Encountering a situation where you accidentally run over a raccoon can be distressing.
In this guide, we will outline the steps to take when such an unfortunate incident occurs, ensuring you handle it with care and responsibility.
What to Do If You Accidentally Run Over a Raccoon
If you have just run over a raccoon, there are several steps you can take to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
- Pull over when it’s safe: If you hit an animal, you should first remain calm and try to regain control of your vehicle. If you decide to pull over, guide your car to the side of the road as safely as you can. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights so you’re visible to other drivers.
- Contact the police: Contact the police: Most of the time, the police will ask you questions and fill out a police report. This report can also potentially help you when you file your insurance claim.
Additionally, it contributes to wildlife management efforts by providing valuable data on accidents involving animals.
Remember to follow any specific instructions or recommendations provided by the police dispatcher or officer on the scene to ensure a comprehensive and legally compliant response to the situation.
- Inspect your vehicle for damage: When it’s safe to move around your vehicle, get out and carefully examine it for any signs of damage. Large animals, like raccoons, are capable of causing serious harm to your car, including dents or damage to your bumper.
Take clear pictures of any damage to your vehicle, such as broken lights, mirrors, or dented bumpers, as this documentation will be useful for insurance claims or repair estimates.
Additionally, check the undercarriage and wheel wells for any potential damage that may affect the safety and drivability of your vehicle.
- Avoid approaching the animal: Avoid approaching the animal: If the animal is still alive, do not approach it. Injured animals can be unpredictable and may lash out in fear or pain.
Instead, call your local animal control or wildlife rescue organization for assistance. They have the training and equipment to handle injured wildlife safely and can provide proper care or humane euthanasia if necessary.
While waiting for help to arrive, it’s crucial to keep a safe distance and ensure your own safety and that of others on the scene.
It’s important to note that laws and procedures may vary depending on your location, so it’s always a good idea to check with your local authorities for specific guidance.
For additional information you can refer to our guide on ‘How to get rid of Raccoons.’
Legal Implications of Hitting a Raccoon with Your Car
The legal implications of hitting a raccoon with your car can vary depending on the specific circumstances and local laws. Here are some general considerations:
- Fault: In most cases, the driver is not considered at fault for hitting a wild animal like a raccoon, as these animals are unpredictable and can quickly dart onto the road. However, if the animal is a domesticated pet and the owner is in violation of leash laws, they may be held responsible for the accident
- Reporting the incident: While not always required, it’s a good idea to report the accident to the police, especially if there is significant damage to your vehicle. This documentation can help with insurance claims and prevent the insurance company from later claiming the event did not happen
- Insurance coverage: Damage caused by hitting a raccoon is typically covered under comprehensive insurance, which is optional coverage that protects against non-collision incidents. However, you may be responsible for paying your deductible before the insurance coverage applies
- Seeking legal advice: If you are unsure about the legal implications of hitting a raccoon in your specific situation, it may be helpful to consult with a car accident lawyer who can provide guidance based on your local laws and insurance policies.
Consequences of Not Reporting Hitting a Raccoon to the Authorities
Failing to report hitting a raccoon to the authorities can lead to various consequences depending on local laws and specific circumstances.
These potential repercussions include difficulties with insurance coverage, as insurance companies may require a police report for verification, potential legal liability if the raccoon is a domesticated pet and owner leash laws are violated, and ethical considerations, as some individuals may feel a moral duty to report such incidents to ensure proper care for the animal and alert authorities to potential road hazards.
Therefore, it is advisable to report hitting a raccoon to the authorities, particularly in cases of significant vehicle damage or if the animal requires assistance.
Risks of Hitting a Raccoon with Your Car
Hitting a raccoon with your car can pose several risks, including:
Damage to your vehicle: Even hitting a smaller animal like a raccoon can cause car damage. Smaller animals like raccoons could cause serious damage depending on the severity of the collision
Injuries to the animal: Hitting a raccoon can cause serious injuries or even death to the animal. It’s important to know what to do if you hit an animal on the road, as well as how you can help protect your car from expensive damage.
Safety risks: Hitting an animal can be a safety risk for you and other drivers on the road. If you hit an animal, you should first remain calm and try to regain control of your vehicle. If you decide to pull over, guide your car to the side of the road as safely as you can. Be sure to turn on your hazard lights so you’re visible to other drivers.
Financial costs: Repairing the damage caused by hitting a raccoon can be expensive. If you have comprehensive coverage, you may be able to file a claim for raccoon damage
This underscores the significance of promptly taking action after colliding with a raccoon to mitigate risks and minimize damages.