While many drivers are themselves responsible for causing serious car accidents through driver negligence, such as driving while distracted or failing to follow traffic laws, other accidents may be caused by factors outside of the driver’s control. This was the case on Thursday morning when a woman’s vehicle struck one of several cows along a road in DeKalb County. A Chicago car accident attorney from our firm read the Cbslocal.com report, which stated that the sixty-year-old woman from Joliet was heading east on U.S. 30 when cow jolted in front of her car. DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department deputies say the impact of the collision caused the woman’s vehicle to fall into a ditch, roll over, and then catch fire. Thankfully, the woman was able to escape from the vehicle; her condition is currently unknown.
Although no legal recourse is generally available to those who suffer from an animal car accident, our Illinois car accident attorneys understand how common and potentially severe animal-related accidents on the road can be. Striking a cow on the side of the road as the above report discusses is less common, but other animals such as deer, fox, and coyotes are seen more often and can cause deadly accidents. Even smaller animals like rabbits, raccoons, dogs, cats, and squirrels can impact driving skills and lead to serious injury to you or others on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA), there are about 1.5 million car accidents with animals each year. This results in one billion dollars in vehicle damage, about 150 human fatalities, and over 10,000 personal injuries. Out of the ten worst states for animal collisions, Illinois ranks third. Cars are involved in about 61% of the crashes, followed by pick up trucks at 26%, vans at 7%, and tractor trailers at 2%. Our Chicago car accident law firm would like to offer you defensive driving tips to help prevent hitting an animal on the road this summer.
The most dangerous times of day for animal collisions are early morning and early evening, when deer and other small animals are highly active. Therefore, it is important to be vigilant during these times. Always follow the speed limit and wear your seatbelt, as most people injured in animal-related car crashes were not wearing their seatbelt. Pay special attention near wooded areas and drive with caution when you are moving through animal crossing zones. Use your high beam headlights to increase your vision and reaction time to animals that suddenly jump in front of your car. If a collision with an animal is unavoidable, brake firmly and do not swerve. Turning the wheel to avoid the animal can cause your car to spin out of control and risks hitting another car or person, resulting in a much more serious accident. If your vehicle strikes an animal, do not touch it, as the animal could try to move and potentially hurt you. Later, be sure to report the accident to the authorities and your insurance company.
Although many animal-related accidents are unavoidable, you may have legal recourse if a driver who struck an animal was traveling at excessive speeds, did not keep proper look out for the animal, and as a result caused injury to you or other vehicles and pedestrians on the roadway. Contact our team of Chicago car accident lawyers to learn about what rights may be available to you. We are prepared to offer you the resources you need to seek legal action.