Motor Vehicle Accidents

Been in an Accident With an Animal? Here's What to Do Next

Justin Macfayden, JD
Law and Claims Analyst

Most Canadian drivers are familiar with the sight of wildlife on roads – whether pigeons, moose, or grizzly bears, animals are a way of life in Canada and they present a unique problem for road safety. According to the Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, there are between 4 and 8 large animal collisions every hour across Canada.  

While the steps to take when involved in an accident with another vehicle are typically clearer to most drivers, the same can’t be said for accidents with animals. It’s no wonder we’re asked so often at PainWorth exactly what steps you should take as a driver, in the unfortunate event that you hit an animal.

Here’s what we suggest:

At the Scene

  • Turn on your hazard lights and move your vehicle off the road, if possible.
  • If you are involved in an accident with a wild animal and you or your passengers are injured, report the accident to the local police service, or RCMP as soon as possible.  
  • In a National Park, like Jasper, Banff, Algonquin, etc., contact the park wardens. Reporting the exact location of an injured animal helps wardens quickly monitor and recover animals, preventing other animals from being attracted to the highway.  
  • Don't approach the animal or try to move the animal off the road on your own. This may result in more injuries to you or the animal.  
  • If the animal is still in the roadway, make sure to mention this to the police as the injured animal could become a hazard to other drivers or attract other animals.
  • When safe to do so, leave your car and take photos of the scene. Try to capture photos of any injuries sustained, any damage to your vehicle, the road conditions, and the animal that was struck by the vehicle. If there are any witnesses, make sure to obtain their contact information. For more information about what to do at the scene of an accident, click here.  

Notify Your Insurance Company

Once you’ve handled these matters at the scene, report the accident to your own insurer as soon as possible, even if you’re not injured. In cases involving wildlife, you will not be able to make a third-party insurance claim (a claim against another driver), as there was no third party involved. However, if you were a passenger, you may have a claim against the driver if they were driving in a reckless manner.  

Your insurance policy should cover the cost of most of the necessary treatments and medications resulting from the accident. If you are unable to work and need to go on disability, you may be covered by your insurance policy. Click here to learn more about how your insurance policy can compensate you for damage to your person and vehicle.  

Before an Accident

The best way to handle a personal injury case is to prevent one from happening in the first place. Follow these steps to avoid injuries on the roadway related to wildlife.  

  • If you see smaller wildlife while you are driving like a bird or squirrel, do not swerve out of the way. This can lead to more damage and serious injuries. If you swerve and collide with another object or another driver you will likely be found at fault by the insurer.  
  • If you see a deer, or other larger animal, try to alert the animal by honking or flashing your lights. For larger animals, you should do everything you can to avoid colliding with it, as hitting a moose or bear with your vehicle can result in serious damage and potentially deadly injuries.
  • Take deer and moose warning signs along the road seriously. These animals are most active during dawn and dusk, when visibility is low.  
  • Use your high beams when possible, follow the speed limit, and always pay close attention to the road while driving.

For more safety tips on how to prevent collisions with wildlife, click here.  

Want to know what your injury settlement may be worth? PainWorth is an innovative platform that uses machine learning to automate the bodily injury claims settlement process. PainWorth is the easiest way for personal injury claimants and insurance industry professionals to calculate the value of bodily injuries and settle claims faster.  

To learn more about how much your personal injury claim might be worth, try PainWorth for free today!

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