A runaway bull recently caused a serious pileup in California. It’s fair to say that you don’t expect to see a bull on the road in Charlotte, but stranger things have happened, right? Even if you hit something a bit smaller, say a deer, you still need to know how to react. For most people, hitting an animal is a shock. There is an immediate rush of adrenaline and a bit of momentary panic. Many people wonder how to react when they strike an animal in the road. If it happens to you, here’s what to do.
1. Stop Your Car
The first thing you want to do is to stop your vehicle. If it is safe to do so, get out and check for any damage. Take pictures of the scene, the damage you’ve incurred and the animal if it is still on the road.
2. Call the Police
Unless someone is injured or you don’t know your exact location, it is not necessary to call 911. Instead, call the non-emergency number for the local police department and report the accident. Ask the police dispatcher if you are required to stay on scene and follow the instructions you are given. In some areas and depending on the type of animal you hit, the police may want to respond to the scene to complete a report.
3. Check on the Animal
If you have hit a wild animal, keep your distance. Your approach may be enough to frighten an animal that has only sustained minor injuries back off of the road. Keep in mind that an injured animal is likely to bite or scratch to defend itself. Do not touch a wild animal.
If you believe that you have hit someone’s pet and it is safe to do so, look for a collar and identification tag. Contact the owners if you can. If there is no tag and the animal is injured, contact the police if you haven’t already. They may be able to respond and transport the animal to a local veterinarian. Alternatively, if you believe that you can do so safely, you can transport the animal.
4. Call Your Insurance Company
If you’ve got damage to your car, get a couple of estimates to see how much it will cost to fix. It may be affordable and fixing it out-of-pocket may make more sense than filing a claim. If the damage is extensive, filing a claim can help ensure that the necessary repairs are made.
Hitting an animal in the road can be a frightening experience. Sometimes hitting an animal is unavoidable and swerving is almost never a good idea. Know that it was an accident and take the proper next steps.
If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle in Charlotte, you may have the right to compensation for injuries and property damage. Reach out to our team of experienced auto accident attorneys for assistance in recovering the damages you are entitled to. Your first consultation is free.