Can You Recover for a Wildlife-Car Crash?
Imagine driving at dusk along a quiet rural road. You notice a flash of movement in your peripheral vision, and in the next instant a large animal leaps in front of your speeding car. You slam on your breaks as the animal crosses the road and disappears into the darkness. Your heart is pounding. It could have been so much worse.
An encounter with wildlife on the road can be scary. Wild animals often behave unpredictably, particularly in response to noises and lights. They are also capable of causing substantial damage in the event of a collision, both to the car and to any passengers inside.
Because most wildlife-vehicle collisions involve just one vehicle, you might think that the only way to recover for damages caused by this kind of crash would be to file a claim through your insurance company. There may be other options. A knowledgeable Colorado Springs car accident lawyer can help you explore all possible means of recovery.
Wildlife-Car Collisions: Are You at Risk?
Colorado boasts a wide variety of wildlife, which is one reason many people love living here. However, the interface between dense populations and natural areas also has its downsides. Transportation studies show that wildlife cause the highest number of automobile accidents, after excessive speed and distracted driving.
In El Paso County, we are at higher risk than most. According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, El Paso County is among the top five Colorado counties reporting the most wildlife-car collisions, averaging between 150 and 200 crashes every year.
Statewide, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has identified the following roadways as particularly high-risk for wildlife encounters:
- Interstate 70 (Floyd Hill, Mt. Vernon Canyon and Eagle)
- US 285 (Morrison)
- Highway 160 (Durango to Pagosa Springs and Durango to Mancos)
- Highway 550 (north of Durango and from Montrose to Ouray)
- Interstate 25 (Castle Rock to Larkspur)
- Highway 82 (Glenwood Springs to Aspen)
- Highway 36 (Boulder to Lyons)
- Highway 93 (Golden to Boulder)
If you travel any of these routes, you should be particularly vigilant to avoid potential wildlife collisions.
Avoiding a Wildlife-Car Crash
Wildlife-car collisions are most likely to occur at dawn or dusk, when many people are commuting to and from work and visibility is poor. If you drive defensively and follow a few simple rules, you can increase your chance of avoiding a crash. For example:
- Drive at a reasonable speed.
- Pay attention to traffic signals and yellow “Wildlife Crossing” warning signs. These signs are posted along paths where wildlife frequently travel.
- Be proactive by scanning the road ahead of you and staying alert for signs of movement.
- If you are driving in low light or at night, use your high-beam headlights where appropriate. You may be able to spot animals along the roadside by looking for their eyes shining in your headlights.
- Do not swerve to avoid an animal, as this can cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Instead, brake steadily, slow down as much as you can and honk your horn to scare the animal away.
Discuss Your Recovery Options With Our Colorado Springs Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you encounter an animal on the road and a collision is unavoidable, you may not need to rely solely on insurance to cover any resulting damages and medical expenses. Where the crash is attributable to another person’s negligence, an experienced personal injury attorney can work with you to identify other possible sources of recovery and can help you seek the maximum compensation to which you may be entitled.
Circumstances in which recovery may be possible include:
- If you were injured as a passenger in a vehicle and the wildlife collision was the result of the driver’s negligence; or
- If you are involved in a collision with livestock, and the livestock owner negligently failed to control the animal.
Contact our Colorado Springs car accident lawyers today for a free consultation by calling us at 719-471-3000, or schedule a consultation online.