North Carolina Car Accident Caused by Wildlife: Who is Responsible for the Damages?

Personal injury Lawyer Matt Arnold answers the question: “I was involved in a motor vehicle accident with injuries. Do I need a lawyer?”


Animals are responsible for thousands of car accidents every year, especially in the states with more abundant wildlife populations. North Carolina is one of those states where you are likely to encounter deer and other animals while driving a vehicle.

deer-crossing-Charlotte-Monroe-Mooresville-Injury-Lawyer-300x225Can you recover for your injuries if you hit an animal on the road? Who can be held responsible for damages caused by wildlife-related accidents?

You should contact a North Carolina car accident attorney immediately after being involved in an accident caused by wildlife. An attorney will help you determine liability in your specific case and explore all potential sources of compensation.


How to Recover Damages After a Wildlife-Related Accident

Let’s imagine that you hit a traffic sign or another stationary object after swerving to avoid a collision with a deer. Since you cannot sue the deer and the animal does not carry insurance, recovering damages can be complicated.

Since there is no other at-fault party, you will most likely be responsible for paying for your medical expenses and property damages out of pocket. It is important to understand how your own insurance policy would reimburse you for the damages if you are involved in an accident caused by wildlife.


Will My Insurance Cover My Losses and Damages After a Collision With an Animal?

In North Carolina, motorists are required to purchase auto insurance coverage with the minimum legal requirements:

  • $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident in bodily injury coverage
  • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage

North Carolina law does not require drivers to purchase an insurance policy to cover their own bodily injuries in the event of an accident. Thus, if you do not have a policy that would cover your own medical bills and you get injured in a collision with an animal, you will most likely be required to pay for your expenses out of pocket.

The same can be said about property damage to your own vehicle. In North Carolina, liability coverage never pays for a motorist’s own injuries or property damage.


What About Comprehensive and Collision Coverage?

If you have comprehensive or collision coverage as part of your auto insurance, you may wonder if they can be used to pay for your damages caused by a wildlife-related accident.

  • Comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage can be used to cover non-collision damages to your own vehicle as well as damages caused by fire, vandalism, theft, and unpredictable incidents, including hitting an animal.
  • Collision coverage. You cannot use your collision coverage to pay for your damages after a wildlife-related accident because this policy only covers losses resulting from collisions with other vehicles or fixed objects (unless you hit a fixed object after swerving to avoid hitting an animal).

Do not hesitate to speak with an experienced car accident attorney if you need help recovering damages after a wildlife-related crash in North Carolina. Your attorney will review your insurance policy, negotiate with your insurer, and help you pursue compensation on your behalf. Contact our car accident attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, if you have been involved in a vehicle crash in Charlotte, Mooresville, Monroe or the surrounding area. Call (704) 370-2828 to receive a video, phone or in-person consultation with our lawyers to explore your legal options or fill out our contact form. Now taking cases throughout North Carolina with offices in Uptown Charlotte, Mooresville and Monroe.







The skilled personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to maximizing the financial recovery and obtaining justice for every personal injury client injured by another party’s negligence. The issues our personal injury clients may be facing include, but are not limited to, slip and fall injuries, wrongful death, product liability, catastrophic injuries, dog bite claims, car and truck accident injuries, motorcycle injuries, traumatic brain injury (TBI), nursing home negligence, spinal cord injury, boating accidents, and defective medical device injury. Our personal injury attorneys understand the devastating impact such an injury can have on a person’s life, and that the effects so often go beyond physical pain and suffering. The personal injury attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC are dedicated to helping clients determine the strength of their claims, and to aggressively pursuing the means necessary to achieve the best possible end result for each client’s particular situation.





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