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I hit an animal with my car – do I have legal options?


It’s deer season in Ontario!

Ontario’s roughly 400,000 deer are at their most active in November and December, when a combination of breeding, feeding, and hunting pressures spur the population into motion. The animals’ activity often affects road safety: in late October, Ontario Provincial Police warned motorists to beware of deer after more than 20 collisions were reported in the southwestern counties of Lambton and Grey. Though no injuries occurred, collisions with animals can have serious consequences. Contact an Ontario car accident lawyer if you’ve suffered injuries in a car-animal collision.

“They range everywhere from minor damage to vehicles to fatal injuries to occupants of vehicles,” said OPP Western Region Sgt. Dave Rektor. “It’s a very serious message because there’s a huge deer population in and around the London area and other parts of west region and motorists need to know we share the road.”

The OPP published some safety tips to help motorists avoid collisions with deer.

  • Stay alert: Scan the road ahead of you from shoulder to shoulder and be aware that deer rarely travel alone. This applies especially around dusk and dawn, when deer are most active. At night, the OPP recommends slowing down to allow more time to react to animals on the road.
  • Stay in your lane: If you see a deer on the road, don’t try to swerve around it; rather, firmly apply your brakes and let the deer avoid you. Swerving can cause collisions with other vehicles, or you may not be able to regain control of your car.
  • Don’t assume you’re safe if your vehicle is equipped with preventative gadgets like a deer whistle, a deer fence, or reflectors. Only steady, cautious driving will help you avoid injury
  • Remember your basic safety rules: Never drive while impaired, always wear your seatbelt, and obey posted speed limits.

Of course, even the most careful drivers are sometimes unable to avoid a crash. If you strike a deer or another animal on the road, you should contact an experienced Ontario car accident lawyer for advice.

If you collide with a deer your legal options are limited – deer are wild animals and no person is responsible for them. However, collisions with domesticated animals – dogs, horses, cows, etc… – are different. If you or a passenger in your car suffers injuries in a collision with one of these animals, we may be able to help you access compensation – animal owners have a duty to ensure their pets or livestock do not cause harm to others.

If you have been involved in a collision with a domesticated animal, call an Ontario car accident lawyer at Will Davidson LLP today to find out how we can help.


Image credit: Ryan Hodnett/Wikimedia Commons

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