accident with an animal, please contact JMK Solicitors on 028 90 320222 and we will act quickly to investigate and guide you through your claim.