Did You Hit An Animal? What Drivers Need To Know About Fault

Law Blog

While most auto accidents involve just cars or trucks, some involve pedestrians and other road users. Some of these users can include animals — domestic, wild, and livestock. What should you know about your rights and responsibilities when involved in such an accident? Here are some answers to your questions.

Will You Be Held Liable?

In general, drivers of cars and trucks have a higher duty of care toward others than the average pedestrian because they operate large, heavy, and potentially dangerous vehicles. This is a privilege, not a right. 

For pedestrians — including those walking dogs or riding horses — the duty of care is usually limited to acting in a way that reasonably prevents injury to themselves. The driver, on the other hand, is expected to act in a way that reasonably prevents harm to others. So there will be more scrutiny of you as a driver and an assumption that you are more likely to be at fault. 

Are You Always at Fault?

It is possible, though, to do everything right as a driver and still have a collision with an animal. A horseback rider on the side of the road may lose control of their mount. A deer may run into the road. Or a dog might bolt into traffic after a squirrel.

The good news for you is that, in order to be at fault, you must have been negligent in some way. You must have acted in a way that is inconsistent with your duty to reasonably prevent harm. This could be texting while driving, driving while under the influence, speeding, driving while distracted, or disobeying signage. If you were not doing these things, you may not be held at fault at all. 

Can the Owner Be at Fault?

Any time another person is involved in your accident, there is the possibility that they contributed to the accident through negligence. The horse's rider may have been distracted or strayed into the road. The dog's owner may not have had their pet on a leash. Or the owner of a herd of cows might have neglected maintenance on their fence.

In these and similar situations, you can argue that they hold partial or full liability for the accident — even if they were not present. You could even be the victim of their negligence and have a right to recover damages. While this can be a higher hurdle to face, it may be worth the effort if you suffered serious harm or financial loss. 

Contact a car accident lawyer for more information. 


26 May 2023

Legal Issues in Flipping Property

People with an eye for property can make a great deal of money buying a house, fixing it up and then selling it for a profit. However, there are many legal issues involved in this kind of pursuit. I am an attorney with experience in real estate, and I have helped many clients learn the legal details involved in flipping property. This blog will help you understand what you need to know when you are buying and selling a home as well as information about paying taxes on money made and property owned. Flipping houses can be a very profitable activity as long as you know how to do it legally.