Animal-auto accident lawyers help drivers throughout Southern Maine including Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, and Auburn.
Animal-vehicle accidents occur when an animal and vehicle collide on a roadway, and they often result in road kill, damage to one’s vehicle and in the worst scenarios, serious human injuries and/or even death. Animal collision attorneys at the law offices of Hardy, Wolf & Downing file personal injury lawsuit in Maine on behalf of victims injured in car wrecks of this nature.
Brief overview of animal collisions in the U.S.
In the year 2000, of the some 6 million lightweight motor vehicle collisions reported in the U.S., 1 million were animal-related collisions. Each of these collisions cost an average of $2,500 in damages, according to State Farm Insurance.
Every year, approximately 150 persons die in such accidents, causing more than 10,000 injuries and costing over $1 million in property damage, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Efforts at prevention of animal-vehicle accidents by state and federal governments, insurance companies and drivers cost this country another $3 billion.
String of moose-vehicle collisions reported in July 2014
Efforts throughout the state of Maine have contributed to a recently reported in drop auto collisions with moose (only 385 reported in 2013). However, in just the last week, several new incidents were reported in quick succession. The latest accident fatality was reported on July 8, 2014 with the death of Brewer resident Sidney Oakes.
On that same night, a state trooper collided with a moose in Cyr Plantation while en route to yet another moose-vehicle accident nearby. Local area witnesses at each of the scenes described similar scenes of danger, violence, and gore. Maine’s Department of Transportation claims that it has worked with local and state government to lower the general moose population over the years and will continue its efforts to reduce their numbers even more in time to come.
Though the overall news is good for Maine drivers, recent events demonstrate that the threat of animal-vehicle collisions in Maine is still quite real. So long as these large animals continue to be a safety hazard to area drivers, area residents will wish to retain legal counsel in the aftermath of such an event. Hardy Wolf & Downing have been among Maine’s leading car accident lawyers since the firm’s beginnings over 40 years ago.
Other large animal-vehicle collisions in Maine
In Maine, where highways and roads run within close proximity to animal habitats such as forests where deer freely roam, the risks of hitting a deer or other animal while driving are higher than for other parts of the country. White-tailed deer populations have been steadily rising since the turn of the century, and in Maine, as elsewhere in the United States, these deer are contributing to a majority of deer collisions. (Deer in general are the biggest contributor to animal collisions, causing U.S. News and World Report to speculate that deer, not bears or sharks, are in fact the most dangerous animal to encounter in this country.)
A 1981 study found that “large animals” including deer represented one-quarter of annual animal collisions on interstates and country roads. Large animals tend to cause worse accidents resulting in greater property damage and potentially more serious injuries to human beings (not to mention the animals themselves).
During the autumn, when the colors of fall lure many new tourists to our state, the risk of hitting a deer is highest. The fall happens to be mating season, a time when male deer especially have more “pressing” matters to consider than avoiding oncoming traffic. Visitors on our roads and even locals can quickly see a scenic outing turn ugly, even heartbreaking.
Biologist Rob Found of the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Canada, says that late October through early December is the peak of the mating season when “males are so focused on mating, they’re not thinking straight.” Found says, “They’re looking for mates and for other males to fight.”
Other animals commonly involved with vehicle collisions include cattle, moose, horses and dogs.
Warning signs and ways to protect yourself from an animal-vehicle collision
There are certain safety measures that you can take to protect yourself from an animal-caused accident.
The following risk factors raise the likelihood of colliding with a deer or other animal:
- When there are not a lot of big trucks around: researchers believe the presence of 18-wheelers on highways actually increases the alertness of surrounding drivers of passenger cars and may also ward off animals, too.
- When the speed limit is above 50 mph, reducing reaction times.
- When there are fewer lanes.
- When the median is 6 feet wide or narrower.
How an animal-collision/car accident lawyer can help
In instances when an animal hits your car, car insurance coverage can be minimal and insufficient to cover both the damage to your vehicle as well as personal injury-related costs.
In addition to the damage done to your vehicle, there are instances when an animal collision causes a pile-up of several vehicles or damage to nearby private property. In such cases, questions of liability can quickly become pressing, demanding the insights and representation of a trustworthy lawyer to represent your best interests. If you find yourself in these unfortunate circumstances, the personal injury lawyers of Hardy, Wolf & Downing are only a phone call away. Call us for a free, no-strings-attached consultation: 1-800-INJURED.
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